Judge seeks special prosecutor in arson case

Published 11:08 pm Saturday, May 23, 2009

As the case against Tom Wilcox continues, it will likely have a representative from the Attorney General’s Office as special prosecutor.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper said Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier recently asked him to appoint a special prosecutor in the case because Collier represented Tom Wilcox in his divorce from his estranged wife, Amy Wilcox, while Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Brigham Anderson represented Amy Wilcox in the divorce. Cooper said he signed the request Wednesday asking the special prosecutions division of the Ohio Attorney General’s office to step in.

“I know there has been no indictment but somebody has to be special prosecutor to decide what to do with the charges that have been filed but not yet presented to the grand jury,” Cooper explained.

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In the past, other local attorneys who do not have a criminal practice have stepped in as special prosecutor for other cases that could not be handled by Collier or his staff. Chesapeake attorney Brenda Neville, in fact, was appointed special prosecutor in the case of Santosh Nayar, the Indian national who twice threatened to kill Assistant Prosecutor Mack Anderson in 2006. Prosecutors from Scioto County have also been asked to fill in as special prosecutors. But Cooper said given the unique facts of the case he opted to ask the AG’s office to handle it.

Tom Wilcox is accused of assaulting Amy Wilcox and then a fire late last month at her Perry Township home. She remains in serious condition with severe burns at a Cincinnati hospital; Tom Wilcox was also burned in the fire. He remains at a Louisville, Ky., hospital. He is charged with attempted murder, aggravated burglary and arson as well as felonious assault.

A telephone call was made to the Attorney General’s office for comment; no one was immediately available.