New Philadelphia, Ohio - The defense attorney representing a Coshocton man convicted for his role in a robbery turned shooting that injured a Newcomerstown teen is going back to the judge to ask for an acquittal.
36-year-old Ian Cultrona was found guilty last month on one count of aggravated robbery and three counts of felonious assault with firearm specifications following his jury trial in the courtroom of Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Edward O’Farrell. Defense Attorney Travis Collins is now asking the judge to acquit his client on the felonious assault convictions and throw out three attempted murder charges that are still pending due to a mistrial.
Collins contends that the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Cultrona knew that the other two men charged in the case were planning to use firearms to commit the robbery. He argues that for this reason, Cultrona cannot be held responsible for the shooting.
"Is there sufficient evidence to assume that he had the same intent as [Lucian] Lambes and [Douglas] Casteel, and if there’s no evidence that he plotted a robbery with them, or even if there’s some evidence that they plotted to try to go out there and rip off this drug dealer, there’s certainly, in my opinion, no evidence that he knew that they had firearms," he says.
Tuscarawas County Prosecutor Ryan Styer argues that the state presented plenty of evidence and testimony during the trial to back up their assertion that Cultrona knew this was going to be an armed robbery.
"I’ve listed I believe nine facts that I think could be reasonably inferred from the evidence that I think makes a really good circumstantial case that the jury could rely on in finding that Mr. Cultrona knew that a firearm would be involved in this robbery," he says.
Cultrona is currently facing up to 38 years in prison with a three-year mandatory minimum sentence. If the judge grants his attorney’s request, he faces a maximum of 11 years in prison on the aggravated robbery charge with no mandatory minimum sentencing requirement.
Meanwhile, Cultrona’s co-defendant Douglas Casteel accepted a plea deal from prosecutors Monday to resolve two pending cases. He agreed to plead guilty to aggravated robbery and attempted murder charges for the robbery/shooting and to having weapons under disability for an unrelated case. In exchange, prosecutors have agreed to recommend an aggregate sentence of 17 years in prison.