Hebron man gets probation for abduction
Columbus firefighter held daughter's fiancé at gunpoint in August '08
BY JESSIE BALMERT • Advocate Reporter • September 24, 2009
NEWARK — A Columbus firefighter from Hebron was sentenced to a maximum of five years of community control Wednesday morning after pleading guilty to driving his stepdaughter's fiancé around town at gunpoint.
Mark E. Humphrey, 53, last known address 7589 Lancaster Road, Hebron, pleaded guilty to one count each of abduction, a third-degree felony; improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony; and domestic violence, a first-degree misdemeanor. A three-year firearm specification was dismissed.
Licking County Common Pleas Judge Jon Spahr also required Humphrey to complete a mental health program, surrender all firearms and have no contact with his stepdaughter's fiancé. The maximum sentence Humphrey could have faced for the charges was six years and six months in prison for the felony charges served consecutively and six months in jail for the domestic violence charge.
Licking County Assistant Prosecutor Dan Huston recommended community control because that was the suggestion of law enforcement and the victims. Humphrey had no previous felony offenses.
"My concern, your honor, is the character that Mark presented on Aug. 20 is not who Mark is," said George Luther, Humphrey's attorney.
Humphrey takes medication for migraines, depression and ADD, and he had a migraine on the night of the offense, Luther added.
On Aug. 20, 2008, Humphrey found his stepdaughter's fiancé in his home, awakened his wife with screams and threatened her, his stepdaughter and her fiancé with a loaded .45-caliber handgun, according to court documents.
Humphrey followed his wife and stepdaughter into the bedroom, where he backhanded the stepdaughter, causing injury, court documents said.
When the fiancé left the house, Humphrey pursued him and threatened to burn down the home with the people inside, court documents said.
He then caught the fiancé and told him to get into his pickup truck, in which he was keeping a handgun, according to court documents. Humphrey and the man, whom he was holding at gunpoint, drove around until Humphrey was arrested by Hebron police, according to court documents.
"The night was a snowball of hysteria and confusion that resulted in many poor choices," Luther said.
Humphrey, who has served as a Columbus firefighter for 21 years, said he has been a law-abiding citizen for most of his life and would like to return to being a productive resident of Licking County. Several family members rely on Humphrey's salary and health insurance to treat their illnesses, including his stepdaughter's child, who was born with birth defects, Luther said.
"He is so remorseful for that," Luther said. "I just don't see that type of action repeating itself."
Several Columbus firefighters, along with his family, were in attendance to support Humphrey, who resupplies the tool room for the fire department, Luther said. Humphrey's job as a firefighter is in jeopardy because of the conviction, Luther said.
Jessie Balmert can be reached at (740) 328-8548 or firstname.lastname@example.org.