A man who pleaded guilty to taking part in a home invasion and robbery of a North Canton couple in August was sentenced to seven years in prison Monday, as part of a plea agreement where he’s expected to testify against former Hoover High School football star Erick M. Howard.
Stark County Common Pleas Judge Taryn Heath accepted the prosecutors’ sentencing recommendation for Seth R. Obermiller, 20, 2321 Comet Circle NW in Lake Township. He pleaded guilty Nov. 3 to felony charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and kidnapping with two counts of firearm specifications.
Heath sentenced Obermiller to three four-year concurrent sentences for the burglary, robbery and kidnapping charges and two three-year concurrent sentences for the gun specifications. By law, the sentences for the original charges and gun specifications must be separate.
Obermiller’s attorney Rick Pitinii said he instructed his client not to make a statement at sentencing because he’s still involved in the pending criminal case regarding Howard.
A female family member of Obermiller broke out in tears as Obermiller was led away from the courtroom in his jail jumpsuit. She and other family members left the courtroom and declined to comment.
Pitinii said Obermiller will be held at the Stark County Jail until he testifies at Howard’s trial, before he’s transferred to a state prison.
Last week, Michael A. Taylor, 20, of 837 W. Maple St. in North Canton, whom prosecutors called a lookout during the robbery, was sentenced to three years of probation. He had pleaded guilty to one count of attempted burglary and avoided a prison term. Taylor has also agreed to testify against Howard.
On Aug. 20, a 23-year-old man and his 20-year-old girlfriend told police that they awoke that morning to find two men in ski masks pointing handguns at their heads.
Police accused Howard and Obermiller of tying up the couple with duct tape, and police accused Howard of sexually assaulting the woman.
Howard, 20, of 5155 Portage St. NW in Jackson Township, was indicted this month on charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, rape and kidnapping with firearm specifications. Assistant Stark County Prosecutor Chryssa Hartnett said if convicted, he faces a potential 41-year prison sentence.
Howard has pleaded not guilty. He is being held at the Stark County Jail on bond of $250,000.
Heath told Obermiller that he would be supervised for up to five years after his release from prison.
Hartnett said Obermiller could seek early release from prison after serving 3 1/2 years, but there was no indication his request would be granted.