Greene Sentenced to Community Control for Blast

By: 
TERESA DOWLING
Staff Writer

The first of three men charged in a mid-August explosion in St. Marys has been sentenced.

Auglaize County Municipal Court Judge Andrew Augsburger sentenced Christopher Greene for his role in the Aug. 19, 2018 explosion that damaged homes and a vehicle in the 300 block of South Pear Street.

Greene was sentenced to one year of unsupervised community control for his involvement with the discharging of a firework. As part of the sentence, Greene is prohibited from committing any criminal or traffic offenses during that year subject to a jail sentence, he must pay $350 as restitution for one of the victims and a yet-to-be-determined amount to another by Nov. 1, 2019, he is prohibited from possessing any firework and must comply with any orders from his probation officer. Augsburger suspended a 180-day jail sentence in favor of community control but advised Greene that if he violates his community control, the court has the right to impose jail time and extend his community control up to five years.

Greene, 34, entered a plea of not guilty at his arraignment on Oct. 3, but at his second pre-trial hearing, Greene and his attorney, Robert Gryzbowski, informed the court that would be changing his plea to no contest.

He had been charged with two counts of criminal damaging that were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Gryzbowski asked the court to consider Greene's lack of a felony record in his sentencing. Assistant Prosecutor Nick Catania informed Augsburger that Greene did not have any felony convictions but he has been previously convicted of criminal damaging in 2003 and obstructing official business in 2009.

According to the investigation by the St. Marys Police Department, Auglaize County Sheriff's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the firework was a commercial-grade artillery/mortar shell firework. Greene and two of his friends — Jeremiah Judy, 36, and Kyle Alger, 24 — placed the shell in a cinder block, which was blown apart by the force of the firework's detonation.

The other men involved in the explosion, Judy and Alger, are set to go before the court on Jan. 31 and Feb. 14 respectively.

"I'm well aware that this was a mistake that I never plan to make again," Greene said.

Augsburger asked whose idea it was to set off the firework and if alcohol was involved in the decision. Greene admitted that he had been drinking at his home on South Vine Street but the firework was not his and he was unaware that his friends had brought one with them.

"Once that block blew, you don't know where those parts would go," Augsburger said.

He continued by adding that he assumed the friends' intent was not to harm anyone but to "just see the boom."

Greene confirmed that the intent was only to set off the device for entertainment and no harm was intended.

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