A Kent man forbidden from owning or possessing firearms because of a 2001 felony conviction has been sentenced to six months in the Portage County jail and banned from West Branch State Park for life after rangers there caught him with a .22-caliber rifle.
Kevin H. Frye, 46, of 710 Longcoy Ave., was sentenced by Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman to 180 days in the Portage County jail with work release privileges, along with five years probation. He pleaded guilty to having a weapon under disability, a third-degree felony, on May 17.
Along with banning him from the park for life, Pittman also ordered Frye to forfeit the firearm to the state, pay a $350 fine and keep a full-time job throughout his probation term. A probation violation could result in a prison term of up to 36 months, she warned.
The incident took place on Sept. 14, 2012, when Ohio Department of Natural Resources police officers found a .22-caliber rifle in Frye's vehicle, which was parked on the north side of Booth Road in Edinburg, according to a criminal complaint filed in Portage County Municipal Court.
Defense attorney Jared Wilson said Frye has a full-time job, owns his own house and his prior felony conviction was not for a violent crime. He also was "extremely cooperative" with police in their investigation, he said.
It was Frye's "passion for coon hunting" that got him into trouble, Wilson said, adding that in the future, Frye will simply run his dogs and not be armed with a gun when he hunts.
Frye was convicted of improperly discharging a firearm into a habitation, a second-degree felony with a firearms specification. A Stow resident at the time, he was sentenced to eight years in prison on those charges by Judge Joseph Kainrad on Sept. 26, 2001, according to Portage County court records.
Assistant Portage County Prosecutor Eugene Muldowney recommended a prison term as a sentence for Frye on the firearms charge. He said the incident for which Frye was sent to prison took place after Frye's girlfriend dumped him. She then got into a new relationship and had a young child.
Frye pulled up to the victim's house one night and fired a shot into it. The bullet missed the victim, who was carrying her young child at the time, by "inches," Muldowney said.
"Under the facts and circumstances, (Frye) is one person who should never have a firearm," Muldowney said. "He knows what he did."
"It wasn't a violent act. It was a stupid act," Frye said of the crime that made him a felon. "It was a stupid mistake on my part. I'll never be around a firearm again."
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