Athens Man Has Judicial Release Denied

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An Athens man sentenced to eight years in prison for robbing an Ohio University student has been denied a chance of early judicial release.

Nicholas Dowler, 26, appeared in Athens County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday after applying for judicial release from a prison sentence. The sentence stemmed from guilty pleas to charges of robbery, theft and grand theft.

His appearance in court came five years after he was sentenced for a 2009 robbery. On Oct. 3 of that year, an Ohio University student reported she was robbed in the parking lot behind McCracken Hall near Stewart Street around 2:30 a.m. She reported that a white male confronted her, brandished a box-cutter knife and demanded she give him all her money.

The suspect stole the woman’s purse and ran to a truck where a second suspect waited. Shortly thereafter, the two men used the student’s credit card at Speedway on Richland Avenue in Athens.

Dowler and Bryon Ely were later indicted by a grand jury. Dowler was named as the primary suspect while Ely was tabbed as the accomplice.

When he was sentenced the prosecution agreed not to oppose judicial release for Dowler after five years had been served. However, according to a news release from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, Dowler tested positive on two different occasions for drugs while in prison and placed under disciplinary control.

Prosecutors then opposed the motion for judicial release arguing that his conduct while incarcerated does not allow for the motion to be granted. Judge Patrick Lang agreed and denied the early prison release. Lang’s ruling means Dowler will now have to serve the remaining three years of his prison sentence without the opportunity of judicial release.

Ely pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery charges as well as other charges not related to the case and was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. He has also applied for early judicial release and has a hearing scheduled for March 24.