Gallia man convicted of criminal damaging, menacing

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — Kenneth “Austin” Sheets, 23, of Addison Pike, was found guilty Monday after a bench trial in Gallipolis Municipal Court of criminal damaging and menacing charges.

“(Sheets) was alleged to have committed a fourth-degree misdemeanor for criminal damaging and also a fourth-degree misdemeanor menacing,” said Gallipolis City Solicitor Adam Salisbury. “Both arose out of the same incident, May 3, 2015. (Sheets’) neighbor, John Schaeffer, testified for the state that he was familiar with Mr. Austin Sheets because he lived two doors down from him on Addison Pike. He (allegedly) had seen Austin out and about in the neighborhood several times and that he would draw attention to himself because he liked to squeal tires and ride his four-wheeler in neighbors’ yards and generally be a nuisance.”

On the day of the event in question, Schaeffer alleged that he had seen an individual shooting a .22 caliber rifle out of one of the windows of Sheets’ residence. The firearm was being shot away from residences and toward a hill. Schaeffer admitted he could not see who was firing the .22. After the shooting of the rifle, Schaeffer allegedly saw Sheets with a pellet gun.

“(Schaeffer) allegedly saw (Sheets) aim it at Schaeffer’s residence, heard the pellet gun discharge, heard the pellets hit his residence and then found where the pellets had hit the residence and took pictures of (the damage),” Salisbury said. “That was the criminal damaging charge, and while all of this was happening, (Schaeffer’s) two-and-a-half-year-old grandson was outside. The discharge of the rifle followed immediately by the shooting of the pellet gun at the house put (Schaeffer) in fear that his family member would be harmed, which constitutes the menacing (charge).”

Schaeffer produced his photographs to the court for evidence.

According to Salisbury, menacing charges come about when an individual puts another in fear that that person may suffer bodily injury or when one fears an immediate family member may suffer bodily harm.

Aggravated menacing charges can occur if one deems the bodily injury “serious.”

Salisbury also stated that Sheets alleged he was not at his residence the day of the event in question. He said he left early that morning to go fishing and did not come back home until late at night.

“He basically disclaimed the entire event ever happened,” said Salisbury of Sheets.

Sheets is expected to be sentenced Nov. 30.

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.

By Dean Wright