Andrew Butler and Christopher Avery

Beyond Guilt clients

Andrew Butler and Christopher Avery never imagined they would wind up in prison facing a twenty-year sentence for bank robbery. The two Cincinnati natives were enrolled in college during the summer of 2007: Andrew studied drama at the University of Toledo and Christopher majored in mechanical engineering at the University of Cincinnati.  Their prospects for success seemed bright.

But Andrew and Christopher made a fateful decision that altered the course of their lives. Short on tuition money, the they decided to rob two banks at gun point to pay for college. Although Andrew and Christopher did not physically injure the bank employees, they recognize the trauma the robbery victims suffered during the incidents. Both men accepted responsibility for their actions and pled guilty.  Despite having no prior criminal history, Andrew and Christopher received twenty-year sentences for their crimes.

What seemed like the end of their lives turned out to be only the beginning. After arriving in prison, Andrew and Christopher set about improving themselves. Each completed numerous rehabilitative programs and proved themselves to be model prisoners.

In January 2019, OJPC filed a judicial release motion on behalf of Andrew. A local criminal defense lawyer filed a judicial release motion for Christopher. Both men argued that they had served a significant sentence — more than eleven years each— and had rehabilitated themselves. Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Deters agreed and asked the court to release them.

On March 1, 2019, the court decided to release Andrew and Christopher and placed them on five years of probation, ordering that each complete their college education. The judge also ordered Andrew and Christopher to participate in a mentoring program OJPC is developing.

Andrew and Christopher are doing well. Both are working, volunteering and speaking to young people about the importance of thinking through the consequences of actions. Andrew and Christopher have paid their debt to society and will continue to make a meaningful difference in the community.

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