LIMA – Scott Catlett, the former co-director of Our Daily Bread soup kitchen in Lima, was sentenced Wednesday to four years in prison on a first-degree felony charge of kidnapping.
Prosecutors had sought a much lengthier sentence.
During an at-times contentious sentencing hearing in Allen County Common Pleas Court, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Terri Kohlreiser and Defense Counsel Adam Burke sparred on more than one occasion about the facts of the case and the degree of trauma suffered by the victim.
Catlett took responsibility for his actions but told Judge David Cheney that “a lot of untruths have been told here.”
Catlett, 59, in October agreed to a negotiated agreement with prosecutors that called for him to plead guilty to kidnapping, a first-degree felony, in exchange for the state’s dismissal of charges of rape and assault.
The charges stem from allegations that Catlett beat and detained Patrick Deal, a 27-year-old Lima man he believed had stolen items from his residence at 707 N. Jefferson St. on three separate occasions. Among those stolen items, Burke said in court Wednesday, were medals and other mementos left to Catlett by his late father, former Lima Police Chief Frank Catlett. Deal is to be sentenced next week on a charge of burglary in connection with the thefts.
Kohlreiser asked Cheney to sentence Catlett to “a lengthy amount of prison time,” claiming Catlett caused “serious physical and psychological harm” to Deal when he placed a belt around Deal’s neck, hit him several times and rendered him unconscious. Kohlreiser said Catlett then took Deal to the basement of the home and bound him in tape on three separate occasions, holding him hostage for a period of between 18-20 hours.
“The defendant admitted he wanted to put the fear of God in [Deal] to get him to tell him where his stuff was,” the prosecutor alleged. Kohlreiser also said Catlett read the Bible to Deal while detaining him, noting that “many a madman has used the Bible to justify their evil actions.”
Burke complimented Kohlreiser on her “very powerful demonstration” but argued that Deal with not without fault in the incident. The defense attorney said the prosecutor “has attempted to demonize my client” by questioning his faith in God.
Burke said his client “has accepted responsibility for his lapse in judgment” and told Cheney that factors of the case “support a sentence on the low end of the range.” Catlett faced a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison.
In his statement to the court, Catlett denied that he had choked Deal with a belt and also rejected the prosecutor’s allegation that Deal feared for his life during the ordeal.
“Mr. Deal knew his life was never in danger; he was not terrorized, your honor,” Catlett said. “He was under the influence of crack cocaine when he came to my house, and that was part of the reason to detain him. But that does not excuse my wrongful actions that evening.”
Cheney, in passing a four-year prison sentence, said there were “repeated” instances where Catlett was clearly a victim in the case and that he had acted “under strong provocation.”
Wednesday’s hearing was the second time the court had attempted to sentence Catlett. During a Dec. 13 hearing, Catlett became ill and was taken from the courtroom to a local hospital after showing signs of physical distress.
Reach J Swygart at 567-242-0464.