Country club arsonist gets two years
By Jane Beathard
The man who admitted torching a gazebo and bridge at the London Country Club last spring will spend the next two years in prison for his crimes, following sentencing on Thursday.
Justin C. Abrams, 21, 769 U.S. Route 42 S.E., London, pleaded guilty in Madison County Common Pleas Court in August to arson and vandalism in connection with fires at the private golf course on March 16 and April 7.
Abrams asked for a probationary sentence in order to work and make $5,000 in restitution to the country club. That dollar amount would cover the insurance deductible associated with the fires.
“I have no excuse,” Abrams said. “I would like to get out and make it right.”
However, Judge Robert D. Nichols said Abrams’ lengthy criminal history as both a juvenile and adult warranted prison time.
As a juvenile, Abrams appeared in court 25 times over a three-year period and spent eight months in a rehabilitation facility.
Nichols noted the only interruptions in Abrams’ criminal behavior come when he is behind bars.
Also on Thursday, West Jefferson resident Robert E. Goleaner Jr., 40, was sentenced to eight months in prison for selling heroin on Feb. 29 and March 13. Goleaner pleaded guilty in August to two counts of drug trafficking.
In court, Goleaner admitted using drugs for the last 13 years and asked for substance abuse treatment instead of prison time.
“I never had a chance to rehab,” Goleaner told Nichols.
The judge noted Goleaner’s name comes up frequently in connection with other West Jefferson heroin cases.
“He’s seems a center of drug trafficking to young people,” Nichols said.
Assistant Madison County Prosecutor Eamon Costello said local law enforcement authorities have long been suspicious of Goleaner’s illegal activities.
“His name has been on our radar for more than a decade,” Costello said.
Costello also noted Goleaner’s son, Michael, also a convicted drug user, said his father introduced him to heroin at age 13.
In other common pleas court action on Thursday:
• James E. Hinerman Jr., 53, also of West Jefferson, was sentenced to 11 months in prison for selling cocaine on March 7. Hinerman pleaded guilty to a drug trafficking charge in August.
Nichols said Hinerman’s seven-page criminal history prevented community control for the conviction. That history included 75 “intersections” with the justice system since 1975.
• Kristina Wilt, 32, of London, was sentenced to 10 days in Tri-County Regional Jail and a year of community control for possessing heroin on May 22. She pleaded guilty to drug possession in August.
The probationary sentence includes mandatory drug treatment. Nichols said Wilt faces up to a year in prison if she fails to complete the terms of her community control. Wilt is currently on probation in Madison County Municipal Court.
• Eric S. Keaton, 26, of Plain City, was jailed, pending an evaluation for drug treatment at the West Central Community Corrections Facility in Marysville. Keaton pleaded guilty in August to burglarizing the village home of a relative on May 19 and stealing jewelry valued at more than $1,600. That jewelry was later sold to a Columbus gold dealer.
A drug test administered prior to Thursday’s scheduled sentencing showed Keaton was “high” on Oxycodone and marijuana. The man’s slurred speech and squinting eyes convinced Nichols to defer sentencing until Keaton was sober.