Bedford man given 25-to-life sentence

WARREN — A Bedford man convicted by a Trumbull County jury of two counts of rape and three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor was given a 25-year-to-life prison term.

Craig Gillette, 29, remained silent Monday morning as Trumbull County Common Pleas Court Judge Peter J. Kontos handed him the sentence that gives the defendant a chance for parole after 25 years.

On Oct. 29, the jury deliberated for about six-and-a-half hours before returning the guilty verdicts against Gillette, who was accused of sexually assaulting a pre-teen girl.

If Gillette is paroled, as a Tier 3 sexual offender, he must register his home and work addresses with the sheriff’s office every six months for life, Kontos said.

Testimony in the four-day trial centered around allegations of sexual intercourse with a girl who was 12 in the fall of 2012. The sexual activity continued through October 2013 in two locations, a Beal Street NW address in Warren and in Bristolville. The girl, who is now 17, testified at trial. However, neither she nor her family gave any impact statements in court prior to sentencing Monday.

The key piece of evidence against Gillette was a videotaped interview of him by Warren police Detective Nick Carney. When questioned whether he had a sexual relationship with the girl, the video showed Gillette responded with questions about how much time he could be looking at.

As the questioning continued, Gillette indicated he wanted to speak to an attorney. Carney then ended the interview, but as they were leaving the interview room, the video showed that Gillette said, “I knew this was going to come out.”

Court records showed Gillette had been labeled a Tier 2 sex offender from a December 2008 conviction on an unlawful sexual conduct charge in Cuyahoga County. The sex offender status required him to register his address with the sheriff in his county of residence every six months for 25 years. A Cuyahoga County court record showed Gillette in May 2013 pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to notify the sheriff of a change of address, for which he was placed on probation.