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EP man gets extra month in jail for domestic violence

LISBON — An East Palestine man was sentenced to serve an additional month in jail for a domestic violence arrest from April of 2020.

Joseph O. Altenburg, 34, West Main Street, East Palestine, appeared for sentencing in Common Pleas Court for charges of domestic violence, obstructing official business and resisting arrest. The charges came from Altenburg punching his sister, Julie Ann Altenburg, in the head and running away before police arrived on April 18.

Altenburg and his sister both appeared before visiting Judge John G. Haas, who was filling in for Judge Megan Bickerton on Friday.

Haas said after reading Altenburg’s criminal record he was “struck by the number of times” Altenburg has been involved with the criminal justice system and until he read the negotiated agreement between the county prosecutor’s office and defense attorney Chris Amato, he was prepared to send Altenburg to prison.

Assistant County Prosecutor Christopher Weeda, filling in for Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones, recommended community control along with the sentence of 37 days in jail with credit for seven days already served. Amato explained that Altenburg understands what he did was wrong and has taken steps to remedy his drinking and gotten a full time job with a couple of promotions already.

“I just want to apologize,” Altenburg said. “I was drinking. It never should have happened.”

His sister also spoke before Haas stating she also knows what he did was wrong and alcohol use runs in the family. She said she hopes her brother gets the help he needs, but she does not believe prison time will help and possibly only make him worse if he loses everything. Altenburg also had his boss supporting him in the courtroom.

Haas went along with the agreement, but noted if he learns Altenburg breaks the law again during the three-year community control, the court reserves the right to send him to prison for 18 months, the maximum amount for the fourth-degree felony domestic violence charge.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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