New court ruling shaves 3 years off man's 34-year sentence

May 22—LIMA — A Lima man sentenced in 2017 to 34 years in prison for trafficking in marijuana and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity was back in court Monday, albeit via a video hook-up from prison.

James Benvenuto, now 58 years of age, was back in front of Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Reed for a re-sentencing hearing after a federal court ruled the local court erred when it failed to merge two of the more than four dozen charges against him for sentencing purposes.

The higher court said two of the 58 counts against Benvenuto should have been combined at the time of sentencing. The ruling shaved three years off Benvenuto's 34-year sentence.

Benvenuto was indicted in October of 2016 on 53 counts of trafficking in marijuana, fifth degree felonies; two counts of trafficking in marijuana with specifications for forfeiture of money and property in a drug case, felonies of the third degree; possession of hashish with specifications for forfeiture of money and property in a drug case, a third-degree felony; and engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony.

He entered a negotiated plea of no contest to reduced charges.

Benvenuto appeared at Monday's hearing via video hook-up from the North Central Correctional Institution in Marion.