Menacing conviction brings probation and fine

Staff report


A Howell, N.J., man, who was acquitted by a jury this summer of two counts of raping his estranged wife, was sentenced to three years’ probation and fined $1,000 on a misdemeanor menacing-by-stalking charge.

Oscar Ponce, 39, drew the sentence Wednesday from Judge Maureen A. Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

The defendant had been convicted of the menacing charge in a December 2010 trial, in which the jury deadlocked on the rape counts. Ponce, who turns 40 on Friday, was re-tried and acquitted of the rape charges in July.

The rape charges stemmed from an pur- ported incident in his estranged wife’s Beech Avenue home in Boardman on Sept. 3, 2008.

The menacing charge pertains to the period between Jan. 1 and Sept. 3, 2008, and lists the same victim.

Natasha Frenchko, an assistant county prosecutor, called for Ponce to serve six months in jail, but Ponce’s lawyer, Jeff Limbian, asked for probation, saying Ponce had no prior criminal record and has full-time employment.

Ponce did not make any remarks before he was sentenced.

Judge Sweeney ordered him to have no contact with the victim.

Limbian said he believed his client was acquitted on the rape counts because of inconsistencies in the accuser’s testimony and a lack of police investigation.

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