MOUNT VERNON — Eighteen indictments were handed down Monday by a Knox County grand jury. Arraignments are scheduled for April 23 before Common Pleas Court Judge Otho Eyster.
According to Knox County Prosecutor John Thatcher, Dale A. Woody, 24, and Michael V. Bessette Jr., 26, were indicted on 29 counts of forgery, theft, and possession of stolen property and firearms. Thatcher said Woody and Bessette allegedly passed checks and sold firearms in Knox County; the items were allegedly stolen during burglaries they committed in Ashland, Franklin, Licking, Pickaway and Richland counties.
Woody and Bessette have been indicted on burglary and other charges in Ashland County and Licking County, and will likely face more charges in other counties, according to Thatcher. Since both men have prior felony convictions, the Knox County grand jury also indicted them for having firearms while under legal disability.
Thatcher said Bessette is accused of tampering with official records for allegedly using one burglary victim’s driver’s license to obtain a motor vehicle registration and temporary tag. Woody and Bessette will also be arraigned on breaking and entering charges for breaking into several businesses in and near Mount Vernon. Detectives Craig Feeney and Dave McElroy of the Mount Vernon Police Department, and Detective Sgt. Roger Brown, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, investigated the cases.
Bessette’s girlfriend, Terra D. Miller, 23, was indicted on 15 counts of theft, forgery, receiving stolen property and identity fraud. Although not implicated in the burglaries or other break-ins, Miller is accused of forging and passing the stolen checks and possessing some of the stolen property. Miller is also accused of identity fraud for allegedly stealing and using another person’s identity card to obtain a housing voucher for a three-night stay at a motel from a local charitable organization. Feeney investigated the case.
Three Mount Vernon men — Zachary J. Elkins, 22, David R. Vandebrake, 21, and Michael L. Wallace, 22 — face burglary charges and multiple counts of breaking and entering, theft of guns and receiving stolen property for their alleged participation in several break-ins last December. Thatcher said that on Dec. 31, Detective Sgt. Brown learned that Wallace was allegedly in possession of a handgun stolen during a break-in he committed with Elkins and Vandebrake. Through investigation, Brown learned that the three men allegedly burglarized a Tucker Road residence and broke into several barns and garages near Mount Vernon, Howard and Fredericktown, stealing a laptop computer, dirt bikes, jewelry, a chainsaw and snow blower and several firearms. Feeney assisted Brown in the investigation.
Andrew D. Wilson, 31, Mount Vernon, allegedly burglarized a Mount Vernon residence where he stole a Wii game system on Jan. 27. McElroy investigated the case.
On Dec. 7, 2009, Allen L. Henderson Jr., 25, allegedly sold 1.3 grams of cocaine and a 9 mm handgun to a confidential informant during a joint investigation conducted by the MVPD and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency. Thatcher said Henderson is charged with trafficking and possession of cocaine and having a weapon while under a legal disability due to his 2004 conviction for aggravated assault.
Henderson, currently serving a prison term for burglary in the Noble Correctional Institution in Caldwell, will be returned to Knox County to face the new charges. McElroy investigated the case.
Charles A. Wine, 33, Danville, was arrested on March 4 for allegedly offering to sell cocaine to a confidential informant during a joint investigation conducted by the Mount Vernon and Danville police departments. Wine was indicted on three counts of trafficking in cocaine for alleged drug deals in Mount Vernon in February, and in Danville on March 4.
According to the indictment, the state of Ohio requests forfeiture of Wine’s 2001 Chevrolet Cavalier and a small quantity of cash, alleging that the vehicle and cash were involved in the commission of the offenses. McElroy and Detective Sgt. Jeff Jacobs, MVPD, and Sgt. Tom Looney, DPD, investigated the case.
On Dec. 1, 2009, Sgt. Neil Laughlin, Ohio State Highway Patrol, stopped Vaughn R. Stoutenburgh Jr., for speeding on Ohio 229. Stoutenburgh, 39, Howard, was driving a Ford Ranger pickup truck with two passengers, Darrell E. Miller, 47, Columbus, and Willie B. Moore, 46, Mount Vernon. During the traffic stop Sgt. Laughlin allegedly recovered a plastic baggie containing powder cocaine from Stoutenburgh’s pants, a rock of crack cocaine from Miller’s sock, a baggie of powder cocaine from the ashtray and cut straws and crack pipes from the cab of the pickup truck. All three men allegedly admitted to Laughlin that they were returning from Columbus where they had been smoking crack.
Thatcher said Stoutenburgh also faces a charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, and all three men are charged in Mount Vernon Municipal Court with possession of drug paraphernalia. Deputy Chuck Statler, KCSO, assisted Laughlin in the traffic stop.
Lorie A. Martin, 39, Mount Vernon, is accused of purchasing aerosol cans from a store in Mount Vernon on two occasions in February, and then inhaling, or “huffing,” the contents of the cans for the purpose of inducing intoxication. According to the indictment, the charges of abusing harmful intoxicants are enhanced to felonies of the fifth degree due to Martin’s prior conviction for possession of marijuana in 2007. Cpl. Beth Marti and Cpl. Scott McKnight, MVPD, investigated the case.
According to the indictment, Brian M. Wilson, 32, Mount Vernon, has two prior domestic violence convictions, including a fourth-degree felony conviction in 1999. Thatcher said Wilson faces a third-degree felony domestic violence charge for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend on March 6.
Wilson is also charged with burglary for allegedly forcing his way into her apartment before the assault. Patrolman Jeremiah Armstrong, MVPD, investigated the case.
David R. Atkinson, 33, Utica, was convicted of domestic violence in 2005. Atkinson faces a fourth-degree felony domestic violence charge for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend on March 18. Patrolman Rex Young, MVPD, investigated the case.
Randall F. McGregor, 26, Fredericktown, and Shanna L. Moore, 25, Zanesville, were indicted on charges of theft and receiving stolen property for allegedly stealing a purse from a shopping cart at a Mount Vernon store on Feb. 26. Thatcher said a credit card was among the items contained in the purse, making the alleged theft a felony.
McGregor was also indicted on a charge of grand theft of a motor vehicle for allegedly stealing a 1991 Honda Accord on March 9. Detective Cpl. Matt Dailey, MVPD, investigated the case.
David L. Brookover, 26, faces charges of theft of checks, forgery and theft from an elderly person for allegedly stealing blank checks from a 66-year-old Johnstown woman’s purse, then passing the checks in amounts totaling $738.99 on several occasions in December and January. Thatcher said a warrant for Brookover’s arrest was requested because his current whereabouts are unknown. Patrolman Kyle Theibert, MVPD, investigated the case.