LISBON Driver who killed man gets 18 years
The prosecutor said the defendant started the dispute.
By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- Aaron Catlin, 30, of Salem will spend 18 years in prison for using his car to plow into a group of pedestrians after a bar dispute in Salem nearly a year ago.
One man, Frank E. Gardner, 24, of Salem, was killed. Marc Finley, also of Salem, was seriously injured.
Two other people in the group, Bambi Woodworth and David Crom, were uninjured. Columbiana County Prosecutor Robert Herron said Woodworth and Crom live in the Salem-Lisbon area.
Catlin, the driver, pleaded guilty Wednesday in common pleas court to one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Judge David Tobin sentenced Catlin to 15 years to life in prison on the murder charge and three years in prison on each attempted murder charge. The attempted murder charges will be served at the same time after Catlin serves his sentence on the murder charge.
Catlin has been in the county jail since shortly after the attack Sept. 30, 2004.
What police say happened
Police said people left Scanlon's, a bar on East State Street, after a verbal dispute. Finley and the others walked north on North Ellsworth Avenue.
Catlin went to his car -- an Oldsmobile Delta 88 -- and plowed into the group about two blocks from the bar, police said. He abandoned the car and a short time later authorities found him sitting on the front steps of his home.
Catlin declined to say anything in court before he was sentenced.
Catlin's lawyer, Lawrence W. Stacey II, said there were mitigating circumstances, but that, "Mr. Catlin takes full responsibility for his actions."
Herron did not agree that there were mitigating factors in the general dispute, but added, "It was started by the defendant. Alcohol and drugs entered into it."
Catlin originally was indicted on the more serious charge of aggravated murder. Herron said Gardner's family did not object to the plea agreement, and Finley has recovered from his injuries.