By Margie Wuebker
An 18-year-old Celina man showed no emotion Wednesday afternoon as he was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison and labeled a sexual predator.
Sniffles could be heard in Mercer County Common Pleas Court -- some from supporters of the 13-year-old victim and her family; others from relatives and friends of the perpetrator.
Brett W. Wyerick, 7936 Fleetfoot Road, was sentenced to eight years on a first-degree felony charge of aggravated burglary. He also received four years and 16 months, respectively, on less serious charges of abduction and attempted sexual battery, with the terms to be served consecutively. The Ohio Revised Code does not provide an opportunity for early release, given the sentence is more than 10 years.
"Brett recognizes he has a problem and deserves to be punished for what he did," defense attorney Dan Myers said. "The question is not if he is going to prison, but for how long."
Myers requested neither the maximum (161Ú2 years) nor the minimum sentence, but somewhere in the middle. He also asked that the time imposed be served concurrently. "Brett wants to get his GED and sexual counseling for his problem," the attorney added. "The time he has before release will be time well spent. He will be a better person and a beneficial member of whatever community he chooses to settle in."
The victim, an attractive teenager, and her parents described the events that unfolded the night of June 1 at their Fleetfoot Road home.
Everyone -- the parents as well as four daughters ranging in age from 3 to 13 -- were asleep when Wyerick gained entry by removing glass from a basement window. The use of tape or some other sticky substance prevented pieces from falling onto the floor.
Once inside, he removed his shoes and picked his way through the first floor and upstairs to the bedroom area where the girls slept.
The perpetrator, who was 17 at the time, dropped his boxer shorts and approached the sleeping teenager with knife in hand and ski mask hiding his face. He clamped a hand over her mouth so tightly that the pressure left a mustache-like trail of bruises across her upper lip and a cut inside. Muffled screams and the sound of wrestling awakened the mother, who went to investigate and screamed for her husband. He pinned the intruder to the bed and held him until authorities arrived.
"Brett has no idea how much fear, rage and anger he created in our home," the father said as Ingraham listened intently. "He obviously has shown very little remorse and that just shows how much of a cold-hearted monster he really is. Brett is a monster and monsters need to be locked up in a cage for the safety of the public."
The parents expressed outrage about not knowing of the young man's previous sex-related offenses.
Local court records indicate Wyerick had been adjudicated a delinquent child Aug. 15, 2002, in connection with a rape case. He was committed to the custody of the Ohio Department of Youth Services, but the commitment was later stayed in accordance with terms set forth by the court. The father alluded to another incident, but there was no local court record for that accusation.
"Had I known when he and his family moved into the neighborhood that Brett had raped and sexually abused two other young girls, I would have put my home up for sale," he said.
The teenage victim addressed the courtroom speaking softly. She talked about awakening suddenly and fighting back not knowing initially what was happening. She ran from the room as her mother confronted the masked intruder and herded her sisters to the bathroom. They remained huddled there behind the locked door until sheriff's deputies arrived.
The family continues to struggle in the aftermath. They have moved to a new home but emotional scars remain and so does the need for continued counseling.
"Our daughters all sleep together in one bedroom with my husband and me on a mattress on the floor outside their door," the mother said. "We have so many lights on; it's like daytime in the middle of the night."
Wyerick spoke briefly, turning to face the victim and her family. "I'm sorry for whatever I did and whatever I put you through."
He commented that the only good thing that has transpired during the ensuing 132 days is a better relationship with his parents.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox asked Ingraham to fashion a lengthy and significant sentence that would punish the offender and protect society.
"You hear about things like this on the news," Fox said. "You never imagine it could happen in Celina and Mercer County, but it did. We have every reason to believe the defendant will offend again. We ask that you show no mercy."
Ingraham gave the defendant credit for 132 days served in the Mercer County jail and ordered restitution totaling $416.80.
As a sexual predator, Wyerick will be required to register with the appropriate sheriff's office upon his release and every 90 days thereafter for life.
Plea negotiations reportedly began in late July after Mercer County Juvenile Court Judge Mary Pat Zitter ruled Wyerick should be tried as an adult. He waived his right to have the case presented to a grand jury and pleaded guilty to a bill of information.