YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — It is not uncommon for the parents of people about to be sentenced in court to skip the proceedings altogether.
It was a good thing Tuesday that the father of 25-year-old Gerontios Ginnis showed up in the courtroom of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court Judge R. Scott Krichbaum as his son was being sentenced on a tampering with evidence charge. He might have saved him from prison.
Judge Krichbaum sentenced Ginnis to five years probation, the maximum amount of time someone can serve, for his role in a September police chase in Campbell.
The judge made it clear that he was not happy with the past conduct of Ginnis, but the fact that his father made an appearance on his behalf was something he felt he needed to take into consideration.
“The blood of your father is running in your veins, so you have that going for you,” Judge Krichbaum said.
As part of his sentence, Ginnis must serve the first six months in the Mahoning County jail. Because he has already served 160 days awaiting the outcome of his case, he has just 20 days left.
After he is released from jail, he must complete the drug treatment at Community Corrections Association. Failure to do so will result in the imposition of the maximum three-year prison sentence the charge carries, Judge Krichbaum.
Ginnis was one of three people in a car being chased by Campbell police, reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, before it was finally stopped. Police said Ginnis was throwing drugs out the window.
The driver of the car has yet to be sentenced. A woman who was in the car was sentenced to probation.
Judge Krichbaum said he was troubled by Ginnis’ record and was not sure that anyone had ever gotten his attention before.
“You’ve got no understanding that what you do is wrong,” Judge Krichbaum said.
Ginnis’ lawyer, Lou DeFabio, told the judge despite his record, Ginnis has never been to prison before. DeFabio also said his client accepted responsibility for his actions and that his criminal record began only in the past few years, which shows that something is going on in his life that needs to be addressed.
“There’s clearly something amiss with him, both mentally and substance abuse-wise,” DeFabio said.
Ginnis pleaded for another chance and said he will make the most of it.
“I will not make you out to be a fool,” Ginnis said via video hookup from the Mahoning County jail. “I will not make myself out to be a fool.”
Judge Krichbaum said he was still skeptical, but he said the fact that Ginnis’ father was in the gallery shows that someone still believes in him.
Although his father was there, he never spoke.
The judge warned him, however, that any slip-up, no matter how trivial, will result in a prison sentence being imposed.