Zepeda sentenced to 30 days in jail, five years community controlWritten by Sarah Ottney | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
BOWLING GREEN — Star 105 radio host Andrew Zepeda was sentenced to 30 days in jail and five years community control, including no bars or alcohol, for three felony charges related to a 2010 break-in at his former business.
He was sentenced Dec. 20 by Judge Alan Mayberry of the Wood County Court of Common Pleas in Bowling Green.
Zepeda was convicted of the felonies Oct. 26 after violating the terms of his two-year intervention in lieu of probation period by participating in a celebrity boxing match fundraiser on Sept. 13 at which alcohol was present.
Zepeda’s 30-day sentence starts Jan. 21 at the Wood County Justice Center. He is allowed to apply for work release, which would allow him to continue hosting “Andrew Z in the Morning: The People’s Show.” The show has been on Cumulus since July 2011, starting at 100.7 The Vibe and moving to Star 105 in March.
In asking the court to place Zepeda on probation, Zepeda’s attorney, Beau Harvey, brought up Zepeda’s job, wife and two children, family and community support, lack of prior offenses and work with charitable causes.
Harvey also pointed to Zepeda’s successes during his intervention in lieu of conviction, including completing an alcohol treatment program, attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and obtaining employment.
“I believe that Mr. Zepeda has made quite a number of strides and will continue to do so,” Harvey said.
Gwen Howe-Gebers, chief assistant with the Wood County Prosecuting Attorney, who spoke for the prosecution, recommended community control based on Zepeda’s lack of criminal history and the likelihood he would continue paying back the more than $20,000 in restitution he still owes if able to keep his job.
In addressing the judge, Zepeda, 43, of Perrysburg admitted he has made bad choices.
“You gave me a gift when you gave me an opportunity with the in lieu program and I stepped too close to the line,” Zepeda said.
“You’ve given me an opportunity here and I screwed it up — for my family, and my coworkers and for everyone else. There were bad decisions made and I realize that and there’s no one to blame but myself.”
Mayberry agreed, but further scolded Zepeda:
“Your characterization of getting too close to the line — mine might be that you were sticking your toe over the line to see what would happen and that’s why we’re here today,” Mayberry said.
“It seems like you have a problem when someone has control over your situation,” Mayberry said. “In closing the restaurant and locking you out, someone else had control over your situation and you took it to what you thought you should do. Likewise here, when the court tells you you can’t be somewhere with alcohol, you took it to the point you thought it should be.”
In announcing his sentence, Mayberry noted that Zepeda has “not responded favorably to the sanctions that have been imposed so far,” but acknowledged he has no prior convictions, is employed and was found to be at a low risk for recidivism.
He also noted that Zepeda’s three offences — theft, complicity to breaking and entering, and failure to remit sales tax — are class 4 and class 5 felonies, which typically result in community control.
All conditions of Zepeda’s current supervision continue into the community control. For the next five years, Zepeda may not consume alcoholic beverages, be in any establishments where alcohol is served or associate with anyone on probation, parole, community control or who have been convicted of a felony. He also must maintain lawful employment and pay the remainder of his restitution at a rate of $400 per month.
“Mr. Zepeda, if you violate the conditions of your community control again, then we’re in a different position,” Mayberry warned. “I am reserving the right to impose on count one an 18-month prison sentence, an 18-month prison sentence on count two and 12 months on count three. Understand?”
Zepeda and Harvey declined comment when leaving the courtroom.
Zepeda was charged with theft, complicity to breaking and entering, and failure to remit sales tax in November 2010 in connection with an October break-in at Andrew Z’s Sportz Pizzeria at Levis Commons. In December 2010, Clear Channel did not renew Zepeda’s contract as host of “Andrew Z in the Morning” on 92.5 KISS FM.
On Feb. 4, 2011, Zepeda pleaded guilty to the three felonies and was granted entry into an intervention program for alcohol abuse, which he completed in May 2011. The charges would have been cleared from his record upon successfully completing his two-year supervision period. However, violating any conditions meant he would face the charges again.
In July 2011, Mayberry found that Zepeda violated the terms of his intervention by being filmed drinking what appeared to be champagne in a music video for a local artist in May, talking to patrons outside the Fat Fish Blue/Funny Bone Comedy Club at Levis Commons in June and entering Fat Fish Blue/Funny Bone in July.
At the time, Mayberry scolded Zepeda for “thumbing his nose” at the court system, but allowed Zepeda to continue with the intervention program. He warned Zepeda that another violation would result in a conviction.
That violation occurred Sept. 13 at the celebrity boxing event. Upon being found in violation, Zepeda’s intervention was terminated and his 2010 guilty pleas became convictions.