The Fulton County prosecutor office opposes early release of William “Bill” Fricke, Pettisville.
In a response to a request for early release filed on Fricke’s behalf, Paul H. Kennedy, assistant prosecuting attorney, said Fricke’s actions were “criminal conduct by a man who put himself above others.”
Fricke pled no contest to a grand theft charge and guilty to six other charges in August 2013 in connection with the financial collapse of the now-defunct Archbold Elevator, which he owned.
He was sentenced in October 2013.
He is presently incarcerated at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Grafton Correctional Institution, located west of Cleveland in Lorain County.
His prison term is set to expire Aug. 15, 2016. He is “statutorily eligible” for early release on Jan. 22, 2016, after serving 80% of his sentence.
Court documents asking that Fricke be set free under an Ohio program known as “judicial release” were filed Tuesday, May 6, in Fulton County Common Pleas Court.
Under judicial release, an inmate can ask the judge who sentenced him to release him after completing a portion of his sentence.
Richard M. Kerger, Toledo, Fricke’s attorney, filed a five-page memorandum in support of Fricke’s release.
In his response, Kennedy said, “The State, on the other hand, believes that his early release would demean the seriousness of his offenses.
“In support of his motion, Defendant states that his life was one of exemplary behavior, service to his community, and great success in business.
“The reality, however, is that the harm he caused this area’s farming community greatly outweighs any service to his fellow man.
“Defendant claims that he convinced himself that his actions were for a greater good as he hoped to save his business and employees.
“The State, on the other hand, believes that he allowed his personal greed to dictate his action, and he knew full well that he was jeopardizing the financial security of his numerous victims.
“While he says he possesses solid business acumen, the evidence shows that he drove an established business into the ground while stealing from his victims in order to sustain his expanding feed and hog businesses.
“Defendant next states that the victims in this case deserve the opportunity to be made whole and that there is little to no chance of that occurring as long as he is incarcerated.
“However, if he were serious about paying any restitution, he could already liquidate his personal assets.
“Finally, defendant states that his mistake was just that, a mistake.
“Clearly though, his actions were much more than a mistake. They were criminal conduct by a man who put himself above others.”
In his response, Kennedy said the State “requests that this Court deny Defendant’s motion without a hearing.”
James Barber, Fulton County Common Pleas Court judge, has four options:
•Approve the request and grant judicial release.
•Deny the request.
•Hold a hearing and approve the request there.
•Hold a hearing and deny the request.
If Barber denies the request without holding a hearing, Fricke may reapply for judicial release at a later date.
If a hearing is held and Fricke’s request is denied, the denial is permanent; he may not reapply.
Barber said last week he has 90 days to rule on Fricke’s request.