LIMA — A Lima man charged with the robbery and extortion of a University of Northwest Ohio student nearly two years ago was sentenced Monday to six years in prison. Under a unique plea agreement that spawned two counties, that sentence is to be served consecutively to a 36-month prison term Tyler Lee received last month in Putnam County on an unrelated drug charge.
Lee was indicted in Allen County earlier this year on charges of robbery, kidnapping and extortion in connection with the Feb. 4, 2018, robbery of former UNOH student James Featherstone. In October he agreed to plead guilty to the robbery charge, a second-degree felony, and the third-degree felony count of extortion.
Lee, 22, of Lima, who could spend up to nine years behind bars for the assortment of crimes spread over two counties, told the court on Monday that he played almost no role at all the incident involving the UNOH student.
Featherstone, a resident of Michigan, told police he was traveling on Allentown Road on the day in question and failed to stop within the assured clear distance, striking the rear of a white Mercury Mountaineer. Featherstone said he approached the vehicle but was told to “get out of here.”
Featherstone said he later drove to UNOH and once again encountered the white Mountaineer. He told police a black male exited the vehicle and approached his pick-up truck before assaulting him and forcing him out of his vehicle and into the Mountaineer.
A second black male then got into Featherstone’s truck and both vehicles traveled to a Speedway gas station on North Cable Road. Featherstone was ordered to go into the gas station and remove money from an ATM machine. He withdrew $60 from his account and gave it to the men, along with $25 from his wallet.
Lima residents Jeffrey Fails and Justin Meeks were initially charged with robbery, kidnapping and extortion in the case, but charges against Fails were later dismissed. Meeks is scheduled to stand trial in March of next year on those charges.
“It wasn’t my intention to rob nobody,” Lee told Judge Jeffrey Reed on Monday. “I told Meeks I didn’t want nothing to do with this. I didn’t receive no money and I didn’t ask for no money (from Featherstone). I want to say I’m sorry to the victim and I wish I would have stopped this from happening,” Lee told the judge.
Lee was indicted July 31 in Putnam County on a charge of possession of fentanyl-related compound, a first-degree felony, and was sentenced to the 36-month prison term as part of a deal with prosecutors in Putnam and Allen counties.
Included in Lee’s sentence in Allen County on Monday were a pair of 12-month sentences for failure to comply with the order of a police officer and aggravated assault that were unrelated to the robbery of the UNOH student.