Woman sentenced to local jail for Urbana church break-in


By Nick Walton - nwalton@civitasmedia.com



A co-defendant involved in breaking into a local church this summer will serve time in jail as part of a community control sentence.

Cortney R. Hill, 20, was placed on community control for two years Tuesday and will serve 30 days in the Tri-County Regional Jail, Mechanicsburg. Champaign County Prosecutor Kevin Talebi said the court also ordered Hill to complete 200 hours of community service, have no contact with her co-defendants, remain on electronic monitored house arrest into December and pay restitution to the Renewed Strength Church, 4194 W. U.S. Route 36.

If community control is revoked, Hill faces a 13-month prison sentence.

Champaign County deputies responded to the church on July 26 on a reported breaking and entering. After gaining entry into the church by breaking a window, a safe, multiple musical instruments and equipment along with an unknown amount of money was reportedly taken.

Last week, Hill’s co-defendants Andrew Baker, Joshua Hower and Bryce Whitt were placed on community control during respective sentencing hearings in the Clark County Common Pleas Court for similar crimes against churches in Clark County. As part of community control, each were ordered to serve time in the Clark County jail.

A probable cause affidavit filed in the Clark County Municipal Court outlines the sequence of events where the co-defendants spoke to law enforcement after they were caught breaking into the Renewed Strength Church. The affidavit states seven churches from Clark, Champaign and other counties were broken into as part of the group’s conduct.

Baker, 20, of St. Paris, pleaded guilty to breaking and entering, a fifth degree felony, on Sept. 17 in Clark County and was placed on community control for three years on Oct. 20. He was also ordered to serve 90 days in jail, pay restitution in the amount of $2,775, and maintain employment and/or continue education.

In Champaign County, Baker is charged with three counts of breaking and entering, two counts of criminal damaging or endangering and one count each of petty theft, breaking and entering with a specification for forfeiture of property, theft with a specification for forfeiture of property, safecracking with a specification for forfeiture of property, possessing criminal tools and possessing criminal tools with a specification for forfeiture of property.

No hearings have been held in his Champaign County case.

Hower, 20, of Sidney, pleaded guilty to breaking and entering, a fifth degree felony, on Sept. 17 in Clark County and was placed on community control for three years on Oct. 20. He was ordered to serve 90 days in jail, pay restitution in the amount of $2,775, and maintain employment and/or continue education.

Hower pleaded guilty to felony charges of breaking and entering and safecracking in addition to two fourth degree misdemeanor charges of criminal trespass in Champaign County earlier this month. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5.

Whitt, 20, of Urbana, pleaded guilty to to breaking and entering, a fifth degree felony, on Oct. 2 in Clark County and was placed on community control for three years on Oct. 23. He was ordered to serve 30 days in jail, obtain a GED, maintain employment and/or continue education and pay restitution in the amount of $2,775.

Whitt pleaded guilty to a fourth degree felony safecracking charge and two misdemeanor criminal trespass charges earlier this month in Champaign County. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 6.

By Nick Walton

nwalton@civitasmedia.com

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.

Nick Walton can be reached at 937-652-1331 Ext. 1777 or on Twitter @UDCWalton.