City man handed sentence

STEUBENVILLE – Shawn F. Birkhimer, 37, of 142 N. Sixth St. Monday was sentenced to 15 months in prison by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. on charges of possession of drugs, escape, theft of a motor vehicle and failure to comply with the order of a police officer.

Birkhimer was arrested by City Police on July 20 in possession of a hypodermic needle, a crack pipe and several pills stamped Clonazepan in his pockets. He was arrested on charges of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of drug abuse instruments and taken to the Jefferson County jail.

Birkhimer at the jail the next day complained and showed signs of having a seizure. He was transported to the hospital but left the hospital and stole a vehicle, police reported. The stolen vehicle was seen by an officer on Market Street.

The officer began to pursue the vehicle onto the Market Street Bridge when Birkhimer stopped the car in the center of the bridge and jumped off the north side of the bridge into the Ohio River, police reported. The officer saw people in a boat and called to them to assist the individual. They were able to pull Birkhimer into their boat and brought him to the shore where a crew from ASI took him back to Trinity Medical Center West. He was then transported in serious condition to a Pittsburgh hospital.

Raymond L. Swickard, 23, of Toronto was placed on two years of probation by Bruzzese after Swickard pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and single counts of burglary and possession of criminal tools.

Swickard was charged with the Sept. 27 theft of five catalytic converters from SPM Fleet in Wintersville; burglarizing a home on county Road 56, Richmond, and stealing a crossbow in August; and stealing four catalytic converters from Village Auto and Truck on Canton Road, Wintersville, in August.

There was a question whether the speedy trial requirement for Swickard had expired.

Bruzzese ordered Swickard to make a total of $4,519 in restitution to the auto sales companies.

Lavina Hearon, 28, of Springfield, Ill., was placed on two years of probation by Bruzzese after she pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence.

Hearon was arrested with her brother, Calvin D. Bryant Jr., 26, of 430 Canton Road, Wintersville, on Nov. 28 following a drug investigation by the Jefferson County Drug Task Force. A vehicle driven by Bryant was stopped by law enforcement as part of a heroin trafficking investigation on state Route 7, near the Costonia exit.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said Bryant had a large amount of heroin and gave it to Hearon during the traffic stop. Hearon dropped the heroin in a police cruiser after her arrest, Hanlin said.

Hearon told Bruzzese she was going back to Illinois. Bruzzese told her she would have to report to the county’s adult probation department if she returns to Jefferson County.

She faces up to three years in prison if she violates probation.