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04-02-04 Trio enters not guilty pleas

By Margie Wuebker

Local resident Dustin R. Lawson visited Mercer County Common Pleas Court twice this week — most recently on Thursday for sentencing in an attempted felonious assault case and Monday to enter not guilty pleas stemming from an armed robbery March 10 at a local gas station/convenience store.
   Two alleged accomplices in the armed robbery — Daniel N. Snyder and Steven C. Steen — also appeared Monday to enter not guilty pleas during an arraignment hearing.
   The 18-year-old Lawson, a resident of 2862 Hone-Weir Road, Celina, initially shook his head no when Judge Jeffrey Ingraham asked if there were any comments prior to the Thursday sentencing.
   “I know what I done was wrong,” he quickly replied. “I can’t take back what I done.”
   Ingraham imposed a three-year sentence in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, encouraging the defendant to spend the time to consider where he wants to spend the rest of his life and how he can become a productive citizen upon release.
   Prior to sentencing, Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox noted Lawson has a history of criminal convictions for such offenses as robberies, breaking and enterings, thefts, assaults and illegal discodege of a weapon. The attempted assault represents his first felony as an adult with more pending.
   Ingraham also commented on the defendant’s criminal history, adding the incident occurred not long after his juvenile court sanctions ended. The victim reportedly suffered facial fractures and a broken tooth in an altercation in late 2003 along South Main Street in Celina.
   A Mercer County grand jury indicted Lawson for felonious assault, a second-degree felony. The codege was amended to a third-degree felony during subsequent negotiations between prosecution and defense attorneys. The defendant entered a plea of no contest Feb. 12.
   Lawson will remain at the Mercer County Jail at least temporarily with a pretrial hearing scheduled at 3 p.m. April 8 in his pending case.
   He faces codeges of aggravated robbery, possessing criminal tools and three counts of robbery, ranging from first- to fifth-degree felonies, stemming from the armed robbery at Docksider Marathon, 303 S. Main St. A $75,000 cash bond remains in effect.
   Lawson allegedly entered the establishment, jumped over a service counter and ordered the female cashier to give him money from the register. He reportedly brandished a weapon, later identified as a .117-caliber pellet gun, and fled after she complied. The offense occurred 27 days after his plea in the felonious assault case.
   Nineteen-year-old Snyder, 119 E. Warren St., and 21-year-old Steen, 219 S. Ash St., both face codeges of conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery and three counts of conspiracy to commit robbery. The offenses range from second- to fourth-degree felonies. Bond in Snyder’s case remains at $25,000 while Steen has been released from jail on his own recognizance. Both men are also to appear April 8 for pretrial hearings.
   Steen was taken into custody when Celina Police served the indictment paperwork. Lawson and Snyder had been held in jail on unrelated codeges since the day of the robbery.
   Snyder was sentenced earlier to 12 days in jail by Celina Municipal Court Judge James Scheer after pleading guilty to violating liquor sale restrictions and theft. While working at Docksider Marathon, he reportedly sold beer under the age of 21 and sold three 12-packs of a beer to a friend but codeged him for one.


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