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Standoff suspect drops insanity plea, admits to attempted murder, other charges

| May 26, 2023

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (May 26, 2023) – The man who got shot by sheriff’s deputies during an hours-long standoff near Newcomerstown last summer is guilty of attempted murder, felonious assault, and possessing a homemade pipe bomb.

Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Ernest made the finding Friday after 37-year-old Phillip Mozena withdrew his request for a second sanity evaluation and admitted to the crimes.

The August 3rd standoff on Mozena’s family’s property in Oxford Township started after his stepmother called 9-1-1 to report him shooting toward his father. It lasted for more than five hours, ending after Mozena reportedly acted aggressively toward deputies who responded by shooting him in the leg and shoulder. He’s facing a mandatory three years in prison and up to 14 total, although the prosecution has agreed to recommend 6 years in exchange for his guilty plea.

The psychologist who completed Mozena’s first evaluation found that he was legally sane at the time of the crimes. The second didn’t issue a formal opinion but told his public defender she agreed with the earlier finding. Mozena remains in jail and will return to court to learn his punishment in mid-July.

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