By Michael Schaffer - Managing editor
The fourth person originally charged with ongoing criminal conduct for their alleged involvement in a conspiracy to obtain goods through a stolen credit and debit card has voluntarily pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.
Jhon Christopher Merrick, 24, of Centerville, entered a voluntary negotiated guilty plea Feb. 2 to the crime of aiding and abetting forgery, a class D felony.
On March 16 Judge Daniel P. Wilson sentenced Merrick to five years in state prison with credit for time served. The judge imposed then suspended a $750 fine and 32 percent surcharge.
In July 2009 Appanoose County Attorney Richard Scott accused Amber Williams, 24, Merrick, Timothy John Hatfield, 22 and Tammy Latisha Hatfield, 26 of ongoing criminal conduct. The four were accused of using a stolen credit and debit card at numerous locations in Centerville in May to purchase items ranging from food to clothing to electronics.
Tammy Latisha Hatfield was sentenced to 15 years in prison for various offenses in August. Timothy John Hatfield pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of two counts of forgery, class D felonies, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in October. Williams plead guilty to two counts of the lesser charge of forgery and in January was sentenced to five years in state prison, suspended to five-years probation, credit for time served and 180 days in a residential facility.
The original ongoing criminal conduct charge, a class B felony, against all four of the defendants, was dismissed by the court.