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Lisbon man protests longer sentence

March 31, 2012

LISBON - Bryan K. Dilling did not go quietly after a judge disregarded the plea deal reached in his case and imposed the maximum sentence instead.

"I want to go to trial. This is bull...., man," Dilling said as he was led out of Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike's courtroom following his sentencing hearing on Friday.

Dilling, 40, Grant Street, Lisbon, was sentenced by Judge Pike to 18 months in prison for gross sexual imposition - six months longer than the one-year sentence that was agreed upon in the plea deal he reached with the county prosecutor's office.

According to court records, Dilling was accused of coercing his former girlfriend's 17-year-old mentally-impaired daughter to engage in sex with him after pulling her into a shed at a home on state Route 344, Salem, on Sept. 13, 2010. The girl claimed Dilling coerced her to engage in sex with him in the past and she did so on Sept. 13 out of fear he would harm her.

The original charge was sexual battery but Dilling entered an Alford plea to the reduced charge of gross sexual imposition. An Alford Plea is not an admission of guilt, but the defendant admits to the facts in the case.

The girl's mother testified during the sentencing hearing, saying Dilling was her boyfriend at the time, "and what he did to my daughter is despicable." She said they agreed to to the plea deal to spare her daughter the ordeal of a trial and also hoped Pike would impose the maximum sentence of 18 months.

The victim also testified briefly, saying she is often afraid now, "and being around men makes me nervous."

Defense attorney Kelly Linger conceded her client has a lengthy criminal record - 27 prior criminal and traffic charges since 2000 - but she said charges were dropped in 10 of those cases.

In the end, Pike sided with the mother and imposed the maximum sentence. "This is an unspeakable crime," he said, adding, "It's rare you see such a lengthy record."

When Dilling realized he was receiving more than he bargained for, he demanded a trial instead.

"I did not do it, and if I got to do the max I might as well go to trial," he said.

"Mr. Dilling, I don't bargain with you or anyone else," Pike said.

Dilling offered his aforementioned opinion of the proceedings as he was led from the courtroom by a sheriff's deputy.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tim McNicol said had the case gone to trial there was DNA evidence that would have been introduced linking Dilling to the crime.

Had Dilling received the 12-month sentence, he would have served little of that since he will receive mandatory credit for 322 days already spent in the county jail since his arrest. Linger indicated Dilling is entitled to another 25 days credit based on a miscalculation, and Pike said he would review the request after both sides file motions.



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