Athens resident pleas no contest

An Athens man charged with six counts after kidnapping his ex-girlfriend pleaded no contest as part of an agreement with the Athens County Prosecutor’s office.

Craig Cooper, 44, changed his plea from not guilty to no contest Monday to one count of aggravated burglary, one count of grand theft and two counts of kidnapping. As part of the agreement, Cooper’s charges of burglary and abduction were dismissed. A plea of no contest results in the defendant being found guilty.

The charges stemmed from an incident May 5, 2010. Cooper forced his way into his ex-girlfriend’s residence and took her from the house against her will. He then drove away with the victim in her car. He later used her as a shield during a standoff with police, according to court documents.

As part of the agreement, Cooper could spend a maximum of 31 years and six months in prison and a maximum fine of $65,000,
of which none is mandatory.

The suggested sentence is six years in prison and five years probation. He will also have no contact with the victim for nine years. Cooper will be given credit for the 15 months he has already spent in jail.

On June 17, 2010, the defense filed to see if Cooper was competent enough to stand trial. After being evaluated, the state decided he was able to stand trial and could not enter a plea of not guilty for reason of insanity.

Cooper could have spent up to 44 years and six months in prison and pay up to $85,000, if convicted at a trial,according to the Ohio Revised Code.

Cooper’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May 20 at 8:45 a.m.


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