LIMA — A Lima man with a history of mental illness who injured two hospital security guards nearly two years ago escaped a prison term when he was sentenced Friday.
Damon Roeder, who has already spent more than 600 days in the Allen County jail, was ordered to serve three years on probation, to obtain any and all counseling recommended by the probation office and to be assessed for placement in the Allen County Mental Health Court. If accepted, Roeder is to complete the court program and also undergo anger management counseling.
Roeder, 27, was indicted by an Allen County grand jury in March 2018 on charges of felonious assault, a first-degree felony; assault, a felony of the fourth degree; and harassment with a bodily substance, a fifth-degree felony. He pleaded guilty in October to the lower-level felonies after the state agreed to dismiss the most serious count against him.
The charges stemmed from an altercation at Mercy Health-St. Rita’s Medical Center that left two security guards with various injuries. One of the hospital police officers, Jon Swisher, was forced to resign his position after losing most of the mobility in his right hand.
“I’m no longer in law enforcement because of this,” Swisher told Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Terri Kohlrieser. The former officer also claimed that he has been unable to fulfill child-care duties he shared with his wife because of the injuries he suffered when he was attacked by Roeder. He was awarded restitution in the amount of $668.50 as compensation for those out-of-pocket expenses.
Roeder told Kohlrieser the incident stemmed from “a case of insomnia-induced psychosis” after he was denied his medications at the hospital on the night of the incident.
In May 2018 he was deemed incompetent to stand trial following an evaluation by psychologists at the Northwest Ohio Psychiatric Hospital in Toledo. A plea of not guilty by reason of insanity was submitted to the court by Roeder’s attorney at the time.
Kohlrieser said medical records show that Roeder suffers from “a broad spectrum of mental health issues” and said he will remain in jail until probation officials can establish and implement a plan for his life going forward.