Man skips probation to attend funeral, gets 8 months from Kobly

By Joe Gorman


Kelim Rushton told a judge in municipal court Wednesday he already had missed the funeral of one brother when he was in jail. So when he attended the funeral of a second brother in Detroit, he said he never gave it a second thought – even though it was a probation violation.

Judge Elizabeth Kobly never gave her sentence much of a second thought, ordering the 31-year-old Rushton to serve seven months in jail for violating his probation on convictions in 2011 for loud music and driving under suspension.

Rushton was in violation because he had missed a reporting date by about a week when he went to Detroit. He said when he came back he had custody of a son and decided to see how long he could slide through the violation without having to report – instead of turning himself in.

“By the time I got back here, I was already violated,” Rushton said. “I figured I would go as long as I can.”

Rushton said he has custody of his son and was working to support him before he was picked up in September on the parole violation. He was served with the violation in November 2015. Although the charge was in 2011, he did not plead no contest until September 2013, when he was found guilty by Judge Kobly. He was placed on three years’ probation then.

His lawyer, Andrea Burton, said there was no excuse for Rushton not reporting for his probation, but she did add that he was working and caring for his son, behaviors she said she considers rare.

“It is a unique experience for me in Mahoning County to have a father that not only works for his child but has custody of his child,” Burton said.

Rushton said he realizes there are no excuses for violating his probation but he said he did not want to miss another funeral.

“This was my second brother I buried,” Rushton said. “I wasn’t going to miss two funerals.”

Judge Kobly told Rushton he should have contacted the probation department, even if he was late reporting, before leaving for Detroit. She said they would have been more than willing to work with him. She said she felt she had no choice but to sentence him to jail, especially because she gave him a break by sentencing him to probation.

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