Wednesday morning in 4th Judicial District Court, Judge John Fenn sentenced 25-year-old Robert J. Jones of Wichita, Kansas to 3 to 5 years in prison and ordered him to pay $495 in fines on two forgery charges.
His charges stem from an incident in November of 2011 when he was arrested for passing counterfeit $5 bills at businesses along Coffeen avenue in Sheridan. Sheridan County deputy prosecuting attorney Christopher LaRosa stated that this sentence was solely to punish Jones for what he did in this community and that Jones still faces multiple federal charges in Kansas. “He started counterfeiting money because it was easier than maintaining employment,” LaRosa said.
31-year-old Sheridan resident Lawrence Ekis was arraigned on two counts; felony strangulation and misdemeanor battery. He pleaded not guilty to both counts, and Judge Fenn set a pre-trial conferencing session for July 19 and a two-day trial for August 22. Defense attorney for Ekis, Ryan Healy, told Fenn that he is in the process of obtaining documents from the VA in Sheridan to aid in his decision of whether or not to change the plea to not guilty by reason of mental illness.
Jonathan Lobach, 20, of Sheridan was arraigned on one felony count and changed his plea on three others. Lobach entered a plea agreement with the state, that would have him plead guilty to the four felonies; burglary and three counts of wrongful taking or disposing of property. Three counts allege that Lobach broke into Kevin's Autos in Sheridan took keys, and stole two cars this past January.
The final wrongful possession charge alleges that Lobach was in possession of an HP laptop valued at approximately $2,500 that belonged to Auto Connections. The state said the charge for the laptop took place in December 2011 before the alleged burglary.
The tentative plea agreement would carry 4-6 years in prison on the burglary and two of the wrongful taking charges, to be served concurrently, and upon his release another 4-6 year sentence for the remaining charge, which would be suspended in lieu of 5 years probation. Fenn revoked Lobach's bond, remanded him back to Sheridan County Jail and set a sentencing date for July 3.