GALLIPOLIS — A three-year sentence was recently handed down to a Gallia County man who pleaded guilty to a 2011 break-in at the old River Valley High School and to fleeing police on three separate occasions in 2012.
Joey D. Russell, 25, Gallipolis, was sentenced in the Common Pleas Court of Gallia County last week to serve a total of 36 months in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction after pleading guilty to one count of breaking and entering, and three counts of fleeing and eluding in two separate 2012 cases.
Russell was indicted on March 18, 2011, after he was identified as a suspect in the March 3, 2011, break-in at the old River Valley High School located at 1428 Little Kyger Road in Cheshire.
According to the police report, surveillance video captured a male suspect at approximately 2 a.m. on March 3, 2011, cutting metal out of the ceiling and walls of the former high school. In the surveillance footage, the first suspect later calls a second man who quickly arrives in a pickup truck. The two men then load the metal taken from the school into the truck and leave the scene in the vehicle.
The two men were later identified as Joey Russell and Jeremy Russell.
Jeremy Russell, 22, Gallipolis, was subsequently arraigned in May 2011 and charged with breaking and entering, theft, and one count of vandalism in relation to the break-in.
He later pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony breaking and entering charge and a fourth-degree felony vandalism charge in December 2011 and was sentenced to three years of community control.
Probation violations were filed against Jeremy Russell in April 2012 and, due to this, his community control was later revoked in June and he was sentenced to 17 months in a state prison.
While a warrant on indictment for Joey Russell’s arrest for the break-in at the former high school was issued in March 2011, he was not arraigned in this case until after his arrest in October 2012 following a high-speed pursuit in Gallia County.
According to the police report filed with the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office, the defendant was arrested at approximately 1:38 a.m. on October 8, 2012, at the intersection of White Road and East Bethel Road after a deputy performed a “pit” maneuver on the vehicle that Russell was driving.
The deputy became involved in the pursuit after being contacted by the Henderson, W.Va., Police Department and informed that a white truck fleeing from officers was traveling across the Silver Memorial Bridge into Ohio along U.S. 35.
The deputy took over the pursuit at Ohio 160 and Jackson Pike and pursued the vehicle at speeds over 100 miles per hour. Officers followed the vehicle until it was stopped by the deputy on White Road.
The driver, identified by police as Joey D. Russell, was ordered out of the vehicle and was arrested.
At the time of his arrest, he was also reportedly in the possession of a loaded High-Point 380 ACP pistol.
Following his arrest, Russell was arraigned in the common pleas court on October 15, 2012, and formally charged with breaking and entering, theft and complicity to vandalism for his involvement in the March 2011 break-in at the old River Valley High School.
The defendant was also connected and was arraigned on fleeing and eluding charges from incidents on March 4, 2012, and on September 25, 2012.
In relation to the October 8 pursuit, Russell was charged with a third-degree felony fleeing and eluding charge and a charge of carrying a concealed weapon, a fourth degree felony.
During a hearing on December 27, Russell pleaded guilty in his first case to breaking and entering, a fifth degree felony, a third degree fleeing and eluding charge in his second case and two additional third-degree felony fleeing and eluding charges in his third case.
As per the plea agreement, the defendant was ordered to serve nine months in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction for each of the four charges to which he pleaded guilty to. These sentenced were ordered to be served consecutively for a total of 36 months.
He was given credit for 82 days served and was ordered to pay the cost of prosecution.