A Dayton teenager will serve several years in prison for what a judge described as bizarre actions that came “out of the blue” and resulted in his first conviction.
Meanwhile, the wife of the off-duty police officer who wounded Charles Vincent Ashford as he tried to flee a Miamisburg armed robbery he committed said the teen is being given “a second chance at life.”
Ashford was 17 with no criminal record when the armed robbery occurred Feb. 5, 2018, at the busy Ohio 725/Interstate 75 interchange near the Dayton Mall. He was tried as an adult and pleaded guilty to all charges.
He faced anywhere from nine to 116.5 years, a judge said earlier. Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Barbara Gorman on Wednesday gave him 10 years minus time served.
Ashford has been in juvenile detention for more than 570 days, so he effectively was given about eight years in prison, court officials said. Prosecutors earlier said they were unwilling to agree to a deal that would sentence Ashford to any less than 20 years.
Ashford pleaded guilty last month to all charges he was indicted on in July 2018: 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.
Ashford’s actions, authorities said, included toting a gun from a Byers Road Shell station that he had just robbed and seeking to flee by carjacking motorists.
Several public safety crews – including a Drug Enforcement Administration agent – swarmed the area, and Ashford identified himself as an FBI agent, inviting more chaos.
Off-duty Miami Twp. Police Officer James Swearingen wounded Ashford in the arm, taking actions for which he was given a statewide award from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
“The whole situation is perplexing. You have absolutely no record whatsoever,” Gorman told Ashford, a Dunbar graduate. “You graduated school.”
Commonly, juveniles who are tried as adults have a criminal past, the judge said. Given Ashford’s history, Gorman called the crimes “so bizarre” that they appeared to come “out of the blue.”
Ashford told the court he wanted to “apologize for all the citizens who were affected by the event.”
One of those was Swearingen’s wife, who addressed Ashford on Wednesday.
Rebecca Swearingen, who said she works with students to avoid risky behavior, said “things could have gone much differently” for many people that day.
“I firmly believe that my husband was at that intersection for a divine (reason) that day,” she said. “Your mother could have lost a son and I could have been widowed. I thank God every day that neither of those occurred.
”Our family wants the very best for you,” she told Ashford. “We believe you’ve been given a second chance at life and don’t want you to squander it. ….I believe you need to accept the natural consequences of your actions by doing time. However, you have the opportunities to better yourself in the process.”
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