Staff Writer

An 18-year-old was sentenced Monday to community control for her “minimal” involvement in an armed robbery carried out last summer in Findlay.

Kelsey M. Murfield, of Delaware, Ohio, was sentenced by Judge Jonathan Starn to five years of community control, subject to basic supervision, for theft of drugs, a fourth-degree felony.

She pleaded guilty to that amended charge in February.

Starn reserved a 16-month prison sentence and deferred 90 days in the Hancock County jail until they are necessary. Murfield must make restitution of $40 to the victim and pay a $500 fine.

She previously spent 23 days in jail for her role in the robbery.

Murfield and three others — Tyrone L. Taylor, 20, of Tiffin; Roderick C. Michael Jr., 20, of Columbus; and Russell G. Ellis, 21, of Tiffin — were all originally indicted for aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, with a firearms specification.

All of the charges carried that specification because all of the defendants knew about the weapon in advance, Hancock County Prosecutor Phil Riegle said when the group was indicted in July 2018.

The four of them took a pair of Nike Air Jordan shoes and some marijuana from a victim on July 11, 2018, though not all were equally involved.

Murfield had “extremely minimal involvement,” defense attorney Drew Wortman said Monday, and she has no previous criminal record.

Her car was used the night of the robbery, but it “wasn’t until they got to Findlay and picked up the other two co-defendants that she realized what the purpose of their night out was,” Wortman said.

Starn agreed that Murfield’s role was “by far the most minimal.” She stayed in the car during the robbery while the other three got out, he said.

However, as Wortman and Starn both noted, Murfield did allow her cellphone to be used by the others to send a message to lure the victim to the parking lot behind Domino’s on North Main Street, where the robbery took place.

“The disturbing part about it is, is where you write about hearing what they were going to do, realizing what was about to happen, and then you continued, to the point where they ask you for your cellphone to lure somebody to the parking lot so they could be robbed, and you handed it over,” Starn said, referring to a written statement by Murfield about the events of July 11.

While she may have been scared, she didn’t try to leave the situation or prevent the robbery, Starn said.

“The minute you knew, and did nothing to get out of it, to prevent it, or to jump out of the car and run in the other direction, everything else after that is on you, just like it’s on them,” Starn said.

And she could have been responsible for much more, if the robbery had gone differently.

“If that gun had gone off” or “if somebody had been more seriously injured, we would be having a different discussion,” Starn said.

Murfield said Monday she is “truly sorry for what happened.”

Ellis pleaded guilty in December to an amended charge of robbery, a second-degree felony, with a firearm specification, and was sentenced by Starn to four years in prison.

Taylor pleaded guilty in February to an amended charge of robbery, a third-degree felony, with no firearms specification, and will be sentenced May 9.

Michael and his lawyer entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity in March and requested that his competency to stand trial be evaluated.

Starn is the judge in all of their cases.

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