Massie denied request for lower bond

Published 10:23 am Thursday, May 28, 2009

He gets a change in lawyers, but not a change in bond.

Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge D. Scott Bowling Wednesday refused to lower the bond of an Ironton man accused of shooting a Pedro man last month.

George Massie, is charged with felonious assault and is in the Lawrence County Jail under a $100,000 cash bond plus a $100,000 own recognizance bond.

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During a pretrial conference Wednesday, Massie’s new attorney, Roger Smith, asked that Massie’s bond be lowered to allow him to seek mental health treatment at a Veteran’s Administration Hospital that he can’t receive while he is in jail.

“He was no prior felony criminal record. He is an Iraq War veteran and has post traumatic stress disorder. He has some psychological issues and was on suicide watch at the jail,” Smith explained.

But Assistant Lawrence County Prosecutor Bob Anderson objected to the request.

He said reduction in bond would be unprecedented given the nature of the alleged crime.

“There was very serious injury to the victim,” Anderson countered. He said he would not object to a $100,000 property bond.

Smith said Massie could put up a $45,000 property bond.

Massie had claimed he was indigent when he appeared in Ironton Municipal Court. Warren Morford was appointed his attorney. Massie has since hired Smith as his attorney.

Massie was arrested April 2 and accused of shooting William “Joey” Scherer.

Also Wednesday Bowling sentenced an Ironton teen to 26 months in prison after finding the teen had violated his probation, also known as community control sanctions.

Nico Fuentes, 19, of 260 Junior Road, was sent to the STAR Community Justice Center in December 2008 after he pleaded guilty to vandalism and criminal trespass charges.

But Adult Probation Officer Lynne Stewart said Fuentes was discharged from that facility a few months later and brought back to the Lawrence County Jail. Documentation that accompanied him stated Fuentes had not completed STAR program.

Fuentes told Bowling he had taken required classes and performed necessary community service but found the counseling sessions difficult.

“They wanted me to discuss my sister passing away, my growing up,” Fuentes said. “I did all the paperwork they wanted me to do.

“They kept trying to get me to talk about my sister and it was something I didn’t want to do.”

“Do you think you learned something from STAR?” Fuentes’ attorney, Mike Gleichauf, asked him.

“Yes, I did,” Fuentes replied.

Bowling told Fuentes that by not completing counseling, he had failed to follow the rules. He said he might be willing to consider judicial release at some point, but not if fails to follow the rules while he is in prison.

“It’s been a problem that got you where you’re at. It’s been a problem that got you released from STAR,” Bowling said.

Fuentes and another teen was arrested in connection with vandalism at the Ironton Country Club last year.