July 25, 2016

Partly cloudy

Teen gets 15 years in prison for spree of violence

MEDINA — A 19-year-old Brunswick Hills Township man will spend 15 years in prison for drug, assault and kidnapping charges in three separate felony cases in Medina County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Christopher J. Collier on Monday sentenced Brandon M. Ward, of 4086 Boston Road, Lot 19. He said prison time was necessary because Ward was a real danger to the public.

Brandon M. Ward, right, 19, of Brunswick Hills Township, is sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for his part in an attack on a Chippewa Lake woman and her teenage son in December as well as charges of robbery and drug trafficking. Also pictured, Medina County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury, left, and Ward’s attorney, Bob Campbell, center. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY NICK GLUNT)

Ward was charged with aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony; felonious assault and robbery, second-degree felonies; and unlawful possession of a dangerous ordnance and marijuana trafficking, fifth-degree felonies.

Taken together, the five charges carried a maximum penalty of up to 29 years in prison.

Ward was accused of selling marijuana, attempting to rob a store in Brunswick, and breaking into a Chippewa Lake home and attacking the occupants in separate incidents, according to court records.

“I’d like to say that I know what I did was wrong,” Ward told the court. “Drugs play a big part in my life and I’m ready to change that.”

The most serious offenses came from the Chippewa Lake incident, in which Ward was accused of throwing bricks through the house’s window in December, beating the woman inside with a baseball bat and tossing gas on her 14-year-old son.

“This is exactly the kind of violence the law prohibits,” the judge said in court.

Ward was joined by Shane Wuensch, Jason Donelon and another, unidentified man, according to court records. Wuensch has a trial scheduled Aug. 7 and Donelon will be sentenced Aug. 22 after pleading guilty July 8.

County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury told the judge Ward was uncooperative during the investigation and refused to name the fourth person involved.
Salisbury asked that Ward be sentenced to 17 years in prison.

The judge asked whether the victims were present, and the woman who was attacked, Sharon Schuessler, said she wanted to speak.

“What you have done to me and my family has made it hard to trust people,” she said.

She said her 5-year-old son was at the house during the attack, and now she has to tell him, “there are no bad guys” around their home.

“You want to fix your life, but I can’t fix the damage you’ve done to mine and my family’s,” Schuessler said. “You need to pay for what you’ve done.”

Ward was represented in his three cases by attorneys Bob Campbell and Michael Conway.

Campbell told the judge it was found that Ward wasn’t the one wielding gasoline or the baseball bat.

“Certainly that doesn’t mean he was not guilty or complicit,” Campbell said.

Ward pleaded guilty to the offenses May 28.

Also in court

• A 20-year-old Florida man pleaded not guilty Monday to raping two people.

Ivan L. Ray IV, of Freeport, shook his head in court while the judge read a March 27 indictment charging him with two counts of rape, first-degree felonies punishable by up to 11 years in prison each.

The indictment accuses Ray of raping a 15-year-old on Dec. 12, 2011, and a 17-year-old in February 2012.

Collier scheduled Ray for a Sept. 23 trial.

Ray is being held at the county jail on $100,000 bond.

• A 40-year-old Burbank man who’s been found incompetent to stand trial twice since 1996 pleaded not guilty to having a stolen GMC Safari last month.

Collier ordered Eugene A. Riffle to undergo a psychological evaluation to see whether he is competent for trial, which is scheduled for Sept. 16.

Riffle is charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 1½ years in prison.

This is Riffle’s ninth felony case in two decades in Medina and Wayne county courts — including vehicle theft, receiving stolen motor vehicles, aggravated vehicular assault, unauthorized use of motor vehicles, breaking and entering and stealing checks.

In a 2011 Medina County case, he was sent to Akron’s Haven of Rest Ministries, a rehabilitation center, after he successfully pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

The assistant prosecutor, Salisbury, said Riffle was found incompetent in another case, too.

Riffle is at the county jail, held on $10,000 bond.

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

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.