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Attacker offered plea deal

Alex Green • May 19, 2014 at 11:49 AM

An assault victim who spent three days in intensive care has been joined by his distraught mother and a Port Clinton police detective in blasting a plea deal that Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan offered the alleged attacker. 

According to police and the victim — Adam Mitchell, 28, of Port Clinton — Mulligan offered Jeremiah Johnson, 25, of Port Clinton, the chance to plead guilty to aggravated assault, a fourth-degree felony.   

In February, Johnson allegedly used a whiskey bottle to attack Mitchell at a party. Mitchell suffered two lacerations on his skull and bleeding on the brain. He was in intensive care for three days, and also spent more time in the hospital later. 

Mulligan has apparently ceased communication with the Register, making it impossible to immediately confirm the plea deal. Online court records shed no light on the case. 

But Port Clinton police Detective Corbin Carpenter has plenty to say about the matter.

Johnson was originally charged with felonious assault, but it was quickly upgraded to attempted murder.  

Now, this latest apparent offer — an aggravated assault charge — carries a maximum prison sentence of just 18 months. 

Carpenter was heavily critical of Mulligan's handling of the case and his decision to lessen Johnson's charge to a fourth-degree felony.

Be sure to pick up Sunday's Register for a story on the ultimatum Mulligan gave the Register, in which he said he would stop talking to the newspaper if coverage wasn't more "fair." He has since failed to discuss a number of important cases in the county. 

"The judicial system has failed this family," Carpenter said. "(Mulligan) didn't consult me. He didn't consult the family. It is the most perplexing plea deal (I've ever seen)."

Carpenter said Johnson was perhaps let off easily because of his weapon of choice — still an inexcusable reason, Carpenter said, considering the amount of damage that can be done with a whiskey bottle.

Mitchell's family knows just how deadly a bottle can be. They also said they suspect Johnson will only get a symbolic slap on the wrist.

"He's not going to learn anything," said Rhonda Taylor, Mitchell's mother. "He has a history. He'll do it again to someone else."

As Mulligan seems to be avoiding the public eye, Mitchell and his family are left with astronomical medical bills from the attack. And they, too, are having trouble communicating with Mulligan.

"(Mulligan) called me and told me he made the decision," Mitchell said. "I guess he is going for something that is easier to get a conviction."

But it's unacceptable, Mitchell said, and justice is the only thing he can ask for at this point. He said he's doing a lot better, but his family and doctors are still concerned about his longterm memory loss.

"I got stabbed in the back by the prosecutor," Mitchell said.

Johnson has been convicted of two previous assault-related charges in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court — once in 2007 for felonious assault, then again in 2008 for attempted felonious assault.

So where's Mulligan? It seems he has launched an anti-communication policy with the Register, making good on an apparent threat he made during a recent interview about the county's drug task force.

On Friday, one of Mulligan's employees left a message with a Register reporter and said Mulligan was not in the office and would not be calling back.

Mulligan did not return calls about separate cases Wednesday or Thursday, either.

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