YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Judge Anthony D’Apolito told a man he was sentencing Thursday on a gun charge in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that protecting the community outweighed any desire he had to “take a chance” on the man he was sentencing.
Marcus Williams was sentenced to two years in prison by the judge on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm, improper handling of a firearm and aggravated possession of drugs.
The charges stem from an Oct. 30, 2019, arrest by Youngstown police. Williams had served 17 months in the Mahoning County Jail awaiting the disposition of his case as well as 10 months of house arrest.
Because Williams was given credit for the time he had already served, he will only have to serve seven more months.
Williams’ case was delayed, in part, because he switched attorneys and he also contracted COVID-19.
Prosecutors were recommending a four-year prison sentence based on past felony convictions of Williams, including attempted felonious assault, carrying a concealed weapon and a probation violation resulting from the charge he was sentenced on Thursday.
Defense attorney Ronald Spears asked the judge for a sentence below the prosecutor’s recommendation, or even probation, saying his client has already served a significant amount of time behind bars and since he has been on house arrest, he has stayed out of trouble and is working two jobs.
Spears also said his client stayed out of trouble while he was in jail as well.
“Because of his decisions, he has already given 17 months of his life for this,” Spears said.
Judge D’Apolito asked Williams why he had a gun the day he was arrested. Williams said he was driving someone else’s car and did not know a gun was in the car. He said police had to tear the car apart to find the gun.
“I never had it in my possession,” Williams said.
Judge D’Apolito said he found it hard to believe Williams did not know there was a gun in the car because he has been lied to so many times on the bench it is hard for him to know when someone is telling the truth. But he said because of his past record, Williams was in a position where he should have asked whoever he took the car from if there was anything illegal inside.
The judge said he admired Williams for staying out of trouble since his arrest but because of his past record, he felt some sort of incarceration was necessary.
“I wanted to take a chance on you. I really did,” Judge D’Apolito said. “But my job is not to take a chance on you. It’s to protect the community.”