Man gets 6 years prison for hammer attack

LIMA — A Lima resident convicted of assaulting another man with a hammer after an October jury trial was sentenced to six years in prison at a Monday morning court appearance.

Joshua Stevens, 32, had been charged with two counts of second-degree felonious assault, but Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed previously ruled that the two charges merge for sentencing purposes. Stevens’ public defender, Carroll Creighton, said the man intends to appeal his conviction and sentence.

Ralph Dewitt, the victim, testified during the trial that on May 2 he and his brother were helping a man start his car when “some guy crawled out from under the car and hit the throttle.” Dewitt said the person, whom he did not know, had a “three-pointed crown tattoo” above his eye. The two exchanged words but no altercation took place.

Later that evening Dewitt said the man showed up outside his home on East Second Street in Lima. He said he was struck with a hammer and, after chasing his attacker into a nearby alley, found it to be the same man with the crown tattoo.

Stevens has a tattoo that matches that description.

Dewitt was taken to Memorial Health System for treatment of his wounds, which included one stitch to his forehead.

Stevens said Monday that during the trial, no DNA evidence matching him to the hammer was presented, nor any medical evidence. He said there was “no way” that he assaulted Dewitt.

“This is totally wrong, man,” Stevens told Reed.

Reed said although Stevens committed the offense while on post-release control for another offense, he would not sentence him to any additional time. He said after Stevens serves this sentence, which could be up to nine years depending on his behavior in prison, he will be placed on post-release control again for 18 months to three years.

Stevens will receive 197 days of jail time credit toward his sentence and will lose the right to own or possess a firearm. He is ordered to pay court costs.

Reed said Stevens must file an appeal within 30 days of his sentencing.