Cleveland man gets lesser sentence second time around

LISBON — Nathaniel Baker, 19, Cleveland, a reported member of the Heartless Felons Gang, received a lesser sentence the second time around when he was sentenced in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court.

Baker was convicted of two counts of possession of drugs following a jury trial in the courtroom of Judge Scott Washam in August 2016. According to the charges, Baker had heroin and fentanyl on May 12, 2016.

Washam sentenced him about a week after the trial to 30 months in prison.

However, at the time of the offense, Baker was only 17 years old. The Seventh District Court of Appeals ruled that even though Baker had a previous adult conviction in another county, he should have been sent to juvenile court on this case first, so it could be determined if he should be tried as an adult.

Baker was returned to Columbiana County Juvenile Court where it was ruled he should have his charges heard in adult court. Then he was indicted again in November on the same two possession of drugs charges.

On Friday morning, Baker appeared with his new defense attorney, James Wise, and pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of drugs. He requested immediate sentencing.

This time Washam sentenced Baker to 24 months in prison. According to Wise, Baker is an intelligent young man, and he believes his problems stem from being around the wrong people at an early age. At this point, Baker has been incarcerated since May 12, 2016, so with credit for time served, he will have only a couple months left to serve.

Prior to the sentencing on Friday, Baker apologized for having the drugs and said he had been in the “worst prison in Ohio” and he did not want to go back to prison.

Baker had been on probation from a Cuyahoga County case on May 12, 2016, when he was found in a Lincoln Avenue, East Liverpool, home with 6.35 grams of heroin and less than the bulk amount of fentanyl. The Cuyahoga County case involved various gang-related activities, including the charges Baker pleaded guilty to there — attempted robbery, extortion, assault and participating in criminal gang activity.

During the original trial, Baker had denied being apart of the Heartless Felons Gang in Cleveland, although he reportedly was one of 14 teenagers charged together as adults in Cuyahoga County for gang activity.