July 26, 2014

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Key witness ditches trial for lotto show

AKRON — A man chose to appear on the Ohio Lottery’s television game show rather than testify at a robbery trial, and prosecutors said they were forced to allow the suspect to plead guilty to lesser charges.

James Finch, 41, of Akron, was supposed to be the key witness in the case against William Archibald, who faced felony aggravated robbery and kidnapping charges, authorities said.

Archibald, 23, was accused of threatening Finch with a knife in Akron on May 13 and then tying him up and stealing his 1995 Dodge Intrepid, money and credit cards, said Jon Sinn, Archibald’s defense attorney.

Archibald was on trial July 31 when Finch opted to travel to Columbus to take a chance on winning $50,000 on the Ohio Lottery game show “Make Me Famous, Make Me Rich.” Finch won $1,366 on the show.

Prosecutors said they were forced to agree to a plea bargain with Archibald, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and driving with a suspended license. He received two years of probation.