Co-defendant in Austintown child porn case receives prison sentence

Local News

Prosecutors said the co-defendant's role was limited

Ryan Marenkovic, charged with pandering obscenity in Austintown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — One of two men indicted for having child pornography images on a cell phone received a nine-month prison sentence Wednesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Ryan Marenkovic, 44, of Austintown, received the sentence from Judge R. Scott Krichbaum after Marenkovic entered guilty pleas to two counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor, a fourth-degree felony.

Judge Krichbaum upheld a sentencing recommendation in the case from defense attorney Lou DeFabio and Assistant Prosecutor Steve Yacovone.

A co-defendant, Robert Basic, 43, also of Austintown, pleaded guilty to seven counts of pandering obscenity involving a minor. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of at least seven years for Basic. He has yet to be sentenced.

The two were arrested after Marenkovic pawned a pair of cell phones to an Austintown pawn shop in August.

When employees went to erase data and images on the phones, they found images of child pornography and contacted township police. That led to a search warrant to search both the phones and the homes of both men.

Yacovone said he recommended a smaller sentence for Marenkovic because investigators found only a few images on his phone and no images at all in any other devices he had, while Basic had hundreds of images on his devices.

Marenkovic also has no felony record and cooperated with authorities, Yacovone said. Marenkovic was also expected to argue had the case gone to trial that it was Basic who sent him the images.

Marenkovic told the judge he was sorry and that he understands he needs to be punished.

“This isn’t the type of person I am,” he said via video hookup from the Mahoning County jail. “I got caught up in a bad circumstance.” He did not say what that circumstance was.

Judge Krichbaum called the case “disgusting” and said he was inclined to not go along with the plea recommendation but said he would do so because he trusts the lawyers in the case and knows that they would only recommend such a plea if it was in the best interests of justice.

Marenkovic must also register as a Tier II sex offender for the next 25 years as part of his plea agreement. He is also being given credit for 114 days he has served in jail while awaiting the outcome of his case.

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