about 17 hours ago
By TODD HELBERG
A Defiance woman who initially faced four charges following a family-related incident involving a knife was sentenced to community control Wednesday morning in Defiance County Common Pleas court.
Mary Emerson, 57, 904 Karnes Ave., was placed on community control by Judge Joseph Schmenk on a charge of felonious assault, a second-degree felony, and given 90 days in the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, rural Stryker. He also reserved a six-year prison term if Emerson violates terms of community control and ordered that she inform her supervising officer about any medication she obtains within one business day.
The maximum prison term for felonious assault is eight years.
Defiance County Prosecutor Morris Murray had recommended a four-year prison term for Emerson, who had entered an Alford guilty plea — maintaining the defendant's innocence but given in his or her "best interests" — on March 16.
Additional charges of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony; retaliation, a third-degree felony; and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony, were dismissed.
A grand jury indictment had alleged that Emerson threatened her then daughter-in-law, Jackie, at the home of her son, Mitch, 15810 Ohio 18, Sherwood, on Nov. 23, 2008. Authorities allege that she caused minor injuries to Jackie with a folding knife which she and her daughter, Karen, allegedly tried to discard.
The incident arose after sheriff's deputies charged Mitch with domestic violence against his son earlier that day.
According to sheriff's officials, Mary Emerson went to the sheriff's office following Mitch's arrest to find out what had happened. And, she was also told not to go out to the Mitch and Jackie Emerson residence.
During Wednesday's hearing, Emerson's attorney, Steven Archer of Defiance, initially explained a number of mitigating circumstances on his client's behalf.
These included her lack of a prior record and Jackie Emerson's superficial wounds which he described as "not tremendously serious." Archer also noted that the victim indicated a struggle had occurred with the defendant and suggested that any cuts "may have been accidental," although he added that "the knife should not have been introduced" in the situation.
He also said Mary Emerson had been taking anti-depressant medication that could have had side effects causing her to become aggressive. And, he said "the history of the relationship may have colored what transpired here."
Asked to make a statement, the defendant thanked family and friends for supporting her as well as church members who posted her bond. Too, Mary Emerson said "I've learned many lessons" and "I am genuinely sorry for what happened."
However, Schmenk noted that "somewhere along the line you seemed to have acquired the idea that you did nothing wrong, you're the victim and everyone else is at fault."
Following these remarks, family members came to Mary Emerson's defense.
Her sister — Susie Geiger — told Schmenk that the defendant "doesn't have a fighting bone in her body."
Schmenk asked if Geiger had read Emerson's statement indicating that she wanted to harm Jackie Emerson. The judge said "she's here because she acted on her beliefs."
"I don't believe that for a second," answered the sister.
When Mary's brother, Jon Davis, asked, "Who's to say the other person didn't start the confrontation?" Schmenk said this one (Mary) "drove across town with a knife in her pocket."
Geiger later protested that Mary only went to Jackie's house to see if the boy involved in the domestic violence charge was hurt.
But Schmenk countered that Mary "acknowledged that she knew" that the knife was in a jacket she was wearing.
While family members believe Jackie Emerson helped spark the confrontation, Prosecutor Morris Murray — who had recommended a four-year prison term — said that "even if (she) is the worst person in the world, she doesn't deserve to be confronted with a knife."
According to Murray, Mary acted "out of anger and passion and had revenge on her mind." He said Jackie was "scared to death" and described the weapon as a "large, dangerous knife with a lock blade."
Shortly thereafter, Archer said he had only been pointing out that there were "other factors" involved in the incident and called it "an aberration in her life." Too, he said Mary takes care of her diabetic husband, her daughter and grandchildren.
Still, Schmenk said he was looking for a reason not to send Mary to prison, adding that "the problem is she doesn't think she did anything wrong."
That prompted Mary to say, "I know I screwed up big time and I take full responsibility for what happened. I am sorry and it will never happen again."
If she does, Schmenk noted that a six-year prison term would be imposed. Unlike a four-year term that allows judicial release after six months, a six-year term carries this provision only after five years is served, according to Schmenk.
Charges against Karen Emerson remain pending.
She was indicted by a county grand jury in April on charges of tampering with evidence and obstructing justice, each a third-degree felony.
Her cases are scheduled for a jury trial on Aug. 11.