LISBON - The Akron man who fled from Leetonia police was sentenced to a year in prison Thursday in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court for receiving stolen property and escape.
Albert Bell, 19, initially was found in a stolen vehicle with a woman at the Coke Ovens on Cherry Valley Road. He would later slip out of handcuffs and run from the booking room of the Leetonia police department. A week later he was taken into custody by the county sheriff's department.
Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble pointed out to Judge Scott Washam that Bell appears to have an extensive criminal record for someone of his age, although most have been property crimes such as theft and failure to appear. He also reportedly has a current warrant for additional offenses in another county.
Bell's public defender, Richard Hura, said Bell's presentence investigation reveals a troubled youth, whose mother died when he was 5 years old and he was sexually abused by family before living the remainder of his childhood in various foster homes.
"My client has found himself on the wrong side of the law at a very young age," Hura admitted. "None of them were violent crimes."
Hura also said Bell has been homeless, which may have contributed to him failing to appear for hearings when he was unable to locate transportation.
Washam, however, pointed out Bell was adept enough of a criminal to slip out of handcuffs and the woman Bell had been found with had reported Bell could grind his own keys to break into vehicles.
Washam said while he was understanding of Bell's background he does not believe that excuses his action, which show criminal intent. He sentenced Bell to 10 months on the receiving stolen property charge for the car and 12 months for the escape, but allowed the charges to run concurrently. Bell will receive credit for 198 days he has already served.
"I'm sorry for what I have done," Bell said following sentencing. "I could be a better person."