9 years for driver of drive-by shooting

LISBON — Joseph Reed, the driver during a drive-by shooting in the Rogers area, was sentenced to nine years in prison by Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge Scott Washam Thursday morning.

“You might not have fired the weapon, but you were right there and you had a chance to stop it,” Washam told Reed during the sentencing.

Reed, 24, Scotts Mill Road, Rogers, had pleaded guilty in March to complicity to attempted murder, complicity to felonious assault and complicity to improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation.

On Oct. 16, 2017, Reed and Nicholas J. Voigt went to the home of Matthew Thomas Casto. Reed was behind the wheel and Voigt used a 22-caliber shotgun to fire numerous rounds toward a window where Casto was known to sleep. At least one of the rounds struck Casto in the head.

Casto declined to attend the hearing and when Washam asked about the Casto’s condition, Chief Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said Casto recovered quite quickly. However, he said Voigt encouraged the situation and it could have ended up much worse.

“Given the number of shots fired toward the area where he was sleeping, it’s quite miraculous that he was not killed,” Gamble said.

Defense attorney Bruce Williams said although he did not want to make light of the seriousness of the crime, the shot just “grazed” Casto.

Before sentencing, Reed said he has been attending counseling and church while at the county jail. He apologized to his family, which was there to support him.

“I’m not a bad person,” Reed said. “I never meant to hurt anyone. I made a bad mistake.”

Reed’s sister, Jewel Reed, told Washam while she knows her brother messed up, she also said he was influenced by others into doing this. She noted Voigt has picked up additional felony charges while he has been in the county jail, while her brother has not.

“He’s not cut out for prison,” she told Washam. “Nine years is a long time to be without my brother.”

Reed’s friend, Elija Allen, said he considers Reed like a brother and called him a “good, kind-hearted person” who has a child who needs a father.

Reed’s mother, Starlynn Reed, agreed that the mother of her son’s baby is going to lose the child because she does not have any help. She continued that her son has never really been in trouble and has always struggled.

Gamble had stated Reed’s life so far had been “a waste” noting he did not work hard in school, has not gotten a GED, has a drug problem and quits or loses jobs because he just does not show up. Starlynn Reed said her son was bullied in school because he was poor and did not have the right type of clothes growing up. She said he used to beg her not to make him go to school.

However, she noted he started using drugs and alcohol to cope after being the one who at age 17 identified his father after he had a heart attack and crashed a vehicle. Additionally, she said Reed cared for his grandmother when she became sick.

“He got on drugs and alcohol because of all the struggles of life,” Starlynn Reed said. “This was a big eye opener for him.”

Washam said he it is unfortunate what Reed has gone through in life, but added everyone faces bad things at some point.

Reed was credited with 242 days already served on his sentence.

Voigt, 22, Taylor Road, Negley, pleaded guilty in April to attempted murder with a firearms specification, felonious assault and discharging a firearm into a habitation. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20. Voigt has since been charged with felonious assault, complicity to felonious assault and tampering with evidence for alleged activities at the county jail.