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The Daily



09-05-03: Couple enters guilty plea


A Fort Wayne, Ind., couple pleaded guilty Thursday morning in Mercer County Common Pleas Court to multiple charges stemming from a pair of aggravated robberies at CVS Pharmacy.
Sentencing for Steven R. Mayer, 32, and his 28-year-old wife, Amber M., will take place at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 29.
He entered guilty pleas to two counts of aggravated robbery and two counts of possession of drugs, all first-degree felonies, and two counts of theft, both third-degree felonies. The possession charges carry major drug offender specifications due to the number of OxyContin tablets taken from CVS on Nov. 21, 2002, and July 11 of this year.
As part of extensive plea negotiations, the state agreed to drop 10 other charges in the 16-count indictment. They included four counts of theft and six counts of possession, ranging from first- to third-degree felonies.
Steven Mayer said little during the proceeding except to answer “Yes sir” to a litany of questions from Judge Jeffrey Ingraham regarding the pleas and the constitutional rights he was waiving.
He faces a mandatory 20 years in prison and a mandatory $20,000 fine due to the major drug offender specification. The maximum sentence on the other charges includes an additional 50 years in prison, additional fines of $80,000 and a five-year operator’s license suspension.
Amber Mayer spoke in a barely audible voice as she pleaded guilty to two counts of complicity to commit aggravated robbery, both first-degree felonies. The state dropped seven other complicity charges contained in the nine-count indictment during plea negotiations.
The maximum sentence in her case is 20 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox outlined details of the case, noting Steven Mayer entered the 1020 N. Main St. business and proceeded to the pharmacy counter. He brandished a silver handgun and ordered the pharmacist to place all the OxyContin stock in a white plastic bag. He left with more than 1,000 tablets. The same scenario occurred on July 11 when he deprived the store of more than 2,300 tablets of the painkiller.
A 1995 Subaru, with Amber Mayer at the wheel, was stopped a short time later on U.S. 127, north of Celina. Law enforcement officers searched the vehicle and located her husband hiding beneath a blanket in the backseat. She also admitted to driving the getaway car on Nov. 21 during subsequent questioning, according to Fox.
The Mayers initially entered not guilty pleas during July 16 arraignments. Negotiations continued during several pretrial hearings with an agreement looming late Wednesday afternoon. Ingraham continued the matter to Thursday, when Fox and defense attorneys David William Bruns and Peter VanArdsel worked out the final details.
The couple, who remain incarcerated at the Mercer County Jail on $250,000 cash bonds, only see each other while being escorted to and from jail for scheduled court appearances and in the courtroom prior to proceedings. Any other communication is through mailed letters.
Steven Mayer took advantage of an opportunity to shuffle across the courtroom aisle and sit beside his wife while attorneys conferred behind the scenes. Uniformed deputies watched as he leaned toward her and spoke in hushed tones. Shackled at the wrists and ankles, they never touched. Such visits likely will come to an end after Sept. 29, with their expected sentences to be served at different correction facilities.
Authorities believe the couple could be involved in similar crimes involving OxyContin in the Indiana communities of Kokomo, Plymouth, Berne, Decatur and Marion, according to Celina Police Chief Dave Slusser. Police in the Ohio communities of Findlay, Fort Shawnee and Van Wert also are looking into similarities involving unsolved cases in their jurisdictions. Slusser is not aware of any additional charges being filed elsewhere at this point.


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