By Ed Runyan
A 31-year-old Hubbard man convicted of selling pieces of a $36,000 military statue for $75 at a scrapyard had been in prison only two weeks when prison officials asked a Trumbull County judge if he could have his sentence drastically reduced.
Judge Andrew Logan of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court sentenced Richard Couturiaux on Aug. 20 to 26 months in prison for the March statue crimes and a separate 2012 home burglary in Hubbard Township.
But prison officials asked Judge Logan on Sept. 3 whether Couturiaux could be placed in a program that would involve Couturiaux’s participating in Intensive Program Prison, spending no more than 90 days in an in-house or outpatient rehabilitation program, then released on probation for one year.
Intensive Program Prison is “characterized by concentrated and rigorous, specialized treatment services,” according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction website. It is part of the prison system’s “Second Chance to Change” initiative.
Chuck Morrow, an assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, has filed a motion with Judge Logan asking him to refuse Intensive Program Prison for Couturiaux, saying Couturiaux has failed too many times at rehabilitation to be given another “second chance.”
Couturiaux, prior to sentencing, blamed drug abuse for his most recent crimes. He has a lengthy record including trespassing, burglary and receiving stolen property dating back to 2000.
“His actions of breaking into a cemetery and literally cutting the legs off of a World War II military statue and removing a bronze plaque from the grave of a veteran who served the United States during World War II cannot and should not be excused because of a claimed addiction to drugs,” Morrow wrote.
“These criminal acts were not only an affront to the deceased but also an insult to all of those that have served our country and are eternally recognized for their service after they have passed.”