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Accused robber asks for bench trial

An Ironton man accused of holding up a convenience store with an ice scraper will stand trial before a judge, not a jury of his peers.

James Lawrence Jr., 52, of 495 County Road 1A, Ironton, told Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown Wednesday he trusts the judicial system - but only to a point.

"I have confidence in the judge having more wisdom in law than 12 people who are totally ignorant of the law," Lawrence said during a pretrial conference.

Lawrence also objected to being charged with a first-degree felony, admitting that while he may have made some wrong decisions, his behavior was "nowhere close to a first-degree felony."

During the conference the charge against him was amended from first-degree felony burglary to second-degree felony burglary.

Also Wednesday, a Buckeye Lake man was arraigned on a charge of violating the terms of his community controlled sanctions.

Rodney Peyton, 24, was sentenced to four years community controlled sanctions in September 2004 as sentence for a burglary conviction.

Authorities allege that Peyton has admitted to violating his sanctions by using marijuana and failing to report to his probation officer. During his arraignment Wednesday, Peyton denied the violation.

Also Wednesday, David Ralph, whose age and address were not immediately available, was also arraigned on a charge of community controlled sanctions violation.

Ralph pleaded guilty in January to third-degree felony DUI and was sentenced to 18 months in the Lawrence County Jail and ordered to complete the substance abuse program at STAR Community Justice Center.

As part of his sentence, he was allowed out of jail during the day to work. Authorities contend he failed a breathalyzer test Aug. 13 when he reported to jail at the end of a work day.

Through his attorney, Warren Morford, Ralph entered a denial to the charge.