GALLIPOLIS — A multiple felony offender who had his bond revoked earlier this year following his arrest on new charges will be headed to Southeastern Probation Treatment Alternative correctional facility in Nelsonville following a sentencing hearing in the Common Pleas Court of Gallia County on Tuesday.
Zachary K. Cox, 23, of Bidwell, pleaded guilty Monday to one count of theft and four counts of receiving stolen property in three separate cases and was sentenced Tuesday to 36 months of community control. He was further ordered to be evaluated by SEPTA and successfully complete the recommended treatment.
Following Tuesday’s hearing, Gallia County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Eric Mulford said SEPTA provides an alternative means of sentencing for eligible offenders who can learn to re-enter society as productive members of their community while moving those offenders out of the overcrowded county jail.
“SEPTA is a community-based correctional facility that houses male, non-violent felony offenders who meet certain admission criteria. The goal of SEPTA is to reintegrate the offender with society. The program is basically a step up from probation and county jail, but a step down from prison,” Mulford explained. “One of our goals with sentencing recommendations is to move prisoners from the county jail as soon as possible, as it is approved by the state to hold only 11 prisoners. Today, there were 60 prisoners in custody, including 35 in the jail, 14 in the work release center and 11 in out-of-county jails.”
Gallia County Prosecutor Jeff Adkins and fellow Gallia County Assistant Prosecutor Britt Wiseman also commented on this case Tuesday, speaking in a joint statement about their efforts to adhere to House Bill 86 while also punishing local offenders.
“We continue to look for alternative sentencing avenues to comply with the law under House Bill 86,” the statement reads. “We sincerely hope that the defendant takes advantage of the opportunity he has been given to rehabilitate himself. If the defendant chooses not to successfully complete the SEPTA program and three years community control, he will be sent to prison.”
Cox, who was originally indicted in common pleas court and charged with one count of theft and one count of receiving stolen property after he stole a 2006 flatbed trailer from the victim on Jan. 20, 2014, and was allegedly in the possession of a stolen 1999 trailer on Jan. 22, appeared for his initial arraignment hearing in February and was subsequently released on an own-recognizance bond.
While out on bond, the defendant was charged with an additional felony count of receiving stolen property after he was identified as the suspect who had cashed a stolen check at Ohio Valley Bank in the amount of $250 on April 9. In addition, the defendant was reportedly charged with several misdemeanor offenses by the Gallipolis Police Department after he was arrested for shoplifting at Aaron’s Rental in Gallipolis on April 22 and again on April 26 at the Rent-2-Own store and Tractor Supply.
Following these incidents, the state of Ohio, represented by Mulford, filed a motion to revoke the defendant’s bond through his felony common pleas case as the conditions of his own recognizance bond were that he have no violations of the law and no contact with law enforcement.
A hearing was subsequently held May 1 and the defendant’s bond was revoked and set at $25,000, 10 percent. However, bond was subsequently posted for the defendant’s release from the Gallia County Jail following the hearing.
A second indictment was filed against the defendant on May 15. This indictment outlines the charge of receiving stolen property from the incident on April 9, as well as an earlier charge of receiving stolen property from Jan. 22 when the defendant was reportedly in the possession of stolen personal checks.
Cox was again released following this arraignment hearing as bond in the amount of $30,000 had previously been been posted through the municipal court for his release from jail.
In a second motion filed late in May, the state of Ohio again requested the court to revoke the defendant’s bond after new charges of breaking and entering — from an incident that occurred May 25 — and receiving stolen property were filed against the defendant. In addition, the defendant had also reportedly been charged with an additional misdemeanor theft charge after he reportedly admitted to stealing a television from Walmart on May 26. Cox reportedly placed the stolen property in his truck and took it to West Virginia, where he traded the stolen TV for currency and narcotics.
This motion was later withdrawn by the state, however, after the defendant’s third indictment was filed with the court on June 12. This newest indictment outlines the charges of breaking and entering from May 25, after the defendant reportedly stole a generator belonging to the victim, as well as a receiving stolen property charge alleging that Cox was in the possession of several stolen firearms earlier this year.
During his final arraignment hearing in June, Cox’s bond was set at $300,000, 10 percent, and he has remained in the Gallia County Jail since that time.
Following the hearing on Tuesday, Cox was released into the custody of his parents for transportation to SEPTA.