Tiffin man pleads guilty

Zoeller

A Tiffin man pleaded guilty to two charges during a hearing in Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge Steve Shuff’s courtroom Tuesday.

Cooper James Zoeller, 25, had been charged with kidnapping, a first-degree felony; attempted rape, a second-degree felony; and gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony.

A woman reported Zoeller allegedly held her against her will on Webster Street from about 2-8 p.m. Sept. 14, court records state.

During Tuesday’s hearing, Zoeller pleaded guilty to a lesser-included offense of abduction, a third-degree felony, and gross sexual imposition, a fourth-degree felony. The prosecution is seeking dismissal of the attempted rape charge.

Dean Henry, Zoeller’s attorney, said the amendments fit what occurred.

Walton

“This fits. … There was no sexual conduct,” he said.

Jennifer Reed, assistant attorney general, said the victim wished for Zoeller to get help and repeatedly requested a resolution. The situation is emotional, and officials feel society is being protected with the plea agreement, Reed said.

The case is being referred for a pre-sentence report, and the sides are to argue for the appropriate sentence.

Zoeller would be classified as a Tier I sex offender and would be required to register once annually for 15 years. If sentenced to prison, he would be eligible for early judicial release.

In an unrelated case in Shuff’s courtroom Tuesday, Jashon J. Walton, 19, of Lima, pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony.

He had been accused of engaging in sexual conduct with a youth 13 to 15 years old, according to court records.

Walton’s case is being referred for a pre-sentence report.

The joint recommendation is he serve a three-year term of community control, complete a sex offender treatment program and undergo random drug and alcohol urinalysis.

Walton would be classified as a Tier II sex offender and would be required to register twice annually for 25 years.

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