Choctaw man pleads guilty to attempted kidnapping

By Jane Beathard

April 4, 2014

A London-area man will spend 90 days in Tri-County Regional Jail for attempting to con a mentally impaired West Jefferson woman out of $25,000.

Logan R. Johns, 19, of Choctaw Lake, pleaded guilty in Madison County Common Pleas Court in February to attempted kidnapping and theft, stemming from a series of incidents on Aug. 24, 2013.

A second theft charge involving the same victim was dismissed by the county prosecutor’s office after Johns agreed to make $759 in restitution.

In addition to the jail time, Johns will serve three years of community control. Any violation of community control could put Johns in prison for two years, Judge Eamon Costello said on Friday, April 4.

“It’s troubling that you targeted someone mentally retarded,” Costello told Johns.

Assistant county prosecutor Nick Adkins said Johns was performing odd-jobs for the elderly woman, who is mildly impaired and lives independently.

Johns told the woman he was in legal difficulty and needed cash. He drove the woman to a Dublin branch of her bank, and posing as her son, attempted to withdraw $25,000 from her account. A teller grew suspicious and refused the withdrawal.

Johns then took the victim to the bank’s West Jefferson branch and repeated the request — again unsuccessfully. The West Jefferson teller alerted village police, leading to Johns’ arrest, Adkins said.

A caseworker told Costello the woman has no concept of money and was easily duped. And it wasn’t the first time.

“She has previous experience as a kidnap victim,” the caseworker said.

Costello warned Johns, who has a juvenile record, against any future brushes with the law.

“You are on the edge,” Costello said. “You picked a vulnerable victim.”

In other common pleas court action this week:

• Tammy L. Jewell, 34, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to a vehicular assault charge, stemming from a Jan. 30, 2013, crash on state Route 29. Three additional vehicular assault charges were dismissed by the prosecutor’s office.

Jewell was driving impaired with her children and husband in the vehicle when she exited Interstate 70 into the path of an oncoming truck. She was on probation in a Franklin County Drug Court at the time.

She faces up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine for the conviction.

Visiting Judge Robert D. Nichols ordered a pre-sentence investigation and set sentencing for June 5.

• Sarah M. Pierce, 28, of Dayton, pleaded guilty to smuggling the drug Suboxone into London Correctional Institution on April 18-19, 2013. A third smuggling charge was dismissed by the prosecutor.

Pierce concealed tablets under postage stamps on letters mailed to an inmate, Adkins said.

Pierce faces up to three years in prison and a $20,000 fine for the convictions.

Sentencing was set for June 5, following a pre-sentence investigation.

• Roy L. Ferrell II, 28, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with an underage West Jefferson girl in November 2012 and August 2013. A similar third charge was dismissed.

Ferrell faces up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Sentencing was set for May 23, following a pre-sentence investigation.

• Mineau A.R. Easterling, 29, of Reynoldsburg, pleaded guilty to improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle on Dec. 25, 2013.

He faces up to 18 months in prison and a $5,000 fine for the fourth-degree felony conviction. However, he is likely to be placed on community control, pending the outcome of a pre-sentence investigation.

Sentencing was set for June 5.

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