Marion County Prosecutor requests special prosecutor to assist in capital murder case
- on Aug 27, 2022
Marion County Prosecutor Ray Grogan has requested that the Marion County Common Pleas Court assign a special prosecutor to assist him with a capital murder trial.
Christian Gutierrez, age 19, Marion, is accused of shooting and killing Charles A. Feliciano, age 27, Marion, during an incident that occurred on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 9 in a parking lot located in the 100 block of London Street, according to a report provided by the Marion Police Department. The case is scheduled to go to trial on May 18, 2023.
In the motion requesting the special prosecutor, Grogan is asking Marion County Common Pleas Court Judge Warren T. Edwards to approve the appointment of Attorney Mark R. Weaver to that role.
Weaver, described by Grogan as “an experienced felony prosecutor,” is a former deputy attorney general for the Ohio Attorney General and a former assistant prosecutor for the Adams County Prosecutor’s Office in southern Ohio. He served as a special prosecutor in the high-profile case of convicted serial killer Shawn Grate, who is now on death row at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution.
According to the motion, which was filed with Judge Edwards on Friday, Grogan states that Weaver’s fee will be $225 per hour and will be “paid through funds allocated to the budget of the (Marion County) Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, the MARMET Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF), and/or the Prosecutor’s Office Furtherance of Justice Fund.”
Grogan made the request for a special prosecutor because Assistant Prosecutor Jocelyn Stefancin is leaving his office to take another position. He said Stefancin will begin work next week in the new Conviction Integrity Unit at the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office.
“Given her experience prosecuting and eight years that she worked as the county public defender in Medina, she’s a perfect fit for it,” Grogan said.
Gutierrez was initially indicted by the grand jury on March 16 on three counts of murder, unspecified felonies; one count aggravated murder, unspecified felony; and two counts of felonious assault, second-degree felonies. Each charged carried a 3-year firearm specification.
After Grogan decided to seek the death penalty in the case, the Marion County grand jury returned a superseding indictment on April 27 that included the death penalty specification. The superseding indictment included the following charges: two counts of aggravated murder, unspecified felonies; three counts of murder, unspecified felonies; two counts of felonious assault, second-degree felonies; and one count of kidnapping, a first-degree felony.
The first count of aggravated murder carries a felony murder specification. All of the charges in the superseding indictment carry a 3-year firearm specification.
Gutierrez has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case. He remains incarcerated at the Multi-County Correctional Center after bond was denied in the case.
Gutierrez is being represented by attorneys Kirk A. McVay, Gregory W. Meyers, and Kandra Roberts from the Office of the Ohio Public Defender.
During a pre-trial hearing conducted Wednesday in Marion County Common Pleas Court, Grogan told Judge Edwards that the prosecution has turned over more than 3,500 files – both physical and digital copies – to the defense team as part of the discovery process. The information provided to the defense includes data collected from “at least one cellphone,” the autopsy report along with 29 photographs, and a body camera video provided by the Marion Police Department.
McVay told the judge that the defense has no discovery information to provide for the prosecution at this point in time. He said the defense will supply that information to the prosecution “as soon as it becomes available.”
Judge Edwards said he has yet to see any motions in the docket for the case, noting that he is expecting “an onslaught of motions in this case” due to the fact that it is a capital murder case.
Meyers requested that the judge schedule another pre-trial hearing in September to allow both sides more time to file motions in the case. Judge Edwards scheduled the next pre-trial hearing for Sept. 30 at 2:30 p.m
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This article originally appeared on Marion Star: Marion Co. Prosecutor seeks special prosecutor in capital murder case