WILMINGTON — A local man guilty of attacking his roommate with a machete was sentenced Monday to eight years and nine months in prison.
Lee DeBord, 50, was found guilty last week on two counts of felony 2 felonious assault — which were merged together in sentencing — and a felony 3 tampering with evidence related to a July 25, 2018 incident where he assaulted his roommate Roger Tucker, 30, with a machete. The incident took place at their residence in the community of Cuba, south of Wilmington.
When given a chance to speak Monday at his sentencing hearing, DeBord apologized to Tucker who was present in the courtroom and added: “It just happened so fast.”
Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck said he saw DeBord was emotional while in the courtroom and when he was sentenced, but to Rudduck, it didn’t come off as remorse but as someone who “has to face reality.”
Before addressing DeBord, the judge gave credit to the people in the incident who helped Tucker including the 911 operator, law enforcement officials, Billy and Larry Kelsey for aiding Tucker, and to Dr. Gregory Semon and the staff at Miami Valley Hospital.
While the maximum eight years was pronounced in the felonious assault charge, Rudduck felt it wasn’t enough given the severity of Tucker’s wounds — particularly the wound to his neck.
“The high degree of physical harm that Mr. Tucker suffered here elevates this felony conviction to a more consequential crime than I think nearly any other ones that I’ve seen,” said Rudduck. “I’m imposing the maximum but in a way, it seems less than adequate punishment … given the fact that Mr. Tucker’s head was almost severed.”
As for the tampering with evidence charge, a nine-month prison term was imposed and will be served consecutively. This was given due to DeBord concealing the machete under a sofa at the scene.
DeBord was granted 223 days of credit since he has been incarcerated since his Aug. 1 apprehension in Clermont County.
Over the three-day jury trial, the prosecution, represented by Katie Wilkin of the Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office, presented multiple witnesses including Tucker, the lead investigator in the case Robert Gates, and Dr. Semon, the surgeon who operated on Tucker.
DeBord claimed his actions stemmed from self-defense, testifying that Tucker had “jumped” him. DeBord claimed he only remembered attacking Tucker once despite the serious injuries that required Tucker to be care-flighted to Miami Valley Hospital for treatment.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.