Pritt pleads out on four counts
EAST LIVERPOOL — The days behind bars continue to add up for a St. Clair Township man, who pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges Wednesday in East Liverpool Municipal Court.
Judge Melissa Byers-Emmerling sentenced Sherman Pritt Jr., 40, of 46283 Y&O Road to pay more than $900 in fines and costs plus 300 days in jail on three counts of violating a protection order and a single telecommunications harassment charge.
Pritt, who was wearing an orange jumpsuit when accompanied by his defense attorney Joe King and three sheriff’s deputies, repeatedly could be heard saying that this hearing was a “waste of time,” as he waited for the hearing, which convened late as both sides worked out the plea details.
With the plea agreement, Byers-Emmerling explained that no jury trial on any of the cases would take place as Pritt pleaded no contest to the charges, which included a threat to the dispatch center against a St. Clair Township officer and his cruiser.
The protection order had been obtained by Pritt’s ex-girlfriend, Stacey Dawson, who faces her own obstruction charges for allegedly hiding him in her home while he was considered a fugitive. Her preliminary hearing is set for Thursday in county Municipal Court, and she faces up to one year in prison and a $2,500 fine if convicted of the fifth-degree felony.
Assistant Prosecutor Katelyn Dickey and King were in attendance for the hearing to determine if the cases would be combined for jury trial or not, since they involved the same victim (Dawson) for the VPOs and St. Clair Township police, who were allegedly investigating the case.
If the plea bargain wouldn’t have been reached, Judge Byers-Emmerling stated that she would allow the cases to become combined for judicial economy; however, the agreement was now moot.
Pritt was fined $250 for the three VPO counts plus costs and 120 days in jail as well as an additional $250 fine plus costs and 180 days in jail for the threats against police.
His victim, Dawson was not present for Wednesday afternoon’s proceeding but had signed the plea agreement, according to Dickey.
Last week, Pritt was sentenced to nine months in prison on two counts of aggravated possession of drugs in connection with the Operation Big Oak. The East Liverpool court appearance doesn’t appear to be his last one in his recent future.
He will be back in Columbiana County Municipal Court Thursday. While incarcerated in the county jail, Pritt drew another 27 charges for violating a protection order for allegedly calling Dawson 27 times over a two-day span in August, urging her to drop the VPO on recorded county jail lines.
In addition, a DUI and trespassing case remains to be adjudicated in Hancock County, W.Va., after he is accused of following Dawson to Mountaineer and later failing to pass field sobriety tests during a traffic stop.
Byers-Emmerling reminded him during the proceeding that any further VPO or domestic violence charges can be elevated to felonies based on Wednesday’s convictions and set him to return Oct. 23, 2020 for his review hearing. He also is banned from owning or possessing firearms due to the nature of the conviction.