Craigslist Robbery Co-Defendant Gets Community Control, 7-Year Sentence

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A Columbus man accused in a robbery conducted via Craigslist was sentenced to community control in Athens County Common Pleas on Monday.

Michael Nowell was sentenced to five years of community control on charges of conspiracy, telecommunications fraud and robbery, all of which were merged as part of the plea agreement Nowell entered with the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office. An underlying prison sentence of seven years was also imposed, but Nowell will only serve the sentence if he fails to complete the requirements of his community control.

Nowell was indicted, along with co-defendant Jace Johnson, on charges of aggravated robbery, conspiracy and telecommunications fraud – all felonies – for an incident that took place in August. A superseding indictment was filed in March changing the aggravated robbery charge in Nowell’s case to a second-degree felony robbery charge.

Johnson has since pleaded guilty as well, but is still awaiting a sentencing hearing, scheduled for June 17.

The men were charged when an investigation showed that the they planned the commission of a robbery after enticing a man to respond to a fictitious Craigslist personal advertisement, according to court documents. When the victim came to an apartment on Route 691, Johnson and Nowell attacked the man with a deadly weapon, listed in court documents as a Stinger AR-style airsoft rifle.

The victim was able to flee and contact law enforcement, leading to the arrest of the two men.

Nowell is required to complete a placement at a Franklin County Community-Based Correction Facility and pay court costs within nine months. Judge L. Alan Goldsberry gave him credit for 23 days of jail time already served.