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31-year-old pleads guilty to retaliation

YOUNGSTOWN — Terry A. Thomas Jr., 31, of Youngstown, pleaded guilty Monday to a felony charge of retaliation for incidents Aug. 5 when police were called to the home on Rutledge Drive on the East Side, where he was staying with his girlfriend and her children.

The plea agreement he reached with prosecutors calls for Thomas to get probation and no prison time. He will be sentenced after Community Corrections Association of Youngstown carries out a presentence investigation of Thomas’ background and criminal history. Thomas remains free on bond.

When police arrived at the home Aug. 5, they were told Thomas assaulted the two children. Ambulance personnel checked on the girls. One had a small bump on her head, but they declined treatment.

An officer took a beer from Thomas, who was described as “very intoxicated,” and tried to escort Thomas away from the children to further investigate, a police report states. But Thomas “smacked my arm away” and pushed an officer in the back and would not cooperate, the report states.

Thomas continued to fight with officers and pull away, it states. Officers took him to the ground and handcuffed him and placed him in a cruiser.

Thomas’ girlfriend filled out a domestic violence form but later did not cooperate with prosecutors, Mike Rich, assistant county prosecutor, told Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Monday.

At the county jail, Thomas was refused because of intoxication and high blood pressure, the report states, so he was taken to St. Elizabeth Youngstown Hospital.

Officers repositioned Thomas’ handcuffs on the front of his body, but Thomas was “combative and making threats toward officers and with (ambulance personnel) that he was going to shoot all of us … when he sees us,” the report states.

He also struck officers and tried to strike ambulance personnel while officers were trying to restrain Thomas, the report states.

He succeeded in striking one officer in the face and tried to do it again, the report states.

The officer then struck Thomas once in the face “in efforts to gain control over Thomas and prevent him from further assaulting officers and paramedics,” the report adds. Thomas was then brought under control.

Thomas was indicted on intimidation, retaliation, assault, obstructing official business, two counts of domestic violence and one count of disorderly conduct, but all of the charges were dismissed except retaliation in exchange for Thomas’ plea.

During Thomas’ hearing, Rich told the judge the officer who was struck in the face agreed to the plea agreement and the recommendation that Thomas get no prison time.

Krichbaum said ordinarily he would not permit Thomas to receive a probationary sentence for an offense that involved assaulting a police officer, so he required Rich to ask the officer about that before he would “allow (Rich) to even walk in here and recommend probation.”

The judge added, “If somebody messes with a cop, I put them in the penitentiary,” Krichbaum said. “That’s what I do.”

Krichbaum said a recommended sentence is not a guarantee that Thomas will get probation, but: “That means you’ve got a real good chance at probation because the cop is OK with it.” Thomas could get up to three years in prison.

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