Prison sentences handed down

STEUBENVILLE – Matthew Grace, 29, of 307 1/2 Lockhart St., Mingo Junction, was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Monday by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. after admitting to a probation violation.

Grace was sentenced by Bruzzese in October 2010 to six months in the Eastern Ohio Correction Center and ordered to be on probation for four years after Grace pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.

Grace was arrested on June 17 by the county’s drug task force on a charge of drug trafficking. The charge was pleaded down to attempted drug abuse in Steubenville Municipal Court, for which he was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

The county prosecutor’s office then filed a motion to have Grace’s probation revoked in the common pleas court case.

Also, Michael Bates, 47, of 263 state Route 151, Rayland, was sentenced to nine months in prison by Bruzzese after Bates pleaded guilty to theft and breaking and entering. He was charged in connection with the break-in of a structure in the 1100 block of Commercial Street, Mingo Junction, on May 14.

Bates has served three prior prison terms for break-ins.

Dennis R. Bernardi, 45, of 135 Stanton Ave., Mingo Junction, was sentenced to nine months in prison by Bruzzese after Bernardi pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property. Bernardi was charged in connection with the May 19 theft of scrap metal from a business on Cool Springs Road, Mingo Junction. A county sheriff’s deputy found the scrap metal at Bernardi’s house.

Robert L. Phillipson, 23, of 101 Johnson Lane, Toronto, and Brittany M. Billham, 22, of Apartment D, 2516 Crabbe Blvd., both were allowed by Bruzzese to enter drug treatment in lieu of conviction.

Phillipson pleaded guilty to felony possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia, and Billham pleaded guilty to complicity to possession of marijuana, permitting drug abuse and complicity to possession of drug paraphernalia. Phillipson and Billham were arrested in January after an investigation by Toronto Police and the county’s drug task force.

Both will have to go through two years of drug treatment and remain drug free. If they successfully complete the program, the charges will be dismissed. If not, they will reappear for a sentencing hearing.