LOGAN — A Laurelville man whose criminal trial was the first to be held in Hocking County Common Pleas Court since February 2020 cut the proceedings short Thursday morning when he agreed to plead guilty to an amended indictment.
Kevin D. Conn, 63, had been facing charges of aggravated burglary with a gun specification, which is a first-degree felony, and domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor. His trial, which started with jury selection Wednesday morning and had gotten as far as opening arguments by the prosecution and defense attorneys by the end of the day, ended Thursday morning with Conn’s negotiated plea, in which he pled guilty to the burglary and domestic violence counts.
Conn is alleged to have illegally entered a dwelling on or about April 1-2, 2020 with purpose to commit a crime, and to have used a shotgun during the offense. The incident was apparently some sort of family dispute that turned violent.
According to county Prosecutor Ryan Black, Conn was accused of having entered the home of his son and daughter-in-law, after which violence ensued. “There had been a shotgun discharged inside the home,” Black said. “Mr. Conn had been detained by his son until the sheriff’s department arrived.”
As part of Thursday’s plea agreement the Hocking County prosecutor’s office agreed to drop the firearm specification, which carried with it an extra three years in prison, and to not pursue any charges against Conn for witness tampering or bribery in connection with the case.
In accordance with the state’s sentencing recommendation, Judge John T. Wallace sentenced Conn to four to six years in prison on the burglary charge, and 90 days in jail on the domestic violence charge. The sentences are to run concurrently, making the total incarceration term four to six years, minus the 331 days Conn has been in jail. He could have received up to 15-1/2 years on the charges, according to Wallace.
Though the gun specification was dropped, as part of the plea deal the shotgun used in the offense will be forfeited to the Hocking County Sheriff’s office.
One of the victims of the crime, Conn’s daughter-in-law Michelle Conn, made a tearful address to her father-in-law, attributing his crime to alcohol abuse and expressing hopes that he will seek help for this problem.
Speaking of herself and other family members who were victims in the crime, Michelle Conn told the defendant, “You really hurt us, and you put our lives in jeopardy. You tried to kill us, and you broke our hearts when you did what you did.” She went on to urge Kevin Conn to address his drinking and its effect on his behavior.
“I wish you could see what a violent drunk you are, and get some counseling and some help,” she told him. “I hope this will open your eyes, and make you see that you should never drink again… Every time you drink, something like this happens.” Fighting to control her emotions, she concluded: “We love you, and I hope this will get you the help you need.”
Kevin Conn had earlier told Judge Wallace that he has been treated for depression due in part to the loss of his wife and his having suffered a brain injury, and that while in jail he was taking prescription medication both for depression and to help him sleep.