A Columbus man will spend two years in prison for having sex with a 15-year-old West Jefferson girl, following a hearing in Madison County Common Pleas Court on Friday.
Judge Eamon Costello also ordered Roy Ferrell, II, 28, classified as a Tier II sex offender with reporting requirements for 25 years.
Ferrell pleaded guilty on April 1 to two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, stemming from incidents in 2012 and 2013.
The victim’s parents said they allowed Ferrell and his then-girlfriend to move into their home out of generosity. The mother said Ferrell took advantage of the kindness by developing a sexual relationship with their daughter.
The teen is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome — a high-functioning form of autism. Ferrell said he expects to reunite with the teen when she reaches legal age of consent.
“He shattered my faith in helping others,” the victim’s mother told Costello. “It was an unfathomable loss of innocence.”
Prior to sentencing, Costello denied a last-minute request by defense attorney Jeff Hunter to withdraw Ferrell’s earlier guilty plea, as well as a request for a psychiatric evaluation of the man.
Ferrell hired Hunter on May 22 to replace his court-appointed attorney, Jess Stacy.
Hunter filed paperwork on May 23, arguing Ferrell did not fully understand the consequences and potential prison time of his earlier guilty plea.
Costello delayed sentencing until May 30 to give Hunter and assistant prosecutor Nick Adkins time to review transcripts of the April 1 hearing.
On Friday, Ferrell testified that he suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and dropped out of school after ninth grade.
He said Stacy gave him only 10 minutes on April 1 to read the plea form. He agreed to the guilty plea in order to “buy more time and get a better attorney.”
“I did not know what I was getting into,” Ferrell said.
But Adkins pointed out sections of the April 1 transcript that differed from Ferrell’s assertions.
Under questioning by Adkins, Ferrell admitted Stacy read the plea form to him and explained it in every-day language.
As Adkins pressed, Ferrell’s memory grew foggy.
He couldn’t remember Costello’s April 1 explanation of a potential prison sentence, fines and other consequences of a third-degree felony conviction.
Costello noted the memory loss and said nothing in the transcript indicated Ferrell was “buying time” and wanted a different lawyer.
“Your credibility is at issue,” he told Ferrell.