By Angela Shepherd firstname.lastname@example.org
March 20, 2014
A Hillsboro man who pleaded guilty earlier this year to the first-degree felony rape of a 15-year-old juvenile was sentenced in Highland County Common Pleas Court on Thursday to 10 years in prison.
Christopher W. Greene, 37, has been in custody at the county jail since his December arrest.
Prosecutor Anneka Collins requested the maximum sentence of 11 years in prison, despite this being Greene’s first felony, because the term is “appropriate for how egregious this crime is,” she said.
Collins went on to say that while she was appreciative that the victim was spared having to testify in the trial and recount her experience, Greene stole the victim’s innocence.
She also noted that DNA collected in the case belonged to Greene. “There’s no question he did this,” Collins added.
Defense attorney Kathryn Hapner reiterated to the court that Greene had no prior felonies. She also noted that he had been on probation only twice before, adding that she didn’t believe the maximum sentence was appropriate based on Greene’s lack of a criminal record.
Hapner added that Greene said he didn’t remember the incident. While Hapner said she didn’t know what happened that night, she speculated to the court that Greene may have been too drunk to remember what occurred.
Greene said nothing when Judge Rocky Coss asked him if he wanted to say anything.
The judge, speaking as he perused documents, said it appeared that Greene was familiar with the family and was in a situation as a trusted adult as he was walking the victim home from a store.
As he read a report, Coss said he was “struck” by the overwhelming evidence in terms of Greene’s guilt.
But being too drunk to remember, Coss said, was likely just an excuse, noting that there was nothing in Greene’s history to indicate a problem with alcohol or blackouts from drinking.
“Forcible rape … is probably about as bad a type of offense as it gets, and I have to take that into consideration,” Coss said before imposing 10 years in prison.
Greene is now classified as a Tier III sex offender and following his release from prison will have to register every 90 days for the remainder of his life.
In another hearing, Edward W. Bigger, 24, of Martinsville, was sentenced to three years in prison for second-degree felony burglary.
Bigger was ordered to complete STAR last year after admitting to probation violations and was at the treatment facility when he was indicted on the burglary charge.
Also sentenced to prison on Thursday was Buddy L. Evans, 34, of Greenfield, for trafficking in crack cocaine in the vicinity of a school zone, a fourth-degree felony. He was also ordered to forfeit $183 to the Greenfield Police Department.
As part of the plea agreement, a fifth-degree felony count of possession of crack cocaine was dismissed, and the state will not pursue two failure to appear charges.
Gary A. Lunsford, 75, of Dayton, was sentenced to five years community control for fourth-degree felony gross sexual imposition. Additionally, he was ordered to be evaluated for sex offender treatment.
The victim’s daughter spoke to the court prior to sentencing and said that since the incident, her once-independent, elderly mother is now frightened and has to be reassured about her own safety in her home.
Collins said the family is more concerned about Lunsford’s sex offender status than his going to prison.
Defense attorney Richard Federle told the court that the defendant has no record, misdemeanor or felony. He said his client has been involved in the church his whole life, but he added that in his opinion he believes Lunsford has some mental issues.
Coss noted Lunsford’s “law-abiding, productive,” life and his being active in the church. But he said he suspected Federle was right in that Lunsford likely has some mental issues. The judge also suggested that Lunsford’s aging might be affecting his perspective.
Lunsford was sentenced to five years community control, he is to have no contact of any kind with the victim or her family, and he will not permitted to hold a job that requires him to visit people alone.
Coss told Lunsford he would be on a “very tight leash,” adding that the conditions he imposed “mean something” to the court.
The judge further warned that anything less than “strict compliance” would land Lunsford in prison for up to 18 months.
Additionally, Lunsford is classified as a Tier I sex offender and will be required to register annually for 15 years.
In other proceedings, Audrey L. Major, 31, of New Vienna, was ordered to complete treatment. She admitted to probation violations earlier in March.
David T. Stanforth, 31, was sentenced to three years community control and the STAR program. He pleaded guilty to third-degree felony illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs in February.
Sophela Valdez, 32, of Hillsboro, admitted to probation violations. Her community control was extended and she was ordered to be assessed by FRS for the SMART Ohio intensive treatment, and to complete any and all recommended treatment.
Heather N. Conley, 25, of Hillsboro, was granted intervention in lieu of conviction. Her plea of guilty to fifth-degree felony heroin possession will be stayed while she is treatment. If Conley successfully completes the requirements of the intervention in lieu of conviction, the fifth-degree felony will be dismissed.
The Times-Gazette’s Sarah Allen contributed to this story.