Man gets probation for beating

By John W. Goodwin Jr.

Others are still waiting to be sentenced for their roles in the beating.

YOUNGSTOWN — A judge has ordered a city man to spend the next 12 months on probation for his role in the beating of an Austintown man in Campbell last year.

Brandon T. Dotson, 26, appeared before Judge Lou D’Apolito, Mahoning County Common Pleas Court, for sentencing Wednesday. Dotson, under a plea agreement with the state, pleaded no contest to an amended charge of attempted aggravated assault in April.

Charges lodged against Dotson stem from the beating June 24, 2008, of Seth M. Leach, 33, of Ayrshire Drive, Austintown, in the Campbell home of Lori Perry.

Five men forced their way into Lori Perry’s home between midnight and 1 a.m. and beat Leach and then bound the victim’s hands and feet with duct tape.

After that, two more men entered the home and beat and kicked Leach while he was bound, according to Campbell police reports.

Prosecutor Robert Bush said the state made the 12-month probation recommendation because Dotson was helpful with the investigation and even agreed to take a lie-detector test concerning his part in the incident.

Atty. Ron Yarwood, representing Dotson, reminded the court that Dotson has no prior criminal record and a presentencing investigation report showed a zero percent chance of Dotson repeating such an offense. He also said Dotson proved truthful after answering no on all lie-detector questions about whether he was party to the beating of Leach.

“His lack of judgment in getting himself there and staying there in this situation is what brought about this agreement,” Yarwood said. “He is very concerned about the outcome and assures the court that he will not be here again. This is a young man who has been remorseful and helpful from the beginning.”

Dotson, before sentencing, told the judge the only reason he went to the Campbell address the night of the beating was because he thought there was a domestic situation involving children.

Judge D’Apolito ultimately agreed to the terms of the agreement, imposing a 12-month probationary period on Dotson, but that sentence came with a stern warning from the judge. The judge said if Dotson breaks any laws while on probation, he will spend at least a year in prison and jeopardize any chances of having the conviction expunged at a later date.

“I believe this has turned out to be something far more than you contemplated and that you have learned a lesson,” the judge said.

Several others already have been found guilty of charges in the beating. Joseph R. Perry Sr., 62, of Tenney Avenue, Campbell, his son, Joseph Jr., 40, of Peters Drive, Campbell, Mark A. Ziemianski, 26, of South Navarre Street, Austintown, and James C. Riley III, 25, of Harold Lane, Campbell, pleaded no contest to various charges and were found guilty.

The prosecutor’s office recommended the Perrys spend four years in prison for their part in the beating. Five years’ probation was the recommendation for Ziemianski and Riley. They all will be sentenced at a later date.