LIMA — A Lima man was sentenced to an indefinite two-year prison term in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Monday after he reportedly stole two cell phones from a woman when she asked him to leave her home in February.
Eric L. Baumert, 27, pleaded guilty in September to an amended charge of burglary, a second-degree felony, which was downgraded from first-degree aggravated burglary.
But his attorney, public defender Kenneth Sturgill, argued Monday that this was not a traditional burglary case.
Baumert, who had reportedly just met the woman on Facebook, suggested that the two have sex after he agreed to help her move, according to Facebook messages read in court Monday.
“She essentially agreed that’d be fine if there’s time,” Sturgill said, summarizing the exchange.
The woman let Baumert inside her home but later asked him to leave after another mover canceled, according to Sturgill. The two started arguing, with Baumert eventually taking off with the woman’s cell phones.
When asked why he grabbed the phones, Baumert told Judge Jeffrey Reed that his ex-partners have thrown phones at him in the past.
The victim was not present Monday and did not provide the court with a victim’s statement. Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Joe Everhart said the victim wasn’t too involved in the process but “believes the defendant just needs some help.”
“I think a lot of this stems from not appropriately or adequately treating his mental illness,” Sturgill said, noting that Baumert told pre-sentence investigators that he wasn’t taking medication at the time.
Baumert apologized for his actions but was denied community control, which would have allowed him to serve his time outside of prison.
Baumert, who has already served 280 days of his sentence, was sentenced Monday to an indefinite two years in prison, during which the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction may impose an additional year to his prison term, followed by 18 months to three years of parole.
He will be eligible for judicial release after six months.