MANSFIELD – The Mansfield man who was shot and killed by police officers Monday had been sentenced just days earlier to seven months in prison but was out because of a “fluke” in his paperwork, a Richland County Jail official said.
Mansfield police responded at 4:25 p.m. Monday to an apartment complex at 650 West Straub Road on a report that a man was breaking into an apartment. A caller said he believed the male was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, and that he was in possession of a box cutter.
Upon arrival at the apartment complex, Mansfield police officers confronted the man, later identified as Kenneth Cherry, 35, of Mansfield, who was described as highly agitated.
Police said he apparently had injured himself with a cutting instrument, according to a Mansfield Police Department news release.
“Officers deployed tasers that had no effect on the suspect’s actions,” the news release stated. “The confrontation then escalated and resulted in the suspect being fatally shot.”
Cherry appeared in Richland County Common Pleas Court on March 13 for a change-of-plea hearing where he also was sentenced on felony charges of receiving stolen property and grand theft of a motor vehicle, and criminal trespass, the latter a fourth-degree misdemeanor.
According to court records, a jury trial was scheduled to begin for Cherry on March 14.
Judge Phil Naumoff sentenced Cherry to seven months in prison on March 13 and ordered him to pay restitution of $825 and court costs, according to court records.
Cherry was initially incarcerated in the jail on the felony charges but was released from the Richland County Jail due to overcrowding on Feb. 13.
He was brought back into the jail on March 12, and booked in the early morning of March 13 on a different case after being picked up by Mansfield police on a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.
On March 13, Cherry was taken from the jail to the Richland County Courthouse for his change-of-plea hearing. He returned to jail and then went to Mansfield Municipal Court on his charge of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, where he was issued a personal recognizance bond, authorities said.
Capt. Chris Blunk, administrator of the Richland County Jail, said Tuesday that all the jail staff had on Cherry was the paperwork for the charge of unauthorized use.
“We had no legal documentation other than he was given the change of plea,” Blunk said.
Cherry’s court-appointed attorney was Ralph Bove.
“It was routine for me. He was sentenced. They let him out the side door of the courtroom and was in custody,” Bove said.
Officers Matt Davis, Thayne Telquist and Scott Kotterman were placed on administrative leave per department policy, and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal identification and Investigation is investigating the incident, according to the police news release.
None of the officers involved was injured.