COLUMBIANA COUNTY Ex-officer gets 1-year prison term

The sentence is less than that recommended by the prosecutor as part of a plea deal.
LISBON -- A former lawman is sentenced to serve a year in prison for stealing money from the Columbiana County Drug Task Force.
Eric Haueter, 24, of 834 N. Ellsworth Ave., Salem, was sentenced Monday by Judge C. Ashley Pike of county common pleas court.
Haueter pleaded guilty in August to a third-degree felony charge of theft in office arising from his stealing nearly $20,000 from the drug task force in March while he was an agent for the agency. Officials said Haueter, who served with the Salineville Police Department, joined the task force in November 2000.
As part of his guilty plea, the state recommended a two-year sentence for the crime, which bears a maximum sentence of five years.
Considerations: In sentencing Haueter to a year, Judge Pike said he was taking into consideration Haueter's apology, his willingness to pay back the stolen money and his efforts to seek mental-health counseling.
"I know I brought dishonor and shame to the badge," Haueter told the court before he was sentenced.
He also apologized to his family, including his father, Allen, a lieutenant with the county sheriff's department, and his brother, Dan, New Waterford police chief.
Haueter's lawyer, Atty. Richard Zurz Jr., of Akron, asked the judge to place Haueter on probation.
But Judge Pike refused, reminding Haueter that public servants "are expected to live by high standards."
Anything less than a prison sentence "would only serve to demean the seriousness of your conduct," Judge Pike told Haueter.
Prosecution: After the sentencing, special Prosecutor Eugene Muldowney said he was satisfied with the one-year prison sentence instead of the two he had recommended.
The important thing is that prison was imposed instead of probation, Muldowney said.
He noted Haueter will be eligible for shock probation in six months. Muldowney added that he will oppose any early release effort.
He also pointed out, without elaborating, that Haueter is required to cooperate in any further investigations regarding the drug task force.
Muldowney, of the Portage County prosecutor's office, was appointed special prosecutor in the case because Columbiana County Prosecutor Robert Herron was made a witness in the case when some of the stolen money was returned directly to him.

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