Tyler J. Masteller

Tyler J. Masteller

LOGAN – A 29-year-old former Nelsonville man was placed on five years of community control probation Wednesday, after pleading guilty in Hocking County Common Pleas Court to reduced charges in connection with a November 2020 incident in which he threatened his girlfriend and her three small children with a loaded shotgun at the camper where they lived near Karnes Road.

As part of a plea bargain Tyler Masteller, who reportedly now lives in Lancaster, agreed to plead guilty to tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, and domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor. In exchange, the Hocking County Prosecutor’s Office agreed to dismiss two counts of kidnapping with a firearm specification, a first-degree felony, and one count of felonious assault with a firearm specification, a second-degree felony.

In addition to the term of probation, Judge John T. Wallace gave Masteller 180 days of jail, suspended, as well as an underlying 36-month prison sentence, which can be imposed if he violates his probation conditions.

The adult female victim in the case, though she did not attend Wednesday’s change of plea hearing, has expressed her opposition to the plea bargain. In a written statement from her that was read aloud in court, she stated that “Tyler has always been a dangerous person,” and that she still feels she and her children may be at risk from “his lunatic-like behavior.”

Both defense attorney Timothy Gleeson and Hocking County Assistant Prosecutor Justin Townley told the judge, however, that they were in favor of the plea bargain. Townley noted that he had been able to make contact with the victim only sporadically, and Gleeson suggested that “actions speak louder than words,” pointing out that the woman had maintained contact with Masteller after the shotgun incident.

The woman seemed to acknowledge this in her written statement, in which she said that at one point she had “stupidly wanted to help Tyler.”

Judge Wallace told Masteller that one condition of his probation is that he have absolutely no further contact of any kind with the woman. “No contact means no contact,” the judge warned – including no letters, no social media, and no phone calls.

Masteller assured the judge that he understands this, and expressed regret for the incident that landed him in court.

“I never wanted to hurt her,” he said. “I wanted to be a dad… I’m slowly trying to regain my life and rebuild everything I have lost. I didn’t want to hurt anybody. I never meant to.”

According to an incident report from the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, on Nov. 25 officers responded to a 911 call from Masteller’s 24-year-old girlfriend, who said Masteller was armed with a shotgun and would not allow her and her three young children, aged 3, 4 and 7, to leave the camper in which they were living.

One of the officers who arrived on scene arrested Masteller, at gunpoint. Officers allegedly found a 12-gauge shotgun, with a live round in it and cocked and ready to fire, partly hidden under some leaves at the scene.

The woman reportedly told officers that Masteller had fired the shotgun twice outside the camper, once toward Haydenville Road and once into the ground near her foot.

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