One man sentenced, another chooses trials

Two men who were indicted by a Seneca County grand jury in connection to a high-speed chase in May appeared before Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff Monday.

Seneca County Sheriff’s Office deputies had been sent to First National Bank of Sycamore in New Riegel for a report of someone in a dark-colored mini van trying to break into an ATM May 26.

Sean M. Dayton, 33, of Tiffin, allegedly fled the area in a van and led law enforcement on a high-speed pursuit that ended on CR 26, court records state.

Law enforcement learned John A. Benjamin, 24, of Fostoria, was a passenger. Benjamin was accused of being involved with tampering with the ATM.

During a hearing Monday, Benjamin pleaded guilty to charges of illegal conveyance into an institution, a third-degree felony; safecracking, a fourth-degree felony; and attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools, fifth-degree felonies.

Shuff sentenced Benjamin to 30 months in prison, with credit for days served.

Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office agreed not to oppose a timely filed motion for judicial release if Benjamin completes a program at CROSSWAEH. He would be eligible for judicial release after serving 30 days in prison.

He must pay restitution of $2,500 to the victim, First National Bank of Sycamore.

Benjamin said he wouldn’t have been in court Monday had it not been for drugs. He said he has three children — ages 8, 2 and 1 — and he had been nothing but a selfish person.

Shuff told Benjamin he has lots of reasons to make some changes, and change doesn’t happen by chance.

Dayton also appeared before Shuff Monday.

He was charged with failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony; safecracking, a fourth-degree felony, and attempted grand theft and possessing criminal tools, both fifth-degree felonies.

In a separate case, Dayton was charged with tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony; safecracking, a fourth-degree felony; and theft, possessing criminal tools and breaking and entering, all fifth-degree felonies.

The incident at T.J. Willie’s involved an alleged theft of $1,364 Jan. 29, according to his indictment.

In a third case, Dayton was charged with two counts of aggravated possession of drugs, both fifth-degree felonies.

The alleged offenses involved fentanyl and methamphetamine and occurred Feb. 23, according to his indictment.

Dayton did not accept Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office’s proposal, and his cases are to proceed to jury trials.

Shuff held court proceedings at Heidelberg University, his alma mater, for Constitution Day Monday.

He told those gathered there was no difference in anything officials were doing Monday, other than it was in a different location.

“This is court,” he said.