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Prison time ordered for man who pointed gun at deputies

| July 11, 2023

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (July 11, 2023) – We now know what happened in the moments before sheriff’s deputies shot and wounded a Newcomerstown area man after an hours-long standoff last summer.

37-year-old Phillip Mozena appears visibly agitated as he stands on top of his trailer with a katana in tactical drone footage shown during his sentencing in Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Monday. Assistant Prosecutor Scott Deedrick played and narrated the video that went on to show Mozena climbing down from the trailer, going inside, re-emerging with a shotgun, and aiming it at the deputies.

“That’s the situation they found themselves in. I think they did everything and more to try to prevent this situation from being what it ended up being but in the end, that’s what occurred. And fortunately, no officers were injured but clearly at the point where Mozena takes cover behind the trailer and is now pointing the firearm at the law enforcement officers, he left them with no choice.”

Mozena was in court Monday to be punished for attempted murder, felonious assault, and unlawfully possessing a dangerous ordnance for a homemade pipebomb with shrapnel taped to it authorities found inside his trailer after the incident.

“And this is something that he made himself that was in his trailer and that every day he went in and out of his trailer – whether he was high or not – he saw that there and left it there. And again, fortunately that device didn’t go off and no one was killed or injured.”

Mozena pleaded guilty to the charges in May after dropping his request for a second sanity evaluation. Deedrick didn’t doubt he was dealing with serious mental health issues related to his time in the military that he exacerbated by forgoing treatment and self-medicating with meth and LSD.

“And despite the intervention of his family and the sheriff’s office and everything that transpired, at that point in time he was willing to take people’s lives.”

Judge Michael Ernest imposed Mozena’s punishment, ordering a mandatory 3 years in prison for the gun specification attached to the charges and up to 7.5 total. 

“I sincerely wish you the best of luck. I understand you’ve dealt with these problems in a way that has brought this about. I just hope you’re able to deal with them better in the future.”

Mozena will be eligible for release midway through the second half of his prison term. However, whether that happens will be up to Ernest, who said he will only agree to let Mozena out if he follows the rules and doesn’t cause problems.

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