A federal judge has sentenced a former Ravenna Township man and convicted felon to 20 years in federal prison this week on weapons and drug charges after he was found in possession of three handguns in violation of federal law.
Darnell C. Butcher, 50, formerly of Henderson Road in Ravenna Township, was found guilty of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition and possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute during a jury trial in September 2012. His sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Christopher Boyko in Cleveland.
"This defendant was a long time scourge to the residents of Ravenna," said Steven Dettelbach, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio in announcing the sentence. "This sentence will make it easier for them to live, work and play in peace."
A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms task force investigation involving Ravenna police and the Metro SWAT Team resulted in Butcher's arrest for possessing three firearms -- two .22-caliber handguns and a .32-caliber handgun -- plus ammunition on April 8, 2011. Butcher was forbidden by law from possessing firearms because of six prior felony convictions.
The same investigation found Butcher possessed approximately 12.1 grams of crack cocaine with the intent to sell, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Ravenna police Capt. David Rarrick said Ravenna police worked with the ATF to investigate Butcher and secure a conviction. Federal court documents show police investigated Butcher for dealing drugs out of a house at 502 Ravenna Ave., after an informant tipped off police about Butcher's activities, according to federal court documents.
Butcher has a long criminal history in Portage County. He escaped felony charges of cocaine trafficking and illegal use of food stamps filed in 1997 after his case was dismissed by the Portage County Prosecutor's Office. The legal time limit to try Butcher on the charges expired after the case was never set for trial "due to human error," according to court records.
From 1999 to 2012, Butcher racked up five felony convictions in Portage County Common Pleas Court and one each in Summit and Trumbull counties, serving a total of approximately four years in prison over that time period. According to court records, the charges, conviction dates and sentences were:
Two counts of trafficking in cocaine in September 1999. Judge Joseph Kainrad sentenced him to two years probation, random drug testing and drug treatment and 100 hours of community service, records show. Butcher twice violated that probation, and was sentenced by Kainrad to two years in prison in September 2000.
Trafficking in cocaine in March 2003. Butcher was sentenced to 120 days in the Portage County jail by Judge John Enlow in August 2003, but served only seven days with work privileges because of credit for time served awaiting trial.
Possession of cocaine in January 2004. Judge Laurie Pittman sentenced him to five years probation in June 2004, then ordered Butcher to get treatment at the Northeast Ohio Community Alternative Program in Warren in March 2005 following a probation violation. A second violation resulted in Butcher being sentenced to six months in prison in July 2005.
Attempted possession of cocaine in April 2005. Trumbull County Common Pleas Judge John Stuard sentenced Butcher to seven months in prison.
Two counts of trafficking in cocaine and one count of possession of cocaine in July 2006. Enlow sentenced Butcher to one year in prison on all three counts, concurrent with each other, in January 2007.
One count each of having weapons under felony disability, receiving stolen property, possession of cocaine and a misdemeanor weapons charge in Summit County Common Pleas Court in January 2010. Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands suspended a three-year prison sentence and placed Butcher on two years probation for firing shots outside a house in Akron in an incident on Oct. 4, 2008, according to court records.
Trafficking in cocaine in January 2012. Enlow sentenced Butcher to two years probation, random drug tests and drug treatment in March 2012.
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