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MILLERSBURG -- For making threatening movements toward firefighters working to extinguish a trash fire, a Killbuck man on Thursday, May 18, was sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Roy H. Mast, 55, of 2070 County Road 25, previously was convicted in Holmes County Municipal Court of disorderly conduct and misconduct at an emergency.
The charges stem from an August incident in which Mast was aggressive and approached members of the Richland Township Volunteer Fire Department with a forklift, while demanding they move from their position along a private lane to allow him access to a barn where he needed to feed cows.
According to testimony from the firefighters, Mast threatened to damage the fire truck if they failed to comply with his demand. Despite being found guilty at trial, Mast maintains he did nothing but exchange coarse words with the first responders.
"I never did any harm and I never meant to cause harm to nobody. I absolutely did nothing wrong," he said.
In the wake of his trial, Mast started the process of obtaining an alcohol assessment, but it was never completed, and Mast told visiting Judge David Stucki he does not have a problem with alcohol. His criminal record suggests otherwise, with several prior drunken driving convictions and failed probation attributed to alcohol use.
Defense attorney Christina Reiheld referred to Mast as a simple man who struggles with the legal issues in this matter. He continues to maintain the three firefighters are skewing what happened."
Despite her client's denial, she said, she believes he not only has a problem with alcohol, but was under considerable pressure with his employer at the time, and was fearful of the consequences of not getting his farm chores done by sunset.
"He didn't know how to react. He's not a guy who is going out making threats and following through on them," she said, acknowledging that absent Mast's acceptance of an alcohol problem, attempts to help him are likely to be futile.
Considering that and Mast's past failed response to probation, Stucki said he had few options.
"One of these times you're going to kill yourself, harm yourself, or harm someone else. I want to help you, but I'm at a loss what to do. I can do (a sentence of) 30 days, but we've got to find a way to help you deal with this issue in your life."
Consequently, Stucki imposed the maximum 30-day jail sentence and a fine of $250.
At the request of Reiheld, he said he would appoint appellate counsel for Mast, but denied a request to stay execution of the jail sentence to allow Mast time to meet with and discuss the matter with another attorney. He said the matter of a stay could be considered by the court of appeals should an appeal be filed.
In September 2012, Mast was sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted in Holmes County Common Pleas Court of attempted extortion. He pleaded guilty to the felony, which was filed after he took woman's post office box key and held it ransom for $100. Sheriff's deputies arrested Mast when he arrived to accept payment for the key.
Reporter Christine Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.