Albany Man Pleads Guilty In Firearm Case

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An Albany man who originally pleaded innocent by reason of insanity has now pleaded guilty to two felonies in Athens County Common Pleas Court.

Steven Vance, 36, entered a plea of guilty to improperly handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence, for which he was charged in February.

The firearm charge is a fourth-degree felony and the tampering charge is a third-degree felony.

The plea, if accepted by Judge L. Alan Goldsberry, would require Vance to serve two years in jail with no consideration of judicial release “or early release of any kind,” according to the plea agreement signed by Vance.

The plea agreement mentions a requirement that Vance provide proof of the birth of his child and and that Vance be transported to prison on the day of his sentencing if “unless the birth of his child has not occurred.”

“State would then agree to allow (Vance) to report two days after the birth of his child,” the plea deal stated.

Vance must also forfeit any ammunition that was seized as evidence and an optional three years of post-release control was included in the plea deal.

Vance was arrested after police responded to a report of shots fired near East State Street and Morris Avenue, according to previous Messenger reporting.

Five empty shell casings were found in the roadway and witness statements were obtained. A 9 mm handgun was also found within blocks of the scene.

But in a motion filed in December 20 by defense attorney Doug Francis, an order was filed directing evaluation of Vance’s insanity plea.

The evaluation was to be completed within 30 days of the plea being filed. An update on the evaluation was not available through court documents, and Francis was not available for comment on Monday.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for March.