Prison time for violent crime

A Belpre man who choked his wife and threatened to take both of their lives was sentenced Tuesday in Washington County Common Pleas Court to 18 months in prison.

Everette L. Crites, 37, of 704 Mitchell Ave., Belpre, received the maximum penalty for the fourth-degree felony charge despite suggestions of a lighter sentence from both the prosecution and the defense in the case.

“The state is recommending a 15-month prison sentence,” said Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider.

Schneider cited Crites’ prior prison term and the fact that the crime was one of violence in asking for a prison term.

Crites assaulted his wife during an escalating argument in December.

The domestic violence charge was Crites’ fifth, Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Ed Lane later noted.

Crites’ defense attorney, Ray Smith, asked that his client be permitted to receive addiction treatment through the SEPTA Correctional Facility.

“Alcohol is clearly a problem with Mr. Crites,” said Smith.

When given the opportunity to go to SETPA after his domestic violence arrest in 2002, Crites turned it down. He asked to be sent to prison rather than trying to get a handle on the alcohol problem, said Smith.

However, Crites is now ready and willing to get treatment, said Smith.

Crites reiterated Smith’s point, apologizing for his actions and asking for help.

“I do want to quit drinking…I really would like to get help instead of thrown away and forgotten,” he said.

Lane pointed out that Crites currently has a warrant out for his arrest. According to a report from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Crites violated a protection order his estranged wife has against him by calling her. He also had pizzas delivered to her home and drove by as they were being delivered.

Additionally, his prior list of charges and the physical nature of the crime indicated that prison was the best option, said Lane.

Lane sentenced Crites to 18 months, gave him six days jail credit, and notified him of his right to appeal the decision. However, Crites indicated he had no plans to appeal.

Smith questioned whether Lane would consider an early judicial release.

“I always consider judicial release,” said Lane but went on to say that Crites would have to earn it.

“This gentleman really truly scares me,” he said. “I don’t want him hurting anybody on my time. He’s going to really have to convince me he wants to change.”