MIAMI COUNTY — On Thursday, an elderly Casstown man entered a guilty by Alford plea in a plea agreement with the state to drop a first-degree felony rape charge in Miami County Common Pleas Court.
Norman Smock, 83, was arraigned by bill of information on a new charge of fourth-degree felony gross sexual imposition during the court hearing.
An Alford plea is a guilty plea in criminal court in which a defendant doesn’t admit to the criminal act, yet fears the consequences of the original charges.
He also will be labeled a Tier I sex offender. He will register annually for the next 15 years.
Miami County Sheriff’s Office Detective Todd Cooper testified to the facts of the case. The alleged crime was first reported on July 2018. Cooper interviewed the victim who was 7 years old at the time of the incident. Smock allegedly touched the girl inappropriately at Smock’s home. Smock also allegeldy made comments to law enforcement officials that his “hand slipped.”
Following the plea hearing and testimony, Miami County Assistant Prosecutor Paul Watkins dropped the first-degree felony rape of a minor charge, which carried a potential lifetime sentence. Smock was indicted by a grand jury last October, as part of the plea agreement. Watkins also said the state will remain silent, as part of the aggreement, at Smock’s sentencing on Aug. 1.
Smock’s defense attorney Thomas Kollin had previously requested a competency hearing. Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine Pratt reviewed the competency report and found Smock was competent to stand trial and found Smock did not suffer from mental illness.
Smock was ordered to complete a pre-sentence investigation. He will be sentenced on Aug. 1. He remains free on his own recognizance.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org
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