Canfield man gets 18 months in prison for drive-by shooting, ethnic slur
By Peter H. Milliken
A Canfield man serving federal prison time for marijuana cultivation and distribution conspiracy has been sentenced to 18 months in prison on state charges of ethnic intimidation and aggravated assault.
Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court sentenced Charles B. Muth, 41, of Briarwood Court on the state charges Monday.
Judge Durkin made the sentence on the state charges, to which Muth had pleaded guilty, concurrent with the federal sentence.
The prosecution recommended an 18-month prison term on the state charges.
The ethnic-intimidation charge alleged Muth called an Arab-American Boardman man, with whom he had a business dispute, repeatedly about 3 a.m. Dec. 25, 2011, threatening to kill the man’s family and using derogatory language, including an anti-Arab slur.
The aggravated-assault charge pertains to a 2 a.m. drive-by shooting two days later at the man’s estranged wife’s Jaguar Drive home, where police found bullet holes inside the residence. The female homeowner was present during the shooting, as were her 7-year-old daughter and a 21-year-old woman, police said. There were no injuries.
With three rounds having hit the residence, and two having penetrated the interior walls of the 7-year-old’s bedroom, the people in the house are “lucky they weren’t hit. You’re lucky they weren’t hit,” Judge Durkin told Muth before sentencing him.
As for the 7-year-old, the female homeowner told Judge Durkin, “Thank goodness she wasn’t in her bedroom because one of the bullets was actually found in her stuffed animals on her bed.” The homeowner said she and her daughter were asleep in the living room when the shots were fired.
In that shooting, Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of common pleas court sentenced Muth’s friend, Donald K. Loveless, 40, of Hopkins Road to three years in prison on a charge of improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation last September.
“I don’t know what you and Mr. Loveless expected to accomplish that evening. ... Young children, sleeping in their homes, have died by individuals who do drive-bys, aiming for someone else,” in other Mahoning County incidents, Judge Durkin said.
“I am greatly sorry, very apologetic and very ashamed of the things that have happened and my foolishness that has brought me here,” Muth told Judge Durkin.
“They acted together in their harassment” of the Arab-American man, Rebecca Doherty, an assistant county prosecutor, said of Muth and Loveless after court. “Charles Muth is responsible for those shots being fired. Donald Loveless did not know the victims at all,” she said. “Loveless is likely the person who actually fired the shots, but Muth was present” at the shooting scene, she added.
In April, U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Gaughan sentenced Muth to five months in prison and fined him $1,000 after he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to grow and distribute marijuana.
Boardman police found marijuana plants in plain view when they went to Muth’s residence Jan. 6, 2012, to investigate the December incidents, and they notified the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Authorities seized 335 marijuana plants from Muth’s residence.
The federal sentence directs that Muth be on three years of supervised release, the first five months of it on home confinement, after prison.
Muth is an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution at Elkton, from which he is to be released Oct. 8. Doherty said Muth will go to a state prison to complete his state sentence as soon as he leaves the federal prison.