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Heath sentenced in robbery case

WORTHINGTON -- Lotery Jonathan Heath, who pleaded guilty last month to aiding and abetting in a simple robbery, was sentenced Monday to 18 month in jail, a sentence that is stayed on several conditions.

Heath, accused of attacking and robbing a man who tried to get his bike back from him around midnight July 5, will be released from jail Monday as long as he reports directly to a chemical dependency treatment center and remains as an inpatient.

A fine of more than $700 will be dismissed as long as he stays sober for six months after his release, Judge Jeffrey Flynn stated.

Defense attorney Terry Vajgrt, stating the fine had been left up to the discretion of the court, asked the judge to be lenient.

"His financial means are limited," Vajgrt said. "He has been unemployed for a year."

Flynn asked Heath if he plans to stay sober, pointing out that most of Heath's troubles can be attributed to drugs and alcohol.

"Isn't that the reason you got out of the Marine Corps?" Flynn asked.

"Yes, sir," Heath responded. "I'm trying to go (to a treatment center) so I can get this out of the way and come back to society. As long as I stay out of trouble, I should be good to go."

Heath admitted that drugs and alcohol had caused him a lot of problems.

"I want to kick this habit," he said.

Another man arrested for his involvement in the robbery incident did not accept a plea agreement, deciding instead to take the case to trial in September on several felony charges. The jury found Clement Pierentino Wani guilty of aiding and abetting a simple robbery, attempted simple robbery, third-degree riot, fifth-degree assault and theft.

Wani's sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 1.

According to the criminal complaint and information from witnesses during the trial, Wani and Heath, along with another man, were involved in the altercation after the victim's bike was stolen. The bike, the witness testified, was his only transportation to work. He was at a friend's house when someone said his bike was being stolen from the front yard.

He confronted several people outside the house, and Wani and Heath said they would not give the bike back, pushing him to the ground, he stated. Then they began to hit and kick him, holding him down. A witness called authorities, and one police officer said the victim was covered in blood when he arrived at the scene.

The victim needed six stitches to repair a gash on his head and missed three days of work after the attack, he said.

Wani testified that he was walking home from a bar by himself when he saw a man lying on the ground and several others leaving the scene. He was just trying to help the victim, he said.

Heath, during his plea hearing, said he was walking home alone from a bar and met some people. He said he could not remember who he was with because he was extremely intoxicated at the time.

"I remember hitting some guy, walking away and going home to sleep," Heath said at the hearing. "Then I woke up and was getting arrested."

Heath used an Alford plea, which means he wasn't admitting guilt, but believed the prosecution had enough of a case that a jury would convict him after listening to testimony. He has two previous disorderly conduct convictions and had been off of probation for less than two weeks when he was arrested for the robbery.