LIMA — A Lima man whose participation in an armed robbery earlier this year was “drug-fueled,” according to his attorney, was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison.
Joseph Swinehart, 20, was sentenced Thursday in Allen County Common Pleas Court on a first-degree felony charge of aggravated burglary. He was indicted by a grand jury in April on charges of aggravated burglary and a second-degree felony count of robbery. In June, Swinehart accepted a deal from prosecutors and pleaded guilty to the single count of the indictment.
Defense attorney Joe Benavidez told the court that Swinehart “has a crack cocaine and heroin issue that he would like to get help for.” Benavidez told Judge Jeffrey Reed that his client cooperated with authorities since his arrest — unlike a co-defendant in the case — and is remorseful for his actions.
“What I did was out of character and not something I would have done if I was sober. But I hold myself accountable,” Swinehart told the judge.
Reed ordered Swinehart to share in restitution totaling $1,300 to the victim in the case. The judge told the defendant he would be eligible to apply for judicial release after spending six months in prison.
According to court documents, police were dispatched to the Lima West Apartments at 1855 N. Cole St. at about 7:15 p.m. March 11 in reference to a robbery. The victims reported they had been robbed at gunpoint by an unknown white male who was wearing sunglasses and a bandana over the bottom half of his face.
There were three people in the apartment at the time of the robbery, police said. One of the subjects was Shawn Russell, 22, of Lima, who fled the scene prior to officers arrival, along with two females, whose names were withheld by police.
Early on in the investigative process, Russell was suspected of being complicit to the robbery and officers began searching for him, according to the statement. Police were later able to identify the masked robber as Swinehart, reports indicate.
Investigators subsequently located Russell and Swinehart in a vehicle on the lot of The Lima Estates Apartments and took both men into custody on suspicion of robbery.
Russell is scheduled to stand trial Aug. 21 for his role in the incident.