The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

May 16, 2013

Geneva man pleads guilty after intimidating victim

Star Beacon

GENEVA — After beating his girlfriend, watching police officers pound on his front door, lying to police, resisting arrest, and then threatening his girlfriend if she told police of the assault, a Geneva man has pleaded guilty to all charges against him, Western County Court records show.

Timothy Wegmiller, 48, of Cedar Court, who originally applied for a public defender, but later pleaded guilty to domestic violence, intimidation of a crime victim, resisting arrest and unlawful restraint, is being held without bond at the Geneva City Jail, court records show.

Wegmiller’s troubles began last week when Geneva Police Officer Doug Zetlaw broke a window on the front door of the Cedar Court home to rescue a woman who was allegedly being beaten.

Zetlaw, who was called to the house to investigate a domestic dispute, said he witnessed Wegmiller assault his girlfriend through the window.

“He was standing, but leaning forward, bent over, and making repeated shoving motions towards the ground,” Zetlaw said. “It appeared he was shoving (the victim) to the ground and every time she tried to get up, he would shove her back down.”

Zetlaw said he could hear the victim “yelling and moaning.”

Zetlaw yelled to Wegmiller from outside the house.

“I told him that I had seen what he had done and I instructed him to come downstairs and open the front door for me,” he said.

The house went dark and there was no response, police reports show.

Zetlaw issued the warning three times and then told Wegmiller he was going to break down the door if he didn’t comply.

After he and Sgt. Joseph Webb spent some time banging on the door and windows, the officers broke the window on the front door to gain entry to the residence, police reports show.

“Fearing for (the victim) after the assault that I had witnessed, the decision was made to breach the front door,” Zetlaw said.

When the officers broke the window, Wegmiller appeared “almost immediately,” Zetlaw said, and claimed to have been sleeping on the couch the whole time.

The victim was located and had a “goose-egg” lump and laceration on her head, a scratch on her left cheek, and a bloody scratch on her chest, police reports show. She told the officers that Wegmiller is often violent when he is drunk and that he physically restrained her so she could not open the door for the officers.

Wegmiller added to his list of misdemeanor charges as he attempted to intimidate his victim, telling her the he “hadn’t done anything to her” and demanding that she “keep her mouth shut” and “not to say anything,” Zetlaw said.

Wegmiller continued to yell at the woman as Webb removed him from the house.

“Even though Sgt. Webb nipped this in the bud, Wegmiller, as he was being escorted out of the house, continued to intimidate (the victim), telling her that he didn’t do anything to her and not to press charges,” Zetlaw said.

Wegmiller continued to be uncooperative at the jail and threatened to sue the officers, police reports show.

He eventually pleaded guilty to all the charges and will face sentencing on June 5, Western County Court records show.