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60-year-old sentenced to 25 years for rape

A Damascus man has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to rape

Thomas D. Ward, 60, was charged in June 2013 with raping a 12-year-old girl. Circuit Judge Charles Clawson sentenced Ward on Monday.

The case was originally a 2nd Division case assigned to Judge Michael Maggio, but Clawson is now handling all that division’s criminal cases. Maggio, who is under investigation for chat messages and PAC contributions, is still a judge but has been stripped of all his cases.

A second man was sentenced to prison Monday as well. Robert Sowell, 65, of Shirley received 24 months in the Department of Correction after pleading guilty to sexual assault of a minor.

In other circuit court cases from Monday and last Thursday:

• Michael E. Burdin, 57, of Damascus, will be back in court on May 5 on a theft of property felony charge. According to court documents, Burdin was the treasurer for the Holland Cemetery Fund in Gravesville when other committee members discovered that about $17,000 was missing. In a statement to investigators, Burdin said he had used some of the money to gamble, but intended to pay it back.

• Heather Paxson pleaded not guilty to a residential burglary charge. She was arrested after Van Buren County Scott Bradley posted a video of a woman trying to kick in a door and asked the public for help. Paxson will be back in court for pretrial on July 1.

• Timothy Turnbow, 51, was sentenced to three years probation after pleading guilty to false imprisonment-first degree, terroristic threatening-first degree and domestic battering-third degree. Turnbow already was on probation from 2011 when he faced several drug charges. He was ordered to report to the county jail on June 1 to finish serving a 120-day sentence. He already has served 82 days.

• Charles Slack, 42, received a 60-month prison sentence with another 60 months suspended after pleading guilty to theft by receiving and possession of firearms by certain persons. He will receive credit for 140 days he has served in jail. Slack was denied his request to be out on bond while awaiting an open prison bed.

• Clay Edward Shaver, 50, was ordered held without bond while he awaits a parole revocation hearing on May 5.

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