Owens sentenced in connection with Smiley Johnson

STEUBENVILLE – Rolland Owens, 23, of Wintersville was placed on two years of probation on Tuesday by Jefferson County Common Pleas Judge Joseph Bruzzese Jr. after Owens pleaded guilty to improper transportation of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

The county prosecutor’s office dismissed a second charge of carrying a concealed weapon.

Owens was one of five people in a car that was shot at by Antonio “Smiley” Johnson, 23, of Steubenville with an assault rifle on July 2 on Orchard Avenue. Johnson was sentenced to 24 and one-half years in prison after being convicted of attempted murder and felonious assault. Each of those charges had specifications of Johnson committing the crimes while having a firearm, participating in a criminal gang and firing a gun from a motor vehicle. He also was found guilty of having a weapon as a convicted felon and improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle.

Owens, who was with Stedmund Creech, 23, of Steubenville in the car that was fired upon, was suspected of returning fire at Johnson. County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said gunshot residue was found on Owens’ pants after he turned himself into City Police about six hours after the shots were fired. A witness to the shots fired testified at Johnson’s trial she saw Owens and Creech with guns. One bullet hit the windshield of Johnson’s car. The gun police believe Owens had was never recovered.

Creech was indicted on three counts of having a weapon under disability and single counts of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle and carrying a concealed weapon. Police are still looking for Creech.

Owens trial was scheduled to begin on Tuesday before Bruzzese but the jury was dismissed after Owens pleaded guilty. He faces up to 18 months in prison if he violates probation.