The Manhattan Avenue men were ordered to stay away from the victim, who lives on the same street.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- As Gertrude Quimby told a judge how an elderly city woman was terrorized by burglars, Eric Smith sniffed and wiped tears away from his face.
"We're talking about a woman who is 85 years old, hard of hearing and lives alone," Quimby said.
The victim, a Manhattan Drive woman, is Quimby's aunt. Smith is one of two people who pleaded guilty to burglarizing the home last summer while the woman was asleep. Both defendants are the victim's neighbors.
Smith, 21, and Ronald Trimble, 19, each pleaded guilty in November to burglary. Judge Robert Lisotto of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court placed them both on probation for two years Wednesday.
Both were ordered to complete a residential program at Community Corrections Association on Market Street, which generally lasts about six months. They were ordered to pay the victim $125 apiece for the damage they caused, and then to stay away from her.
Defense attorneys Thomas Zena and Joseph Rafidi said the restitution and restraining orders were appropriate.
"My aunt is a good lady. She bothers no one," Quimby said, noting that the woman had served three years in the Women's Army Corps during World War II.
Quimby said her aunt's home had been broken into three times in three years, but Smith and Trimble were accused only of an August 2002 burglary.
Police responded to an alarm at the woman's house around 3:40 a.m. Aug. 10, 2002. They found a broken basement window and Smith standing near an open back door.
Smith ran inside the house and was caught at the front door. He was sweating, his arm was bleeding, he had glass particles on his clothing and the knees of his pants were wet.
What he said
Smith told police he'd seen someone break into the house and was trying to help the woman.
Police then woke the woman, who hadn't heard the alarm or all the commotion.
After police went outside and were preparing to leave, they heard the woman scream, so they ran back inside and found Trimble hiding behind a TV set. Police reports indicated his head was bleeding and there was broken glass on the floor near him.
Smith, who cried throughout the sentencing, said he was on drugs that day.
"That's no excuse," he said. "I'm really sorry for what I did to her."
Likewise, Trimble said he "wasn't in the right state of mind" because of drug abuse and apologized to the victim, who was sitting in the courtroom.
A background check by the Ohio Adult Parole Authority recommended that the two be placed on probation and sent to CCA instead of going to prison.
Robert Andrews, assistant prosecutor, declined to comment after the hearing.