Alliance, Warren men get prison for Ravenna Township home invasion

By Dave O'Brien | staff writer Published:

Two northeast Ohio men have been sentenced to prison for breaking into a Ravenna Township residence and assaulting a man in October.

Joshua W. Phillips, 29, of Alliance, pleaded guilty to burglary, a second-degree felony, in Portage County Common Pleas Court in December, and Judge Laurie Pittman recently sentenced him to four years in prison.

Phillips received 108 days credit for time served awaiting trial. Pittman also ordered him not to have any contact with the victim and pay a $300 fine, according to her sentencing order.

Co-defendant Justin P. Prater, 28, with a last known address in Warren, pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, a first-degree felony, on Jan. 18 and was sentenced by Pittman to three years in prison. He received credit for 49 days and was also fined $300, according to court records.

Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci said sheriff's deputies were dispatched to a 911 call from an address in the 6100 block of Ferndale Street in Ravenna Township on Oct. 18. The caller reported that two men wearing bandannas over their faces entered her house uninvited and assaulted her boyfriend in the garage.

Deputies arrived, and were told by the woman that the two men who assaulted her boyfriend were Phillips and Prater. She said she knew because while Prater fought with her boyfriend, she ripped the bandanna off Phillips' face.

The woman injured her wrist while trying to break up the fight, Vigluicci said, and the suspects fled after she called 911.

Deputies interviewed Prater, who admitted he and Phillips went to the house and entered without permission, looking for the male victim. They pushed the woman's daughter out of the way and found the man in the attached garage, where they attacked him, Vigluicci said Prater told deputies.

Deputies also spoke with Phillips, who denied involvement until he was confronted with the fact the victim recognized him when she pulled his bandanna off, Vigluicci said. He admitted he was there but only went to talk with the male victim, who had "done his wife wrong," taking electronics and other property when he left her, Phillips told deputies.

Phillips told deputies the victim's ex drove him and Prater to the house and that he "just went to make sure it didn't get out of hand and no one got hurt" when he and Prater confronted the man, Vigluicci said.

At the time of the crime, Prater was on parole after serving nearly two years in prison on a 2011 robbery conviction in Trumbull County, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. He was released from prison in September 2012, according to the ODRC.

Phillips also was on parole, having served 18 months in prison after being convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, domestic violence and disrupting public service, all fourth-degree felonies, in Stark County in 2009, according to the ODRC.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

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