Man sentenced to prison on weapons charges
By Joe Gorman
Judge Lou D’Apolito told a West Dennick Avenue man he was sentencing Wednesday on weapons charges in two separate cases that he needs to start making decisions to stay out of trouble.
The judge said in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court he sees Eryck Fletcher, 25, heading back to prison again someday unless he concentrates on getting his GED and planning how he will support himself.
“When a guy’s got no job, he’s got no money, he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do, and that usually leads to something that’s not quite right,” Judge D’Apolito said.
The judge wanted to know why Fletcher had no full-time job, no plan for his future and no GED diploma, and why he felt the need to have guns with him not once, but twice – the second time when he was out on bond for the first weapons charge.
“I’m not impressed with a young man 25 years old carrying guns,” Judge D’Apolito said. “And he does it twice.”
Attorneys in the case were recommending an 18-month prison term with credit for 60 days served on charges of assault on a peace officer, possession of drugs, obstructing official business and operating a vehicle impaired in the first case and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and being a felon in possession of a firearm in the second case.
Fletcher’s attorney, Sam Amendolara, said his client has no criminal record before his two arrests, cares for the daughter of a brother who has died and has strong family support. The judge said he had a hard time deciding if he should accept the recommendation.
“Why shouldn’t I give you more [time]?” the judge asked Fletcher.
“Because I’m not a criminal,” Fletcher answered.
But the judge said criminals do the kind of things to which Fletcher pleaded guilty.
In April, Fletcher was arrested after a trooper with the Ohio State Highway Patrol tried to pull him over on the South Side for speeding, and Fletcher ran. Reports said Fletcher elbowed the trooper in the head before he was shot with a stun weapon. Police found $1,700 cash on him, along with 10 pills and a gun.
While he was on bond on the first case, he was arrested again July 13 on Midlothian Boulevard with a gun in his car.
Fletcher said he had a gun because he was shot several years ago and was receiving threats again.