James M. Phillips sitting in court with his Attorney Chris Woodworth, signs his guilty plea in court last Thursday, Jan. 9 - Putnam Sentinel
James M. Phillips sitting in court with his Attorney Chris Woodworth, signs his guilty plea in court last Thursday, Jan. 9. (Putnam Sentinel/Martin Verni)

PUTNAM COUNTY — Last Thursday, Jan. 9, at a pre-trial hearing in Common Pleas Court, James M. Phillips, 39, of Toledo, changed his plea to guilty on aggravated robbery and kidnapping charges. A pre-sentencing report was also ordered, and a sentencing should be scheduled in the near future.

On Nov. 2, 2019, Mr. Phillips abducted Addie Kiene of Columbus Grove outside the village’s Dollar General store. He then forced her to drive north on St. Rte. 65 in an effort, he said last Thursday, to reach Toledo. Between Columbus Grove and Ottawa, Ms. Kiene, invoking her Christian faith, convinced Mr. Phillips to release her on a side road. He then took her vehicle and sped off.

A few days later, On Nov. 5, 2019, Mr. Phillips turned himself into the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office, and was then transported back to Putnam to face the consequences of his actions.

“I’m relieved that it’s going to be over soon,” Ms. Kiene said following the guilty plea. She attended the hearing along with supporters. When asked about that support during this ordeal, Ms. Kiene responded, “It feels good to be from a small town, and know that people come together when needed.”

Assistant Prosecutor Todd Schroeder also shared his thoughts following the guilty plea, saying, “For Putnam County residents, this sort of offense is, thankfully, something that does not occur often. But, what this guilty plea and subsequent sentencing means is that when it does happen in Putnam County, we take it seriously.”

“Anyone who attempts to commit these sort of offenses in Putnam County will face the consequences for doing so. In this case, Mr. Phillips will face the possibility of 27.5 years in prison. The plea deal offered by the state in this case, if accepted by the court, will expose him 11-15 years. And so, my expectation is he will likely get between 11 and 15 years in prison.”

“I think that’s a good result for the victim. It’s a good result for the county. It guarantees that he is being held accountable, as opposed to being put in the hands of a jury. And, it saves the taxpayer money and resources from Putnam County for resolving it by way of plea.”