December 21, 2014

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Judge bans Avon Lake man from grandma’s house, city

Nathan Whitler

Nathan Whitler

AVON LAKE — A man who resides with his grandmother in Avon Lake was banned from living in the city as a condition of his bond.

Nathan Whitler, 23, is awaiting sentencing on an aggravated trespass conviction. He was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, but the sentencing hearing was pushed back to Sept. 17.

Whitler pleaded no contest to the trespass charge, stemming from a June 23 incident in which Whitler reportedly broke into a York Street home through a back window.

Avon Lake Municipal Court Judge Darrel Bilancini said he questioned whether he had the authority to ban someone from living in the city, but he said Whitler and his attorney agreed to the conditions of the bond.

Bilancini added that Whitler was planning to move from the city after numerous problems between him and his neighbors.

“It’s been an issue, apparently, for some time that neighbors had been in fear of him,” he said.

Under Whitler’s bond through Avon Lake Municipal Court, he is banned from living with his grandmother, who he resided with on Beck Road, but he is not banned from being in the area. Bilancini said the court system gives judges a wide discretion on conditions of bond and judges have been able to ban people from specific neighborhoods, homes or from contacting certain people.

“As long as he is obligated to come back to court, that bond can be maintained,” Bilancini said.

Bilancini said he does not know if the bond will be continued after Whitler is sentenced, but he said it is troubling that the city’s prosecutor received so many calls from residents about Whitler.

Avon Lake Prosecutor John Reulbach Jr. acknowledged that he has received numerous calls from concerned residents about Whitler. A neighbor suspected Whitler of throwing a brick through her window, but there wasn’t enough evidence to link him to the crime.

Reulbach said Whitler’s attorney, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday, suggested that it might be better if Whitler left the area.

“I think the attorney kind of suggested that it would be a better situation if he lived elsewhere,” he said. “It’s almost as if the idea originated with his attorney.”

Bilancini said Whitler acknowledged his problems and has been working to “turn his life around.”

Court records show that Whitler has numerous past convictions, including receiving stolen property in 2008 and 2011. He was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay restitution to the victim for a vandalism and breaking and entering conviction in 2011.

Whitler also is accused of robbery by Cleveland police, a case now moving through the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.