A Bowling Green man accused of rioting is going to prison.
Paul Somerville, 20, appeared Monday in the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Molly Mack.
He and five other men were charged in July with aggravate riot and numerous charges of felonious assault. They were indicted in August.
Somerville pleaded guilty to aggravated riot and two amended counts of aggravated assault, all fourth-degree felonies.
“Our first request is not to send him to prison,” said defense attorney Alex Smith. “I don’t think it’s necessary knowing the factors in this case.”
He said his client has a history of ADHD and impulsiveness is an issue.
Somerville does not pause to make a better decision and escalates a situation rather than letting go of things, Smith said.
“I’m of the opinion that community control is appropriate in this case because we’ll have … the ability to work with Paul and watch over him. …” he said.
Smith asked that Mack offer his client resources that are available with the understanding there will be serious consequences if he doesn’t follow the rules.
If a prison term is imposed, he requested the SEARCH program at the NorthWest Community Corrections Center.
If, after that, he isn’t willing to change his conduct, he has to go to prison, Smith said.
“I would ask the court to select the non-prison option, whatever that may be,” he added.
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Alyssa Blackburn said the state recommended community control along with the SEARCH program, which serves as a sentencing option for adult males with the goals of providing a secure, intensive, evidence-based treatment program designed to assist residents with making positive behavioral changes.
Blackburn said there has been no restitution requests and the victims were made aware of that day’s proceedings.
Somerville and the five other men assaulted a man on the sidewalk in the 100 block of North Main Street at around 1:20 a.m. on July 11. According to court documents, they punched him and knocked him to the ground. Once on the ground, they continued to punch, kick and stomp the man to the point of unconsciousness. The man laid helpless on the ground without moving while the group continued to punch and kick him, according to court documents.
A group of four good Samaritans rushed to attempt to get the group of assailants off the man and they were then assaulted, according to the indictment. As a result, a man sustained serious injuries after being slammed on his head on the sidewalk before being punched and kicked multiple times. This man was taken to Wood County Hospital with cracked and broken teeth, a jaw injury, bruised ribs and several gashes to his face and body, according to court documents.
The group also reportedly chased and assaulted another man in the middle of the street by also punching him, slamming him to the ground and kicking him while he was on the ground.
According to court documents, the assault only stopped after a police officer was flagged down by people in the area. The assailants fled on foot but were identified by the video taken by downtown cameras and through prior police interaction earlier in the night in which their faces and clothing descriptions were captured on police body camera.
“I understand what I did wrong in this situation, and I acted out of character,” Somerville said.
“I’m going to learn from my consequences. I do understand what I did was wrong and I’m sorry,” he said.
Mack pointed out he did cause physical harm to the victims and threatened others while on probation for an assault charge in Tiffin-Fostoria Municipal Court and on supervision for a 2020 drug charge in Wood County.
On Oct. 13, 2020, Somerville posted photos of marijuana for sale on his Snapchat account.
He was placed on intervention in lieu of conviction supervision in April for drug trafficking charges. He violated the terms of that sentence after being charged in this new case.
“These charges are really concerning,” Mack said.
“We tried to indicate to you there are consequences for your behavior,” she said. “You are a danger to this community and have shown you will not abide by this court’s orders.”
Mack sentence him to 12 months for each of the three charges related to the downtown incident.
She also sentenced him to 11 months for 2020 drug trafficking charge.
All counts are concurrent except one 12-month term which will be served consecutively for a total of 24 months.
A woman in the back of the courtroom started sobbing as the sentences were announced.
“There is a need to punish you and this is illustrated by the history of your criminal convictions … and the danger that you pose to the public,” Mack said.
He will be given credit for time served.
Co-defendant Quentin Banks Jr., 19, BG, pleaded to aggravated riot and two amended charges of aggravated assault. He will be sentenced April 4.
Co-defendant Dominic Haslinger, 19, Toledo, pleaded guilty to the charge of aggravated riot and the amended charge of aggravated assault. He will be sentenced March 7.
Diego R. Shumate, 20, Sandusky, pleaded guilty to aggravated riot and the amended charge of aggravated assault. His next appearance has not been released.
Isiah C. Harrison, 22, Bowling Green, has pleaded not guilty to two counts felonious assault and aggravated riot. His next appearance has not been released.
A nationwide warrant for Joshua D. Miller, 21, Bowling Green, the sixth co-defendant, has been issued. He was indicted for felonious assault and aggravated riot.