One year after being sentenced to serve nearly the maximum sentence for the theft of more than $100,000 from a cabin in Muskingum Township, a Coolville man was granted judicial release by Washington County Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane Wednesday afternoon.
Seth W. Smith, 22, of 43725 Carr Road, Coolville, will now reside in the Washington County Jail pending an opening in the SEPTA Correctional Facility, expected July 11.
After one year of confinement in the Belmont Correctional Facility, Smith promised he was a far different man from the one who committed the crimes.
Seth Smith, right, speaks with his attorney Nancy Brum, left, during a petition for judicial release in Judge Ed Lane’s courtroom Wednesday afternoon. Smith was released after serving one year of a four-year felony sentence for burglary.
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"In the year I've been incarcerated in Belmont I've gained a lot of respect (for the law). I've definitely learned my lesson," Smith told Lane.
Smith's attorney, Nancy Brum, and Assistant Washington County Prosecutor Ray Dugger both agreed.
Brum cited Smith's desire to provide for his wife and two young children as ample motivation for him to be a law abiding citizen.
About the case
In July 2010, Seth W. Smith, 22, of 43725 Carr Road Coolville, was charged with felony counts of theft after allegedly stealing more than $100,000 in cash, coins, bonds and precious metals from a Muskingum Township cabin.
Smith and a cousin were both charged. Smith was originally indicted on three felony counts that had a maximum possible penalty of 16 years confinement.
On April 1, 2011, Smith pleaded guilty to a third-degree felony count of burglary.
On May 11, 2011, Smith was sentenced to four years in prison on the charge by Washington County Common Pleas Judge Ed Lane. A third-degree felony carries a maximum possible sentence of five years confinement.
Wednesday afternoon, Smith appeared in Lane's courtroom for a hearing on a petition for judicial release. The release was granted, and Smith will be transferred from the Belmont Correctional Facility to the Washington County Jail, where he will await an opening in the SEPTA Correctional Facility in Nelsonville on July 11.
Source: Washington County Prosecutor's office.
"I think he's got a huge incentive," Brum said, holding a picture of Smith with his family.
Several members of Smith's family appeared in court Wednesday in his support, and asked permission from Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Jim Malone to hug the defendant before he was escorted to the county jail.
Each of the family members embraced Smith, who told Lane that he had a job working with an oil company waiting for him upon his release.
"He has some excellent family support and I think Seth will do just fine," Dugger said.
While the final three years of his sentence were suspended, Smith was ordered to complete the rehabilitation program at SEPTA. He also must provide full details of his whereabouts to law enforcement, including the location of each site where he will be working, Lane said.
"Sir, I expect 100 percent compliance with all these rules," Lane warned.
Smith was arrested along with his cousin, Gerald Quintin Smith, of 390 Kennedy Road, Cutler, after the pair allegedly stole $65,000 in $100 bills, $20,000 in $5 bills, $40,000 in $2 bills, $10,000 in $1 bills, $6,500 in miscellaneous cash and ten 100-ounce silver bars valued at approximately $25,000. A third relative in the case, a juvenile, was never identified by police.
Seth Smith pleaded guilty to a bill of information on April 1, 2011 after he and his two cousins were charged in connection with the theft.
Gerald Q. Smith is the son of Gerald Smith, who was sentenced Jan. 17 to life without the possibility of parole for the aggravated murder of Homer Rogers in June 2010.
Throughout the investigation, Seth Smith cooperated with the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Dugger said.
That, combined with his remorse, had Dugger in favor of the judicial release.
"I think this is reasonable. The young man has no prior criminal history," Dugger said. "He has acknowledged he has made a terrible mistake."
Despite the magnitude of the thefts, the victim in the case has never requested restitution, prosecutors said.
Smith will pay court costs, and said he fully intends to take advantage of the opportunity awarded to him with his release.
"I have two children and a house to take care of," Smith said.