Medina County Courthouse

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Judge Kimbler Finds Rittman Man Guilty of Two Counts of Burglary

A non-jury trial that started on Monday, January 31 and concluded on Wednesday, February 2, 2010, resulted in Judge Kimbler finding Luke D. Rufener, 22, of Heritage Lane in Rittman, Ohio, guilty of twp counts of Burglary, both felonies of the third degree. At the start of the trial, Mr. Rufener entered a plea of no contest and was found guilty of one count of Burglary, a felony of the third degree. Mr. Rufener did not contest that he had committed the burglaries, the issue was whether two of the counts were second degree felonies or third degree felonies.

The difference in the degree of the burglaries depended on whether the State could establish that at the time Mr. Rufener committed the burglaries a person other than himself was "present or likely to be present" in the houses that he entered. A burglary committed while a person is present or likely to be present is a second degree felony. A burglary that is committed when no one other that the offender is present or likely to be present is a third degree felony.

The evidence offered by the State established that Mr. Rufener was deliberately picking houses of people that he knew attended the same church as his parents and himself. He knew that the people whose houses he broke into were likely to be at church during the times that he entered the houses.

Judge Kimbler found that he was not guilty of the second degree felonies, but was guilty of the third degree felonies, which were lesser included offenses of the second degree felonies. Following his announcement of the verdict, Judge Kimbler revoked Mr. Rufener's bond, ordered a pre-sentence investigation, and remanded him back to the Medina County Jail. Judge Kimbler will impose sentence on March 10, 2011 at 8:30 am.

No comments: