Maximum sentence in assault conviction

STEUBENVILLE – Anthony “Cadillac” Elmore, 29, of Steubenville, who was found guilty Thursday after a one-day trial of felonious assault, with a firearm specification, and having a weapon as a convicted drug offender, was sentenced Monday by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. to the maximum of 14 years in prison.

Elmore was one of three people charged in connection with a gunfight in the 800 block of South Street on Sept. 3.

Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said Elmore and William D. Ross III, 19, of Steubenville were on a porch on Jefferson Street when three males, including Torrance Lyda, 41, of Steubenville walked by. Elmore and Ross ran ahead of Lyda through the woods and were waiting for Lyda to walk by, Hanlin said. The plan was to count to five and then open fire, but Hanlin said Ross made a noise, pulled out a gun and he and Elmore began firing. Lyda pulled out a gun and also began shooting, with a bullet hitting Ross in the upper leg, Hanlin said.

Elmore dropped his gun in the woods, where it was later recovered by a City Police detective.

Ross was sentenced by Bruzzese in January to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a felonious assault charge, with a firearm specification, in connection with the gunfight. Lyda’s trial is pending.

Hanlin pitched for the maximum sentence, saying the public has to be protected from gunfights in residential neighborhoods during the middle of the day. She said there were no provocation or fighting words exchanged between Lyda and Elmore and Ross.

Hanlin said Elmore was on parole when the shooting occurred, adding Elmore has a lengthy criminal record, but none of which is violent.

Defense attorney Travis Collins disagreed with Hanlin, saying there was strong provocation by Lyda when he recruited teenagers to walk through the neighborhood as a sign of disrespect. Collins said Elmore and Ross ran after Lyda and the teens because they were afraid Lyda would return and there would be a gunfight at the Jefferson Street home.

“He had a fear for his life and was responding in kind,” Collins said.

Bruzzese though harshly criticized Elmore for what the judge said was the defendant claiming to be the victim when he took the stand during his trial.

“Their threat to you was zero,” Bruzzese said, adding it was “awful” a gunfight took place in a residential neighborhood. The judge said the gunfight was gang related.

Bruzzese said there was no remorse from Elmore, who he said tried to make the decision of who can walk down the street.

The judge said one of the worst parts of the offense was Elmore leaving the loaded gun in the woods where a child could have found it.

“Then you immediately went and tried to find another gun,” Bruzzese said.

The judge told Elmore he could have done something with his life, like getting a college degree.

Instead, the judge said, Elmore was “some punk who sits on the porch and sneaks up behind people and shoots them in the back.”

Elmore told Bruzzese he was sorry for “the way things went down” and had no intention of hurting anyone. He also told the judge he wants to appeal the conviction and maximum sentence.

Elmore will next stand trial for his alleged participation in the May 16 home invasion in Mingo Junction, where two adults and two children were pistol whipped and a man was shot in the leg.

Drake Burton of Steubenville was sentenced to 30 years in prison in November for his participation in the crime.

Stedmund Creech of Steubenville also is facing a trial for his alleged involvement.

Also before Bruzzese on Monday was Dustin L. Phelps, 30, of Toronto, who was sentenced to an additional six months in prison for violating the terms of his drug treatment in lieu of conviction plea.

Phelps was allowed to enter the drug treatment in lieu of conviction in June 2012 on a charge of possession of cocaine and was placed on two years of probation.

Phelps was sentenced on April 7 to two years in prison by Bruzzese in connection with a series of business break-ins on Nov. 7.

Phelps pleaded guilty to thee counts of complicity to breaking and entering, felony theft, two counts of breaking and entering and misdemeanor counts of theft and criminal damaging. Phelps was charged in connection with break-ins at Monroe Muffler, 4248 Sunset Blvd.; Puerta Vallerta at 4101 Sunset Blvd.; Triple 7s at 4240 Sunset Blvd.; Pytash Country Pride, 3069 state Route 213, Steubenville; and Special Way, 1592 state Route 213, Steubenville.

Rashann D. Mukes, 28, of 241 N. Ninth St., formerly of Chicago, was sentenced by Bruzzese to six months in the Eastern Ohio Correction Center after pleading guilty to trafficking in heroin. Mukes was ordered to forfeit $6,716 and two firearms confiscated as part of the investigation. He will be on probation for two years.

He faces up to 18 months in prison if he violates probation.

(Law can be contacted at mlaw@heraldstaronline.com.)