Friday, October 17th, 2008
Teen pleads guilty in Fort Recovery vandalism
By Margie Wuebker
An area man appeared in Mercer County Common Pleas Court on Thursday morning to admit his guilt in connection with a senior prank gone bad at Fort Recovery High School - the last of three perpetrators to do so.
Robert J. Rammel, 18, 1781 state Route 49, pleaded guilty to amended charges of attempted breaking and entering and attempted vandalism, both first-degree misdemeanors.
Rammel, who reportedly has no prior criminal convictions, entered his plea as part of a negotiated agreement involving dismissal of two counts of vandalism as well as an additional count of breaking and entering. All the charges contained in the five-count indictment were fifth-degree felonies.
Judge Jeffrey Ingraham imposed a 90-day jail sentence and then suspended 80 days on the condition he commits no criminal offenses during the coming year. In the event he does, the suspended days could be reimposed. Rammel must report to the Mercer County Jail at 9 a.m. Oct. 24 to begin serving the 10 days on consecutive weekends.
In addition to a $1,000 fine, the sentence also mandates 100 hours of community service to be performed under the supervision of Fort Recovery Local Schools personnel and up to 12 months community control sanctions. Rammel also must pay his share of $930 in restitution.
Co-defendants Matthew G. Vagedes, 18, 2438 Philothea Road, Fort Recovery, and Joel B. Weitzel, 18, 2745 Kuhl Road, New Weston, received similar sentences during earlier proceedings.
Defense attorney Louis Schiavone called his client to the witness stand and Rammel apologized for his actions. He added the decisions made that night caused embarrassment to his family as well as the community he calls home.
The trio reportedly gained access to a crawl space beneath the high school science room on May 17 - a day before their commencement exercises. They deposited two dead geese near ventilation equipment as a prank. However, a hot water line was broken in the process causing the crawl space to flood.
Maintenance personnel discovered the damage while investigating a loss of hot water in that part of the building. School officials subsequently reviewed surveillance camera footage which reportedly captured images of the young men outside.
Clint Tobe, 18, 303 N. Elm St., Fort Recovery, was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing after investigators determined he had been on the school property but did not enter the crawl space like the others. He entered a no contest plea recently in Celina Municipal Court and was ordered to complete 40 hours of community service in addition to paying court costs.