NEWARK – A former Zanesville police officer was sentenced to three years of community control Friday morning after pleading guilty to a shooting incident in Newark.
Charles A. Lewis, 35, of Gnadenhütten pleaded guilty to counting each unloading of a firearm in prohibited premises, a third degree crime; improper use of a firearm in a motor vehicle, a fourth degree crime; and the use of guns while drunk, a first degree offense, in Licking County’s Common Pleas Court.
In February 2020, Licking County law enforcement responded to reports of someone who had fired a gun from a moving vehicle in Ohio 16 heading east near Marne Road in Newark. The suspect vehicle, a 2015 Ford Fusion, was in Muskingum County and stopped in the Kearns Drive area.
Co-defendant Jarred A. Miracle, 40, of Zanesville, a former Zanesville Police Sergeant, has been identified as a driver by the Licking County Sheriff’s Office. Lewis, who was on vacation as a police officer in Zanesville at the time, was identified as a passenger. Law enforcement determined that both Miracle and Lewis appeared to be under the influence of alcohol at the time.
Two defendants:Zanesville officer, former sergeant, charged in connection with the Newark shooting incident
The LCSO said they found two firearms in the vehicle, a Lewis AR-15 and a Miracle Glock 42,380.
In court on Friday, Licking County’s Assistant Attorney Cliff Murphy argued that the case warranted imprisonment.
“Your Honor, as noted in the motion to dismiss the one-year weapon specification in this particular case, the defense did nothing to prevent you from going to court accusing Jarred Miracle of shooting out the window, and planning to do it, take no responsibility for the actions, “Murphy said.
“This case is a total breach of trust by someone who was a police officer and wore the uniform, especially in this day and age when so many people wearing the same uniform are attacked by different groups for double standards and their approach.” I’m not applying, “said Murphy.
Murphy said witnesses who followed the vehicle reported gunshots coming from the passenger side of the vehicle. He also noted that at the time of his arrest, Lewis had no trouble asking the arresting officers why he couldn’t go home. The prosecutor argued that Lewis was not at the poisoning level, that he could not make decisions or explain his actions.
According to Murphy, Miracle is said to have asked at least four times why the arrest officers couldn’t just let her go.
The prosecutor also noted that the Licking County Sheriff’s office had recovered a snail from a stop sign in a residential area in Newark. He argued that Lewis’ position prevented him from being held at gunpoint because he was recognized as a law enforcement officer by a Muskingum County MP.
Former ZPD sergeant:Jarred A. Miracle pleads guilty in connection with the Newark shooting incident
“Your Honor, this is a prison case. He spent four days in the county jail. That’s it,” Murphy said. “This is the kind of case where … when people say, ‘why don’t you weed the bad apples?’, This is the kind of case that should be.”
Defense attorney Eric Brehm said his client was too drunk to remember exactly what happened during the incident. He added that while it was extremely reckless, he did not believe that neither Lewis nor Miracle intended to cause harm or injury.
According to Brehm, his client was good at bonding and was placed on an ankle monitor. He found that if his client were eligible to intervene in lieu of conviction, he would make an excellent candidate.
“He has lost a lot here. He has resigned his mandate as a police officer and will never be able to hold or participate in such employment in which he would work with firearms,” said Brehm, adding that his client since then has been able to get a job in the construction industry.
Brehm said her ultimate hope was that Judge Thomas Marcelain would not imprison Lewis. He argued that imprisonment would no longer protect the public and that his client was punished enough for having to make significant changes in his lifestyle.
Lewis declined to comment if he had the opportunity during the hearing.
Marcelain, prior to sentencing, stated that the plea agreement dismissed the only part of the indictment that required a prison term.
The judge said the law did not allow him to treat Lewis worse or better because of his position as a law enforcement officer during the time of the crime. He also noted that the court had examined previous similar cases and that not all of the defendants had been sent to jail.
Marcelain imposed three years of community control and reserved 18 months in prison in the event that Lewis violated his probation requirements.
In January, Miracle was sentenced to three years of community control after pleading guilty to taking a census of every mistake in a gun in a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree crime. and operating a vehicle under the influence of a first degree offense.