September 1, 2014

Medina
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Burglar to serve sentence next to victim

MEDINA — A 20-year-old Brunswick woman will spend three months on house arrest and three years on probation for stealing family heirlooms from a neighbor’s home.

Shannon Willoughby, of 1271 Old Eagle Drive, pleaded guilty May 30 to burglary, a fourth-degree felony, as part of a plea deal.

Shannon Willoughby

She originally was charged with second-degree burglary and theft, a fourth-degree felony, meaning she could have spent up to 9½ years in prison.

Willoughby was convicted of breaking into a neighbor’s house with two accomplices on March 23, 2011, and stealing jewelry, cash, a camera, an iPod, a portable DVD player and jeans.

The neighbor, Cherie Deberry, told the court she felt betrayed because they’d lived near each other for many years, and her daughter and Willoughby had been friends as children.

“I never thought it was her,” Deberry told Medina County Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler. “When I found out it was her, I was afraid to sleep in my own home.”

She called Willoughby a “ringleader” and a “bully.”

Kimbler asked Deberry how she thought Willoughby should be punished, and Deberry said she trusted his judgment.

“For someone I consider a friend, I just think that was a pretty crappy thing to do,” Deberry said.

Willoughby’s accomplices — William Ungor III, 23, and Christopher Zevchek, 20 — each spent six months at the county jail after pleading guilty last year in July and September, respectively. Both were convicted of burglary, a third-degree felony, and theft, a fifth-degree felony.

The judge sentenced Willoughby to house arrest instead so she could care for her child.

He warned her, though, that if she violates the terms of her house arrest or probation, she could face up to 1½ years in prison. In addition, she could face an additional three months of house arrest if the judge deems it necessary. She also was required to pay $500 restitution to Deberry for the stolen items, many of which never were recovered, according to reports.

Willoughby originally was charged with misdemeanor receiving stolen property, but while in jail Zevchek told police that Willoughby was involved, according to reports.

She was indicted in August 2011.

Also in court

Michael Thewes

• A 36-year-old Wadsworth man pleaded not guilty Thursday to six drug-related charges — and he already had five pending in court.

Michael J. Thewes Jr., of 124½ Pine St., now has 11 charges — three third-degree, five fourth-degree and three fifth-degree felonies. He is scheduled for an Aug. 12 trial.

He’s accused of trafficking marijuana, morphine, narcotics, psychedelics, stimulants and prescription anxiety medication.

If convicted, he could face up to 25½ years in prison and would have to forfeit $485 prosecutors say he earned from selling marijuana.

He has no previous record in county common pleas court and has been free on bond since June 17.

Cody Vanderwyst

• Judge Kimbler told a 19-year-old Wadsworth man accused of marijuana trafficking that he should dress more professionally in court if he wanted the judge to take him seriously.

Cody A. Vanderwyst — accused of third- and fourth-degree felonies — pleaded not guilty while dressed in jeans and a white tank top.

“Your attorney is going to have a hard time representing you if you dress that way,” Kimbler told the man, advising him to dress better at his trial, which is scheduled for Sept. 18. “Or don’t. Just know I’m the one passing judgment on you.”

If convicted, Vanderwyst could face up to 2½ years in prison.

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