A Hicksville man who destroyed a home in Defiance County’s Mark Township by ramming it with two vehicles, has been sent to prison.
Cody Bell, 27, pleaded guilty in Defiance County Common Pleas Court to burglary, a second-degree felony; grand theft of a motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony; vandalism, a third-degree felony; grand theft, a third-degree felony; two counts of having weapons while under disability, each a third-degree felony; aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony; and possession of cocaine, a fifth-degree felony. He was given a prison sentence of 8-12 years by Judge Joseph Schmenk.
(Under new state sentencing laws that went into effect in March, indeterminate sentences as above have been restored in Ohio for first- and second-degree felonies.)
Bell had been indicted on the above charges by a county grand jury in August, not long after he randomly destroyed the home of Frank and Mary Bailey at 08648 Scholl Road, northwest of Mark Center, on July 9.
The indictment alleged that he rammed his vehicle repeatedly into the home and outbuildings, trespassed in the residence and caused in excess of well over $150,000 damage, according to Defiance County Prosecutor Morris Murray. The Baileys were not home when the vandalism occurred.
Bell also allegedly stole a vehicle from another person (Jason Yoder), as well as a gun from the residence. He is prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a prior drug-related conviction (illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs in 2014).
Murray said Bell used Yoder’s vehicle, as well as a pickup at the Bailey residence, to ram the buildings on the property.
With both vehicles, he used a stick and the stolen shotgun to lock their accelerators in place before exiting them and directing them into a barn and the house, respectively.
Too, Bell was found in possession of methamphetamine and cocaine when he was located inside the residence by law enforcement in a semi-conscious state, according to Prosecutor Morris Murray.
“This is an example of how the ongoing abuse of methamphetamine, cocaine and other drugs can lead to people behaving bizarrely,” said Murray. “And it’s not an excuse, you don’t get a pass for it.”
During his long career as a prosecuting attorney that spans three decades, Murray said he’s never seen a criminal case with so much damage to a residence, short of a fire.
”It had a horrendous impact on these victims,” he said. “Their entire home was destroyed. ... “It’s my understanding the house has to be razed, it’s not repairable.”
Murray explained that Bell did not know the Baileys, and apparently picked the home randomly.
An attempt to contact Bell’s attorney — Jeff Horvath of Defiance — for comment was unsuccessful.