A former Ravenna man sentenced to 10 years in prison for an armed robbery in Rootstown in July 2012 will remain in a Toledo area prison after the 11th District Court of Appeals in Warren upheld his guilty plea, which he had sought to withdraw.
A three-judge panel of the appeals court upheld Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman's denial of Jonathan J. Kornet's motion to withdraw his guilty plea to a charge of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony with a gun specification.
Kornet pleaded guilty to the charge in November 2012 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison -- seven years for the robbery and three, mandatory years for using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Prior to imposing sentence, Pittman overruled Kornet's request to withdraw his guilty plea. He appealed based on what the appeals court called a "change of heart that occurred when he realized that his plea would not benefit his fiancee" and co-defendant, Sara K. Knight, and "his regret to pleading to the firearm specification," which added an additional three, mandatory years onto his prison term.
Kornet "failed to provide any support to rebut the presumption that the court considered the required factors in his sentencing," Judge Diane Grendell wrote in the 3-0 decision denying his appeal. "It is Kornet's obligation to rebut this presumption."
Citing two prior decisions by their court, the appellate court ruled that Kornet is not allowed to withdraw his plea merely because he changed his mind, and that it was within Pittman's discretion to decide his motion. Pittman, the justices ruled, gave Kornet's assertions "full and fair consideration" and found that he pleaded guilty "knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily."
Kornet and Knight were convicted of robbing a man at gunpoint inside a house in the 3100 block of Cook Road in Rootstown on July 27, 2012. The victim told Portage County sheriff's deputies that Kornet held him at gunpoint, ordered him to the floor and stole his wallet and cellphone. They were arrested in Rootstown three weeks later.
Knight pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony with a firearms specification, in February and was sentenced to six years in prison in March. Now 19, she is being held in the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. Her prison term expires in September 2018, according to the ODRC.
Kornet, now 25, is being held in the Toledo Correctional Institution. He will be eligible for release from prison in August 2022, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections.
Following his sentencing, Kornet attempted suicide in the Portage County jail on Jan. 5, according to the Portage County Sheriff's Office.
In a letter to Pittman written on April 30 and filed in Portage County court records, Kornet writes that he was being held in a mental health unit at the prison and that his suicide attempt shattered one of his eye sockets, leaving him "1/2 blind" in his right eye, and also broke one of his femurs. The damage to his hip "will never heal completely," Kornet wrote.
Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Dave O'Brien, Record-Courier