BOWLING GREEN — Star 105 morning host Andrew Zepeda was uncharacteristically silent — but smiling — as he left a Wood County courtroom Thursday morning.
Zepeda, 43, of Perrysburg was facing up to four years in prison for charges relating to a 2010 break-in he orchestrated at the Levis Commons pizzeria he formerly owned.
But at the request of the prosecution and defense, Common Pleas Judge Alan Mayberry sentenced Zepeda to 30 days in the Wood County jail and placed him on probation for five years.
Judge Mayberry said Zepeda would not have to begin serving the jail time until Jan. 21 and said he could apply for work release, which would allow him to go to work every morning and return to the jail afterward.
Judge Mayberry ordered him to continue alcohol treatment, continue working, and continue repaying the $41,000 he owes the state in back sales tax from the defunct Andrew Z’s Pizzeria.
“If the rules that are imposed today are violated, then you’re further narrowing the options available to the court,” Judge Mayberry warned Zepeda.
For the next five years, the judge said, Zepeda is to refrain from consuming alcohol or being “in any establishments where alcohol is served,” which is the same issue that brought him to court Thursday.
Zepeda pleaded guilty in February, 2011, to theft, complicity to breaking and entering, and failure to remit sales tax, but Judge Mayberry granted Zepeda “intervention in lieu of conviction,” ordering him to undergo treatment for an alcohol problem and meet other conditions.
In October, the judge terminated Zepeda’s intervention plan and found him guilty of the charges after learning Zepeda had taken part in a celebrity boxing match in September where alcohol was served. Zepeda had violated the plan when he went to Fat Fish Blue/Funny Bone Comedy Club at Levis Commons, and was filmed drinking what appeared to be champagne in a music video shot at Quimby’s bar in Toledo.
“If you violate the conditions of your community control again, then we’re in a different position,” the judge told him. “I am reserving the right to impose on count one, 18 months prison sentence, 18 months prison sentence on count two, 12 months on count three. Understand?”
Before he was sentenced, Zepeda said he had made bad choices and was fully responsible for his actions.
“You gave me a gift when you gave me an opportunity with the [intervention] in lieu program and I stepped too close to the line,” he said. “That’s the bottom line.”
Judge Mayberry told Zepeda that as he saw it, “you were sticking your toe over the line to see what would happen” when not once, but twice, he was at events where alcohol was served.
Had Zepeda followed the rules and stayed away from alcohol, the judge said, he would not have felony convictions on his record as he does now.
Zepeda’s attorney, Beau Harvey, asked the court to consider his client's lack of prior criminal convictions, the fact that he is employed and has repaid roughly half of the $41,000 he owes the state, and that he, his wife, and two young children live in the community, support the community, and intend to stay here.
“I believe Mr. Zepeda has made quite a number of strides and will continue to do so” on probation, Mr. Harvey said.
Matt Spaulding, vice president and market manager of Cumulus Toledo, could not be reached for comment about the DJ's future at the station.
On his Facebook page, hours after the hearing, Zepeda posted, "Thanks for all ur kind words and prayers...im so lucky to live in such an amazing and caring community!! Talk with u in the morning for our last andrew z in the morning show of the year!!! And get ur tickets for our live andrew z in the morning holiday extravaganza! A night of comedy, music and fun at the toledo funny bone this sun night at 9!"
Zepeda was not on the air today, but said on his Facebook page that since he was to be on vacation next week, his employer let him start his vacation early.
“My bosses/company rock!!!!!” he wrote.
Gwen Howe-Gebers, chief assistant Wood County prosecutor, said after the hearing that because Zepeda had no prior criminal convictions and because the charges were fourth and fifth-degree felonies, she felt probation was appropriate.
She said she also considered the fact that if Zepeda lost his job and went to prison, it would be less likely he would repay the state for the remaining back sales tax.