July 29, 2014

Medina
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Driver gets a break on 7th OVI conviction

MEDINA — A Brunswick man will spend four months in the Medina County Jail for his seventh conviction for driving while intoxicated.

Edward J. Durdella, 40, of 3905 Turnbridge Court, Apt. 237, was sentenced by county Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler on Thursday. Durdella was convicted last month.

Edward Durdella

Kimbler said he was being lenient. Driving while intoxicated is a fourth-degree felony, punishable by up to a year and a half behind bars.

“Very few people in your position, Mr. Durdella, get 120 days in jail and no prison,” the judge said.

Durdella said he regretted his actions.

“I’m just glad no one got hurt in the situation,” he said. “Now I’m just trying to get my life back on track.”

Durdella’s attorney, Stephen McGowan, told Kimbler that Durdella had a serious alcohol problem, but hasn’t had a drink since December.

“This is the longest he’s gone without alcohol in his (adult) life,” McGowan said.

McGowan told the judge that Durdella’s father was an alcoholic who drunkenly beat him and Durdella started drinking at age 15 as a result.

He said Durdella stopped drinking around Christmas because he realized it was damaging his relationships with his family.

“I hope Eddie continues down this path,” McGowan said.

The judge hoped so, too.

“Quite frankly, I was planning on putting you in prison,” Kimbler told him, “but Mr. McGowan brought up some good points.”

Kimbler said after Durdella is released from jail, he’ll be on probation for three years. If he violates probation, he said he’ll send Durdella to prison for 2½ years.

In addition, Durdella will undergo drug and alcohol treatment and will have his license suspended without work privileges for three years.

Also of note in court Thursday:

Roger McMaster

• Roger W. McMaster, 39, of 545 W. Friendship St., Medina, was sentenced to a year in prison on a charge of failure to register as a sex offender, a third-degree felony. He had 114 days of jail credit.

McMaster was labeled a sexual predator in 2002 after he pleaded no contest to a count of rape, a first-degree felony.

At McMaster’s 2002 sentencing, county Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury said McMaster raped a 6-year-old girl several times over seven months. He was 28 years old at the time.

In Thursday’s case, McMaster originally was charged with failing to notify a change of address, a first-degree felony, but it was reduced as part of a plea bargain.

He pleaded no contest to the amended charge last month.

McMaster apologized for the “inconvenience” and explained he failed to notify the Sheriff’s Office when he moved in with his Lodi fiancee, who also is a felon.

Nathan McConnell

• Nathaniel D. McConnell, 47, of 854 Chad Court, Brunswick, was asked to return next week when his attorney did not show up in court.

McConnell was charged with improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle, a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in prison.

He’s accused of having a semi-automatic handgun and a pump-action shotgun in a vehicle on May 11 with a blood-alcohol level greater than the Ohio legal limit of 0.08, according to Hinckley Township Police reports.

McConnell told the judge his attorney advised him to plead not guilty, but Kimbler didn’t accept the plea.

“Call your attorney and tell him I don’t accept pleas from people whose attorneys aren’t present,” Kimbler said. “You’ll have to come back next week.”

Kimbler said he didn’t think McConnell would understand the legal terms used during arraignment proceedings without an attorney there to translate.

“Your attorney could have avoided this with a simple phone call,” Kimbler said.

Randy Atkinson

• Randy T. Atkinson, 21, of West Salem, didn’t show up for his arraignment hearing, so the judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

Atkinson is charged with breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in prison.

He’s accused of breaking into 226 Wooster St., Lodi, on Dec. 21. To report Atkinson’s whereabouts, call the Sheriff’s Office at (330) 725-6631.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.