The alleged leader of a violent home invasion in Oak Harbor last December will spend the next 14 years in prison.
Paul Thebeau, 22, Port Clinton, got the maximum sentence allowable by law Monday when he stood before Ottawa County Common Pleas Court Judge Bruce Winters to answer for crimes committed over a pack of missing cigarettes.
He had pleaded guilty in March to one count of felony aggravated robbery and intimidating a witness. Eight other charges were dropped in exchange for the plea, court records show.
He has since been sent to a sorting center where state prison authorities will determine where he will begin life behind bars.
Prior to his sentencing, Thebeau professed remorse for the Dec. 5 incident, claimed he had found God and had reached the fourth step of the 12 steps of sobriety, Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan said.
His victims were in the courtroom but did not speak to the court.
Moments after the judge handed down the sentence, Thebeau said “This sucks” and directed an obscene statement at Winters, the prosecutor said.
Thebeau is said to have orchestrated the rampage at the village home with three companions, Cody McClanahan, 19, and Steve Ryf, 21, both of Oak Harbor, and Travis Edwards, of Port Clinton.
The evening began with the foursome celebrating a birthday at another home in Oak Harbor along with one of the victims. That fifth person left the party and Thebeau later found cigarettes missing, according to police and court reports.
Thebeau sent the others to the victim’s house to reclaim his property. They reportedly went in the house and found the cigarettes in a coat pocket while the man was sleeping and left. Hours later, Thebeau, who had been drinking, became angry over the incident and insisted on going to the victim’s home again. McClanahan came along but the other two reportedly claimed they were threatened into taking part in the break-in and feared for the lives of their children, according to police reports.
Around 3 a.m., they banged on the door and then forced their way in when the father of the house partially opened the door. The force knocked the father up against the wall and the assailants took turns punching the person who had been at the party, police reported.
Thebeau also claimed that the victim owned him $1,200, which the victim later claimed was untrue. The then group rounded up the house occupants, smashed their cell phones with a frying pan and threatened their lives repeatedly, said Sgt. Robert Paulsen in the days directly after the break-in.
During those moments, Thebeau put a knife to the throats of two of the victims, police reports show.
“The family is this case was terrified for their lives,” Mulligan said.
Authorities rounded up three within days of the invasion and McClanahan turned himself into police.
McClanahan, Ryf and Edwards will be sentenced May 22.