MOUNT VERNON — A Mount Vernon man was sentenced to prison in Knox County Common Pleas Court Thursday for having sex with his girlfriend while she was unconscious and unable to consent in November.

Samuel Shaffer, 28, was convicted of gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony. The conviction carries a Tier I sex offender registration requirement for 15 years.

At Thursday’s sentencing, Public Defender John Pyle noted that Shaffer had been in jail for a substantial amount of time and asked for a community control sentence, citing that Shaffer is unlikely to commit similar offenses in the future.

Shaffer admitted he made a mistake, and said that the worst part about the situation was not “the jail time, the label, or the ostracization” but “losing a friendship.”

He said he was “deluded,” “got caught up” and did things he did not intend to do. He apologized and said he cannot change the past but wanted to move forward doing better.

Pyle noted that Shaffer does have a drug addiction that he wants to be treated for.

Judge Richard Wetzel said that he took the “long-range view” in sentencing. He commented that Shaffer has a criminal history and he got the impression that Shaffer is struggling with who he is and how he wants to interact with the community.

Wetzel said he has to make decisions based on the facts presented before him in a “snap shot,” but Shaffer has to decide how he wants to spend the rest of his life.

Wetzel sentenced Shaffer to 17 months in prison with credit for 200 days served in the Knox County Jail.

“Today is the day for you to start figuring out who you want to be,” Wetzel said.

Also sentenced to prison Wednesday were two Mount Vernon men for having weapons while under disability, in unrelated cases.

Both men, one sentenced on Wednesday and one on Thursday, were occupying residences with firearms belonging to another person.

Jessie Turbeville, 44, was homeless and staying at the place of someone else who owned the guns, according to Public Defender John Dankovich.

Dankovich acknowledged that Turbeville does have a felony record, which led to the weapons disability, but offered that Turbeville was trying to get his life back together.

Dankovich submitted that due to the loss of housing, Turbeville had to choose between being homeless or staying with someone who happened to have guns.

He noted the guns were hunting and antique guns and that Turbeville thought he was complying with the law as long as he did not touch the guns.

“Of course, the law is a little different,” Dankovich acknowledged.

Turbeville was sentenced to 18 months in prison with 7 days served in the county jail. Wetzel cited Turbeville’s criminal record as a factor in the sentence.

Meanwhile, Leonard Rice, 60, was also convicted of having weapons under a disability because he had access to somebody else’s firearms.

Public Defender Zachuary Meranda noted that the guns were a long rifle and shotgun, not pistols, and that the felony conviction leading to the weapon disability was from the 1990s.

Rice said that the guns belonged to his friend who gave him the keys to the property with the gun room.

Meranda noted that Rice has recently gone through a long process of eviction. Rice has been given a community control sentence in a Delaware County case, allowing him the chance to reestablish housing, according to Meranda.

Rice said that he is currently in a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program for substance abuse and has found help with rent through the Freedom Center.

Wetzel sentenced Rice to 18 months in prison with 14 days served, noting that Rice had a lengthy criminal history and records related to failure to report and a bond violation.


Eli Chung: 740-397-5333 or and on Twitter, @