Burglar now charged with racketeering

By Jane Beathard

February 28, 2014

Convicted burglar Ronald F. Morgan, 28, was back in Madison County Common Pleas Court on Friday, Feb. 28, charged with operating a widespread burglary ring that targeted homes in Madison and western Franklin counties.

Morgan is currently serving three years at Madison Correctional Institution for a 2013 Plain City-area burglary. He is due for release in May 2016.

But that date will be extended if prosecutors can prove Morgan directed a tight-knit band of thieves that broke into houses between Feb. 8 and Feb. 21, 2013.

The group allegedly included Ronald Moore, 36, Debra Riley, and Riley’s daughter, Lauren Kehl, 20. Moore is currently serving four years for burglary. Riley pleaded guilty in January to multiple counts of receiving stolen property and is awaiting a March 20 sentencing. Kehl died from a drug overdose in May 2013.

New accusations leveled at Morgan on Friday included racketeering, a first-degree felony, and 15 counts of burglary and theft. Some victims were elderly, increasing potential penalties. Other thefts involved guns, mandating additional prison time.

Charges included burglaries on Selsor-Moon, Linson, Big Plain-Circleville, Bonner and Old Xenia roads in Madison County. Others involved break-ins on Hyland-Coy and Rings roads in Franklin County. They occurred on Feb. 8, 11, 14, 20 and 21, 2013.

Magistrate Lauren Kimmel appointed the state public defender’s office to represent Morgan at a May 15 trial.

Judge Eamon Costello and assistant prosecutor Nick Adkins were unable to participate in Friday’s arraignment since they were involved in Morgan’s 2013 case. Costello prosecuted Morgan; Adkins was his court-appointed defense attorney.

Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.