Accused robbers now also facing escape charge

By John Hamilton -

WILMINGTON — An accused gas station robber has pled not guilty to new charges.

James Clifton, 61, and Levi Cutcher, 57, both of Cincinnati, were indicted Monday for two felony 1 charges — conspiracy and possession of a deadly weapon — and attempted escape, a fourth-level felony.

Clifton made his plea to Judge John “Tim” Rudduck in Clinton County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday.

Maj. Brett Prickett of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office told the News Journal deputies found out the alleged escape plan on Oct. 30. No further information could be shared, he said.

The two were charged in July one count of felony 1 aggravated robbery in connection with the robberies of two Clinton County service stations. Clifton had faced a failure to comply charge, but it was dismissed on the motion of the state.

The two were apprehended after a Clinton County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the Shell station on U.S. 68 near Interstate 71 on July 10. The initial caller reported two suspects came in, one brandishing a shotgun, and stole money and miscellaneous items.

Deputies had determined they matched the characteristics of a robbery that occurred on June 28 at the Shell station located on State Route 73 near Interstate 71.

According to police, the suspects led sheriff’s deputies on a chase which later involved the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Mason Police Department. The vehicle was eventually slowed when stop sticks were deployed by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The vehicle continued, however (on three tires and a rim) reaching Exit 25 when Cutcher exited the vehicle and attempted to run, police said.

Two troopers and a deputy gave chase and captured him just east of the vehicle. Clifton was taken without incident.

The shotgun allegedly used in the robberies was located in the vehicle, police said.

Both were indicted in Common Pleas Court in July for three counts of felony 2 felonious assault, four counts of felony 1 aggravated robbery, and felony 3 failure to comply.

Both are currently incarcerated on a $1 million bond each. An additional $100,000 bond was set for Clifton on Tuesday.

Clifton’s next appearance is scheduled for Dec. 12. Cutcher has a final pretrial scheduled for Dec. 9.

By John Hamilton

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574