The Clark County Prosecutor’s Office said it was because of a victim’s mercy that Ernest McRobie won’t be heading to prison.
The 56-year-old Clark County man was sentenced on Wednesday morning for shooting a motorist who pulled in his driveway to look for his cellphone.
Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Brian Driscoll said during the sentencing that the victim asked the prosecutor’s office to go easy on McRobie.
“He didn’t believe that this individual needed to be punished more, but instead needed to be helped to ensure these types of activities or this type of criminal activity didn’t happen in the future,” Driscoll said.
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McRobie said he was sorry to the victim during the sentencing. He said he was drunk when the incident happened.
“I didn’t mean any harm. I apologize for that,” McRobie said.
His statement didn’t sit well with Clark County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard O’Neill, who was surprised that no one wanted to see McRobie behind bars.
“I know a lot of people over the years who have been under the influence and did not shoot at somebody,” O’Neill said.
McRobie was convicted last month. He faced two charges in Common Pleas Court relating to the shooting, but a felonious assault charge was dropped in a plea deal. He was sentenced for discharging a firearm on or near prohibited premises.
In September 2018, McRobie reportedly fired two rounds at a pickup truck driver who pulled into McRobie’s driveway on Springfield-Xenia Road to look for his cellphone in the vehicle. One round went through the victim’s passenger door and hit him in the right shoulder.
McRobie fired the shots at the victim while only about five feet away, deputies said at the time.
The victim suffered minor injuries. He was present at McRobie’s sentencing, but declined to comment when the hearing was over.
The victim did not make a statement at the sentencing, but asked the judge to consider a letter he had written to the court.
While looking over the letter, O’Neill said to McRobie, “You’ve been in a number of conversations in the last few months regarding this, and (the victim) has not met anyone who’s had anything bad to say about you.”
McRobie’s attorney, Joseph Juergens, asked the judge for leniency. He said McRobie was a contributing member of Clark County with a job. While he said McRobie is an alcoholic, he added he has a limited criminal background, with only an OVI charge in 2009.
Juergens said McRobie has been undergoing a treatment program at McKinley Hall for his alcohol abuse.
O’Neill sentenced McRobie to five years of community control. As part of that sentence, McRobie is not allowed to own a gun and he’ll have to give up the gun that was used in the shooting.
Alcohol also is out of the question.
“You will refrain from the use of alcohol and drugs. You’re not allowed in establishments that serve alcohol. You’re not allowed to have alcohol in your home,” O’Neill told McRobie.
Because of the victim’s compassion, McRobie will get out of jail for the first time since his arrest. McRobie also will have to pay more than $5,000 in restitution to the victim.