A Columbus man was sentenced to three years in prison Tuesday morning after he pleaded guilty to his 12th OVI charge in June.
Robert Lee Ellis, 50, admitted in Delaware County Common Pleas Court on June 30 that he had been driving while intoxicated when he was pulled over by state troopers for speeding on April 30 and charged with operating a vehicle under the influence.
As part of a plea negotiation with prosecutors, Ellis pleaded guilty to one charge of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, a third-degree felony. He had originally pleaded not guilty.
A breath test revealed that Ellis had a blood-alcohol content of .215, more than twice Ohio’s legal limit of .08, troopers reported.
Ellis appeared in court on Tuesday morning to be sentenced on the OVI charge by visiting Judge Roger Wilson. Wilson is a retired common pleas court judge from Champaign County and was filling in for Delaware County Common Pleas Judge David Gormley.
Assistant Delaware County Prosecutor Amelia Bean-DeFlumer asked Wilson to give Ellis the maximum sentence for the charge, 36 months in prison, because “it’s pretty clear he needs to be shown this is not acceptable.”
Bean-DeFlumer added that this is Ellis’ 12 OVI conviction since the 1980s.
Ellis’ attorney, Adam Chaundry, said that Ellis is a private contractor and stands to lose his house and business if sentenced to a lengthy prison term. Chaundry asked Wilson to sentence Ellis to probation or to allow Ellis to apply for judicial release after serving part of his prison term and be placed in a Columbus treatment facility for alcohol.
Wilson reviewed the pre-sentence report regarding Ellis and said that — based on statements made by Ellis’ girlfriend — he believed Ellis was “a mean drunk” and said he would not be suitable for probation.
Wilson then sentenced Ellis to serve the maximum sentence, three years in prison, but added that, after he serves 120 days in jail, he can apply for judicial release and may be placed in an alcohol treatment program.
Wilson also credited Ellis the 102 days he has spent in the Delaware County Jail since his arrest in April.
Ellis was driving under a suspended license at the time of his arrest and Wilson added an additional three-year suspension.
Ellis was also ordered to pay a fine of $2,000.
Ellis was in the county jail Tuesday, awaiting transport to the Ohio Department of Corrections.
At the change-of-plea hearing in June, Gormley detailed Ellis’ prior OVI convictions which included convictions in Franklin County Common Pleas Court in 2008, misdemeanor convictions in Franklin Municipal Court in 2007, twice in 2001, 1993, 1991, 1990, 1986, twice in 1985 and one conviction misdemeanor in Madison Municipal Court in 1987.
As part of the plea agreement, another OVI felony was dismissed, along with a misdemeanor OVI charge.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.