Charles Vincent Ashford of Dayton conferred with defense attorney Jeffrey Gramza (glasses) Wednesday, shortly before pleading guilty to all counts he was indicted involving a Feb. 5, 2018 armed robbery of a gas station in Miamisburg. Those charges included multiple aggravated robbery counts, firing on a police officer and impersonating an officer. MIKE CAMPBELL/STAFF

Prison term of Dayton teen in police shooting, armed robbery at issue

The guilty pleas by Charles Vincent Ashford on Wednesday avoid a trial that was scheduled for next week.

They also will help shave years off a sentence the 19-year-old would have faced, his attorney said, if found guilty at trial on all charges in the Feb. 5, 2018 incident at the Ohio 725/Interstate 75 interchange near the Dayton Mall that a judge said endangered hundreds of people.

Ashford, who was 17 at the time of charges and tried as an adult, faces anywhere from nine to 116.5 years in prison, a judge said. But defense attorney Jeffrey Gramza said his client, who had no prior record, will get a punishment of just above the minimum when Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Barbara Gorman renders Ashford’s penalty Aug. 30.

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“We got him a deal of 10 to 12 years on the record” with Gorman, Gramza said. “He could have gotten a much longer sentence had he gone to trial” and found guilty by a jury.

The sentence, Gramza said, will include time serve. Ashford has been held in juvenile detention since shortly after his arrest.

But the prosecutor’s office said Wednesday it is seeking a longer prison term.

“On behalf of the Miamisburg police department and the victims we are asking and we are unwilling to agree to any sentence less than 20 years,” it stated in an email.

Ashford initially pleaded not guilty to all charges, but later the plea was changed to not guilty by reason of insanity. After two evaluations, Gorman ruled Ashford sane and competent to stand trial, which was scheduled to start Monday.

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In verifying the guilty pleas, Judge Mary Katherine Huffman asked Ashford a series of questions, to which he either responded “yes, ma’am” or “no ma’am.”

He was indicted in July 2018 of charged with seven counts of aggravated robbery; one count of felonious assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer; discharge of a firearm on or near prohibited premises; and impersonating a peace officer, records show.

All of the charges accuse the teen of using a gun.

County Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi transferred the case to adult court last year after he said the charges for which Ashford was accused of created a situation in a heavy-traffic area where “there were potentially hundreds of people put at risk.”

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The robbery of the Shell station near the busy interchange of Ohio 725 and Interstate 75 set off a flurry of 911 calls and law enforcement activity as Ashford’s attempt to flee was thwarted.

Ashford was shot in the arm by an off-duty Miami Twp. police officer after the teen sought to carjack nearby drivers after the armed robbery of the Byers Road Shell station, according to court records.

Court records show Ashford fired a gun at police and claimed to be an undercover FBI agent. A grand jury cleared Officer James Swearingen of criminal charges and the Ohio Attorney General’s Office later recognized Swearingen’s actions by presenting him with the Distinguished Law Enforcement Valor Award.

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