Missed court date is worth a ticket to jail

A northern Ohio woman who missed her January sentencing on a theft case pleaded guilty Thursday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to failing to appear and was sentenced immediately on both that and the initial theft charge.

Terra Hooper, aka Terra Parrish, 34, of 7703 Ivandale Road, Parma, was sentenced to 180 days in the Washington County Jail-90 for the theft and 90 for the failure to appear.

Hooper pleaded guilty Nov. 12 to a fourth-degree felony count of theft for plotting with co-defendant Arthur Thornton to steal from the Dunham Township man whom Hooper had been living with at the time and making the crime look like a forced break-in.

“They broke into this house and took blank checks and stuff,” said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.

Some of the stolen items were never returned, he said.

Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth ordered restitution Thursday, saying Hooper and Thornton would be jointly responsible for the $217.89.

Hooper was originally scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 10 on the fourth-degree felony theft charge, but asked for an extension, according to her attorney Nancy Brum.

“We had already moved it once because she called me and did not have a ride. So the court did grant her once continuance,” said Brum.

Hooper then skipped the rescheduled sentencing without notice the following week, resulting in the fourth-degree felony failure to appear charge, said Rings.

Hooper said she missed the rescheduled Jan. 16 sentenc

ing because she was wrapped up in family problems in northern Ohio.

“I was dealing with family issues in Cleveland. I didn’t call to see when the new date was and that was my fault,” she admitted.

Hooper also asked that she be allowed to serve her second 90 days on weekends so she could continue to deal with those ongoing family problems.

“She looks after a mentally ill family member,” said Brum.

But Burnworth said he felt the already agreed upon disposition, which called for a continual 180-day jail sentence, was fair. Furthermore, that long of a sentence divided by weekends would be impractical, he said.

“Weekends for 90 days would be about 30 or 40 weekends,” he said.

Burnworth also sentenced Hooper to a year of community control and gave her credit for 76 days served. If Hooper violates community control, she faces three years in prison, he said.