NORWICH – Two men set to face a jury with life sentences at stake appeared in closed conferences Wednesday in an attempt to arrange a last-ditch plea bargain. After over an hour of discussions, one of the defendants confessed in open court and is now prepared to testify against his alleged co-conspirator.
Stephen R. Ohl, 24, Cunningham Lawrence Road, Sherburne, will serve 18 years in state prison for his role in the December home invasion of a Sherburne woman’s residence which led to her violent sexual assault and robbery.
In exchange for 18 years in state prison, Ohl had to accept responsibility for the accused crimes and agree to testify against his alleged co-conspirator, Jonathan “Joe” Elwood, 29, of Ashcraft Road, Norwich, when he appears for jury trial on Monday.
If Ohl fails to fulfill his agreement, he will be sentenced to a more severe sentence that could be in excess of 50 years.
With the victim sitting in the courtroom, Ohl described the events that took place on the night of the attack. He paused repeatedly through an extensive statement, asking for a moment to collect himself before continuing. He said on the night in question, he and “Joe” (Elwood) were going to sell an assault rifle to a friend in Hamilton sometime after Ohl’s daughter’s birthday party. He admitted to drinking and “doing drugs” since the middle of the day and then going to a Hamilton party with Elwood to meet their buyer. The man decided not to purchase the weapon and Ohl and Elwood remained at his residence to join in on a party. The men then continued to consume alcohol and began brainstorming an idea to rob their Hamilton friend’s landlord, but decided against it.