Butler County RV business owner sentenced to probation in wife’s assault

Updated: Feb. 24, 2020 at 10:51 AM EST
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HAMILTON (FOX19) - A Butler County businessman was sentenced Monday to five years probation in connection with a violent assault on his wife.

RV Nation owner Jeffrey Couch, 52, also must serve 100 hours of community service and pay a $1,500 fine, Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Oster Jr. ordered.

Couch was convicted last month of a felony charge of aggravated assault. All other charges were dismissed: two counts of felonious assault and one count each of attempted felonious assault and misdemeanor domestic violence.

“I would like to apologize to my wife and kids,” Couch told the judge in court Monday. “I take full responsibility for the night, I’m sorry.”

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said in court the fact Couch accepts responsibility for his actions that night was a ‘key factor’ in determining a disposition.

"The road to redemption begins with a good act of contrition," Gmoser said.

Couch’s attorney, Scott Croswell, said Couch completed alcohol and anger management counseling.

“Jeff is a really good person, but it is amazing to see a good person make an emotional, alcohol-fueled decision that can change the rest of your life. In a 10-second moment of his life, his world was turned upside down,” Croswell said.

Last month, the judge permitted Couch to move back to his home at the private, gated Wetherington country club/golf course subdivision off Tylersville Road near Interstate 75.

At that time, he also ordered him to wear an electronic monitoring device on his ankle only to detect if alcohol was in his system.

On Monday, the judge urged Couch to make the community service hours count.

“Jeff does accept responsibility,” Croswell said in court. “He does not have hard feelings towards anyone. He wants to try to move forward in his life in a positive fashion.”

Prosecutors had said they were not seeking jail time, noting that Couch has accepted responsibility and completed alcohol and anger management classes.

In a lengthy, two-page prosecutor’s statement to the court, Gmoser also alluded - in a bit of a rare move - that Ohio’s governor has the power to pardon Couch.

“With the defendant’s unique ability to do good work to benefit society and remain free from similar conduct, I leave it to him to prove himself as an appropriate candidate for such consideration,” Gmoser wrote.

Read the sentencing memo here:

West Chester Township police arrested Couch on March 2, 2019, when they responded to his home after reports his wife was screaming.

“We were in the neighborhood, at a friend’s house. My daughter’s been home and hearing screaming and shouting and 'help me,” said the 911 caller.

Gmoser has said the couple fought in their driveway after a night of drinking, and Couch snapped.

His wife told West Chester police he punched her in the face multiple times and “slammed her head" onto a paved driveway multiple times causing serious physical harm,” according to a copy of a criminal complaint.

If the case had gone to trial, the jury was expected to hear an audio recording of the attack and his wife’s screams.

It was recorded by Couch’s neighbor after hearing what was going on through a bedroom window, court records show.

RELATED | Butler Co. businessman pleads guilty to felony assault charge in wife’s attack | Jury will hear audio recording of Butler County RV business owner’s alleged attack on wife

While Couch was locked up at the Butler County Jail the weekend of his arrest, West Chester Joel Herzog asked a high-ranking official at the Butler County Sheriff’s Office to visit Couch “as a friend” at the jail, the sheriff told FOX19 NOW last year.

Sheriff Richard Jones said the request surprised him. He didn’t permit it and alerted the prosecutor.

Gmoser said West Chester police conducted a “complete and professional investigation." Then he took the case directly to a grand jury to ensure transparency.

RELATED | Sheriff: 'I refused’ police chief’s ‘inappropriate’ request to visit Butler Co business owner in jail ‘as a friend’ | Butler County RV business owner indicted on 3 felonies in alleged violent attack on wife | Court docs: Butler Co business owner slammed wife’s head 'onto a paved driveway multiple times

The night Couch was arrested, he name-dropped the police chief and other top law enforcement officials, according to police body camera video recently released to FOX19 NOW.

Couch also told police what he thinks should happen to him, the footage shows: “I probably should go to jail. I am just saying she thinks I am a whatever? I am just telling you I need to talk to someone to tell them we got into an argument. It wasn’t good. She’s fine. I’m fine.”

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