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Man sentenced, gets break for bad choices

LISBON — Calling it his “first bad decision” but the last one he has to deal with, Tavares J. Bell was sentenced to nine months incarceration for two counts of illegal conveyance of a drug of abuse onto grounds of a detention facility.

Bell, 40, Willowick, had prepared a long speech for visiting Judge John G. Haas, filling in for Common Pleas Court Judge Megan Bickerton.

“I am not a criminal nor am I not a bad person,” he said.

Bell said in the end of 2017 and beginning of 2018, he made bad choices that will now affect him for the rest of his life. For the past 23 months he has been paying for three bad decisions in his life and he has selfishly not considered at the time he made these decisions how they would affect his children. He said he has missed one of them becoming a teenager, missed dozens of birthdays for his younger sons and has a child he has not seen yet because of incarceration.

“I sincerely regret the poor choices I have made that have put me in this position,” Bell said, adding before he went to prison he started making the changes he needed to make in his life better and put himself in a better position “mentally, spiritually and emotionally.”

Even though he knows life will be harder with a felony criminal record, Bell told Haas he will not be discouraged as he tries to be a better man in the future.

Haas pointed out Bell’s statement was well written, but questioned things reflected in Bell’s criminal record going back as far as 2001 and his dedication to children when he has a lot of child support arrearage owed, including some which stems from before he was incarcerated.

Still Haas went along with the plea agreement recommendations being made by Bell’s defense attorney Paul Conn and Assistant County Prosecutor Chris Weeda filling in for Assistant County Prosecutor Steven Yacovone to give Bell nine months incarceration with credit for 152 days served and a forfeiture of $135.

Weeda moved to for the dismissal of charges of three counts of possession of drugs. The two charges Bell was convicted of were for bringing cocaine and fentanyl into the county jail on Aug. 31, 2017.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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