Murder trial postponed until Dec. 5

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

An Upper Township man accused of killing one man and injuring another will wait a bit longer for his trial to start.

Charles E. Cooper 48, of 2827 County Road 21, was to have gone on trial Sept. 25 on one count of murder and one count of first-degree felonious assault, but his attorneys Wednesday asked Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown for a little more time to prepare the case.

"We've only been on the case for the last couple of weeks," Portsmouth attorney Lynn Grimshaw said. This is a serious matter. A person's liberty is at stake and it is important we be adequately prepared."

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McCown rescheduled the trial for Dec. 5 but he refused a request to reduce bond for Cooper.

Grimshaw had argued that Cooper has lived his entire life in Lawrence County and has strong ties in the community, he is not accustomed to being away from his family and is willing to undergo house arrest in order to be reunited with his family while awaiting conclusion of his case.

But Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr. disagreed with the request.

"Bond has already been reduced once, so he has already been given consideration. The state has a compelling case. There are two victims. I vigorously object. I have never known a case of this nature to have bond reduced below a million dollars."

When he was arraigned in Ironton Municipal Court, Judge O. Clark Collins set a $1 million bond, but when Cooper was later arraigned in Common Pleas Court, Judge Richard Walton set bond at $500,000 cash or $1 million property.

In the end, McCown agreed with Collier.

"This is an extremely serious case," he added. "I would never agree to house arrest under these circumstances."

Cooper is accused of shooting and killing Scott Marcum, 35, of Ironton and shooting and seriously injuring Orlan "J.R." Harper Jr., also of Ironton in July.

Also Wednesday, an Ironton man accused of holding up the Ironton Papa John's pizza store in March 2004 will wait a little longer for his retrial on the felonious assault charge in connection with the case.

Brock Smith, 23, of 412 S. Ninth St., was to have gone on trial next week. But his attorney, Sterling Gill of Columbus asked the McCown to delay the trial and allow a mental evaluation of Smith.

"What has come to my attention is a diagnosis of a mental condition Mr. Smith has and this is quite troublesome to me," Gill said. Š"For that reason he needs to be evaluated."

Gill said Smith suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.

Smith was convicted of both the felonious assault charge and an armed robbery charge during a trial in July 2004, but earlier this year the Ohio Fourth District Court of Appeals ruled that Brock should be retried on the assault charge and re-sentenced on the robbery charge.