Man found guilty on firearms and trespassing charges

IN COURT — Defendant Dillon Lockart, right, was in East Liverpool Municipal Court on Tuesday. Also shown are Lockhart’s attorney, Chris Amato, and Prosecutor Ryan Weikart, left.

EAST LIVERPOOL — A St. Clair Township man was found guilty Tuesday in East Liverpool Municipal Court of a firearms charge and trespassing on the former Riverview Florist property in November.

With a number of family members in the courtroom and represented by attorney Chris Amato, Dillon Lockhart, 22, pleaded no contest to criminal trespassing and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

Judge Melissa Byers Emmerling found him guilty of both charges and, for each, fined him $150, sentencing him to 30 days in jail with 28 suspended, to be served concurrently, and placed on three years of probation. She gave Lockhart credit for two days already served, advising him he will not have to return to jail unless he violates terms of his probation.

Lockhart also had 80 hours of community service imposed, and the .45-caliber handgun found in his vehicle by City Police was ordered destroyed.

Byers Emmerling reminded Lockhart the terms of his probation require him to obey all laws, not to possess weapons, drugs or alcohol, to have no contact with the Riverview Florist property and to be employed. He advised he is employed at Mountaineer Gaming Resort.

Prosecutor Ryan Weikart agreed counseling could be at the discretion of the probation department.

Lockhart was found inside the former showroom building at the Riverview Florist property Nov. 7 after a caller reported someone appeared to be taking items from a building. The property is owned by the city’s Community Improvement Corp. and is for sale or lease for development.

A city official arrived to find Lockhart’s vehicle, which is outfitted similar to those depicted on the popular “Walking Dead” television program, parked outside the building and Lockhart inside with a 14-inch knife in his hand.

Inside his vehicle, the loaded .45-caliber gun was found between the seat and console, along with ammunition, spent shell casings on the flo6r and a variety of other potential weapons, such as bows, knives and baseball bats modified with saw blades, bottle caps and barbed wire.

Lockhart said at the time he was checking out the property for a possible calendar photo shoot.