MILLERSBURG -- For admittedly threatening a Holmes County children services worker, a former Killbuck man was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail.
Wilber Quinteros, 38, whose last address was 65 S. Mad Anthony Street, Millersburg, pleaded guilty in Holmes County Common Pleas Court to aggravated menacing. Initially charged with a fifth-degree, the charge was reduced to a first-degree misdemeanor, by removing reference to the victim's occupation, in exchange for Quinteros' guilty plea.
The plea deal, supported by the victim, not only was offered in an attempt to help resolve a pending matter regarding custody in Holmes County Juvenile Court, but also ensures Quinteros' incarceration for a longer period of time than if he were sentenced to prison, from which he could be released by in a few short months, according to Holmes County Prosecutor Steve Knowling.
Quinteros admitted to making the July 28 phone call to the employee of Holmes County Job and Family Services during which he yelled profanity at the woman and advised her to have the police not leave her side. He was hesitant to admit the statement was a threat, although she interpreted it as such.
His call came a day after children had been removed by the agency from Quinteros' home and prior to a court hearing on the matter.
Quinteros, who said he is not a United States citizen, was advised his guilty plea could impact his immigration status.
Defense attorney Todd Cheek suggested that because the threat was made over the phone, it was not as serious as one made during a face-to-face confrontation. He asked the court to consider the ongoing case plan in juvenile court and efforts required of Quinteros in fashioning an appropriate sentence.
"He has a lot to do things that directly relate to the underlying offense," said Cheek, noting Quinteros must, among other things, participate in a drug and alcohol assessment, a domestic violence assessment and parenting classes. "He can't do that unless he is out in the free world."
However, Knowling asked for imposition of the maximum six-month term, explaining, "He got consideration with the (charge) reduction."
Judge Robert Rinfret agreed with Knowling.
"The bottom line is the ladies down there (at JFS) work their rear ends off, and they don't get paid enough. They do it because they care," Rinfret said, adding, despite what some may think, "They don't (remove children) unless they think it's necessary.
"Children services, they don't want your children. They want them back with you," he said.
Although Rinfret imposed the maximum sentence, he said he would consider granting Quinteros work release and furlough from the jail to work on his case plan. He also ordered Quinteros to write a letter of apology to the victim.
Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.