Thursday, November 16th, 2017
St. Marys man gets 18 years to life for rape, pandering
By Ed Gebert
WAPAKONETA - Dillon Jay Howell of St. Marys was sentenced in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday to 18 years to life in prison for rape, a first-degree felony, and pandering obscenity involving a minor, a second-degree felony.
Howell, 22, was given 10 years to life for the rape charge and eight years for the pandering obscenity charge. The two will be served consecutively. Judge Mark E. Spees said the severity of the sentence was warranted.
"To do anything less than this would seriously demean the seriousness of this series of offenses," he said.
Howell was arrested on March 28 at his place of employment in St. Marys and was indicted on 10 felony charges of rape of a juvenile who was younger than the age of 13 and two felony counts of pandering. The original charges stated that the incidents had taken place over a period of several weeks.
He accepted a plea agreement on Oct. 6, pleading guilty to the two charges. In exchange for his plea, the other charges were dismissed.
"I just wanted to apologize to everyone involved in this," Howell, who was wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit, told the court on Wednesday. "I just want to be able to prove that this was a one-time mistake and to be able to prove that this isn't me. This will never be me. I just want to be able to prove that I'm not just a horrible person, that this was just a mistake that I made I shouldn't have made."
Defense attorney Gerald Siesel argued for mercy, noting that Howell's parents divorced when he was 4 years old, and his father was an alcoholic and suffered from depression. Howell also reportedly suffers from depression.
"His periodic depression probably was a factor in his behavior," Siesel said.
He also mentioned that Howell has no significant criminal history.
Spees, however, said Howell did not appear to be truly sorry for his crimes.
"The presentence investigation disclosed that there has been very little remorse that you've shown beyond getting caught," he said. "You tended to project blame on the victim herself and projected blame on your life. You didn't take responsibility for what you've done on your own, other than perhaps the lip service you offered here today."
He noted that the effects of Howell's actions with the then 12-year-old girl will certainly be long-lasting.
"Having been a juvenile court judge for the last 23 or so years, I've seen the aftermath of this on children. It lasts way into their adulthood. This young lady is going to need some substantial help to get through the kind of damage you've caused," Spees said to Howell.
In addition to his prison sentence, Howell was declared a Tier 3 sex offender, meaning he must register with law enforcement every 90 days for the rest of his life. He also faces five years of post-release control after he serves his prison sentence and must pay court costs. He was given credit for 232 days already served in custody while awaiting the disposition of his case.