LIMA — A man who robbed a Bluffton bank more than five years ago and has spent most of the time since then in a mental hospital on Thursday pleaded guilty to the charge against him.
Brian Matheny, 48, will be sentenced in early January on a single count of aggravated robbery, a felony of the first degree. He faces up to 11 years in prison but will receive credit for the nearly five years he has been held in the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in Toledo. Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed stressed that a prison sentence is presumed in the case but is not mandatory.
The judge met for an extended period of time behind closed doors Thursday with attorneys in the case after it was learned that Matheny had expressed a desire to plead guilty to the charges. Reed said questions centered around where the Michigan native would reside pending his sentencing. A phone call was placed to officials at the mental hospital who helped provide some answers.
“I could order you to be held in the county jail, or you could be released on bond, or you could be ordered back to the hospital in Toledo,” the judge told the defendant. Reed ultimately chose the latter option, ordering Matheny back to the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital for continuing mental health maintenance until the January sentencing hearing.
The judge also ordered a pre-sentence investigation. Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Tony Miller said the state reserves the right to be heard at sentencing.
Matheny was indicted in December 2014 on the aggravated robbery charge after he allegedly threatening to use a Molotov cocktail to rob the Chase bank at 135 S. Main St., Bluffton, on Oct. 21, 2014. Matheny handed a teller a note and threatened to blow up the bank if he was not given money, according to court documents.
He left the bank and a state trooper spotted his car minutes later near Findlay. The trooper stopped Matheny and Matheny tried to light himself on fire, officials said at the time.
Matheny was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial in October 2014, but during a regular two-year evaluation completed earlier this year doctors at the Toledo mental hospital concluded that Matheny’s competency had been restored.