Man already serving time waiting for trial on burglary charges

EAST PALESTINE — An East Palestine man already serving a year in prison for trafficking in drugs is still awaiting trial on charges of felony burglary and theft in a separate case in which he claimed he committed the crimes because he was held at gunpoint by his drug dealer.

Brian F. Buckley, 23, South Washington Street, was charged in Mahoning County with breaking into a New Springfield home in August and stealing a TV, jewelry and cash.

A jury trial through the Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on those charges was originally scheduled for Oct. 31, but was continued when Buckley waived his right to a speedy trial. As of last week, the trial had not been rescheduled, although a pretrial has been set for Dec. 1.

Buckley had told New Springfield police he committed the crimes after his dealer gave him “dope” earlier that day and then took him to a home on East South Range Road.

Buckley claimed to be high most of the time and did not remember details of the burglary, but that his dealer held him at gunpoint and told him they were “going to the country” to get more guns.

He identified the dealer only as a man named T and said T took him to a home on East South Range Road where he held him at gunpoint and told him to knock on the door.

They moved on to another home in the 3200 block of East South Range Road after a man opened the door and did not believe Buckley’s story about leaving property there.

At the next home he said the dealer again held him at gunpoint and told him to break in. They both went inside after they realized the door was unlocked and took the TV and jewelry and between $300 and $400 in cash.

Buckley was charged with second-degree felony and first-degree misdemeanor theft.

In September, Buckley was sentenced to 12 months in prison through the Columbiana Common Pleas Court on four counts of trafficking in drugs, all fourth-degree felonies, for offering to sell less than a gram of heroin and less than five grams of cocaine in the vicinity of a school on Dec. 18, 2014 and Jan. 20, 2015.

His indictment was included in a slew of 88 others indicted by the grand jury on drug-related charges in 2015.