Thursday, March 8th, 2007
Local man gets 4 years in prison
By Margie Wuebker
Robert C. Tittle, who defense attorney David Bruns described as a 58-year-old Vietnam veteran dealing with past criminal activity, cancer and drug problems, is going to prison after appearing in Mercer County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday.
Tittle, who has been living at 3383 Kuhn Road near Coldwater, received two consecutive two-year sentences after pleading guilty to having weapons under disability and possession of drugs (crack cocaine), both third-degree felonies. He also received a mandatory $5,000 fine and a six-month operator's license suspension.
The charges resulted from an Oct. 3, 2006, incident at his former residence, 1502 E. Livingston St., Celina. Mercer County Sheriff's deputies responded to the scene on reports of shots fired. A subsequent search of the mobile home turned up more than five grams of crack cocaine and other illegal substances.
"I must be nuts to do what I did," Tittle wrote in a presentence investigation report.
Other comments cited a need for probation so he could continue addressing psychological problems.
Bruns said his client faced problems like many Vietnam veterans after several tours of duty in Southeast Asia. At the time of the incident, Tittle was dealing with the prospect of lung cancer and possible prostate cancer and medicating himself with cocaine, methamphetamine and crack cocaine.
During 74 days in the Mercer County Jail, Tittle had a chance to consider his past, present and future. He reportedly came to the conclusion that being caught was a good thing, Bruns said,
"I apologize for whatever problems I caused," Tittle added. "I am doing better and will seek more professional help."
Friends and family supported Tittle's claim, confirming he has come a long way since bond modification Dec. 13 that led to his release from the Mercer County Jail on electronic-monitored house arrest.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox reminded the court Tittle had guns while under court order not to have them and there was a serious amount of drugs involved rather than a minimal amount of marijuana.
Judge Jeffrey Ingraham admitted that Tittle's state of mind at the time of the offenses apparently caused him to revert to old ways. He recited a list of past offenses dating back to 1969, including armed robbery, cocaine possession, burglary, various theft and drug charges and public intoxication.
"The amount of drugs involved causes concern for the safety of the public," Ingraham added. "Had you not attempted to turn your life around, I assure you the prison sentence would have been much greater."
As part of a negotiated agreement, the state dismissed three additional drug charges, all fifth-degree felonies, in exchange for a plea.