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Alleged burglars top court docket

Two people accused of participating in a string of burglaries earlier this summer were arraigned Wednesday in Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

William R Sexton, 26, of 204 ½ Mastin Ave., Ironton, was arraigned on nine counts of burglary. He pleaded not guilty through his attorney, Mike Gleichauf.

“As you can see, Mr. Sexton went on quite a burglary spree,” Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier Jr., told Judge Charles Cooper. “He just got out of prison. He has quite a criminal record and he has given a statement involving him in these burglaries.”

Gleichauf countered that the charges are “merely allegations, nothing has been proven yet.” He asked for a property bond for his client.

Cooper set bond at $200,000 cash or $400,000 property and told Sexton to return to court this week for a pretrial conference.

Another of the alleged burglary quartet, Sara M. Branham, 23, of Raceland, Ky., was arraigned on a four-count complicity to burglary indictment.

She pleaded not guilty through her attorney, Philip Heald. Collier noted that, as in the case of Sexton, authorities have her confession to the alleged crimes. But Heald told Cooper that, “My client has made an effort to be cooperative (with authorities). That should earn her some consideration as far as bond goes.”

As with Sexton, Cooper set bond at $200,000 cash or $400,000 property and ordered her to return to court this week for a pretrial conference.

The other two people allegedly involved in the burglaries, Ranae Schwab, 26, of 1021 S. Sixth St., Ironton, and Shon D. Williams, 24, of 1208 S. Second St., Ironton, were arraigned last month on similar charges. Their cases are pending in common pleas court.

Three men accused of calling in a bogus pizza order and then robbing and beating the pizza delivery man were all arraigned Wednesday as well.

Christopher W. Bryan, 19, of 1023 S. Sixth St., Ironton, was arraigned on one count of aggravated robbery.

“These charges are serious offenses,” Collier said. “It involved robbing a Giovannis’s pizza courier.”

Gleichauf, who is also his attorney, countered his client was young, a resident of Ironton and had very little criminal record.

Cooper set bond at $50,000 “due to the seriousness of the charges and the serious physical harm to the individual.”

He ordered Christopher Bryan to return to court this week for a pretrial conference.

His brother, Randall Bryan, 22, of Raceland, Ky., and a third man, Todd Lesniak, 26, of Ashland, Ky., were each arraigned on the same charge and both pleaded not guilty. Cooper set the same bond for Lesniak and Randall Bryan and ordered them to return to court Sept. 30 for pretrial conferences.

An Ironton man accused of holding up the Pine Tree Carryout in Pedro was also arraigned.

Daniel Stapleton, 30, of 582 Township Road 343, Ironton, entered a plea of not guilty to aggravated robbery with a firearm specification and tampering with evidence.

“Clearly these are serious charges, this is a serious matter,” Collier said. “There is an admission made by Mr. Stapleton and he does have a criminal record.”

But Stapleton’s attorney, Warren Morford, countered that, “My client is a lifelong resident of Lawrence County; he doesn’t pose a flight risk. He was employed, had a job in the family business. His family is here and they are supportive.”

Cooper set bond at $200,000 cash or $400,000 property and told Stapleton to return to court this week for a pretrial conference.

Michael R. Wood, 28, of 4261 State Route 243, Ironton, was arraigned on two counts of theft, two counts of breaking and entering and one count of burglary.

He pleaded not guilty through his attorney, Chris Delawder. Cooper set bond at $50,000 cash, surety or property and ordered Wood to return to court Sept. 23 for a pretrial conference. Cooper further issued a restraining order, ordering Wood to stay away from his victims.

Jessica Jenkins, 21, of 398 Township Road 136 S., Ironton, was arraigned on one count of complicity to aggravated robbery. She pleaded not guilty through her attorney, Philip Heald.

Cooper placed her on house arrest and set bond at $50,000. Jenkins must return to court this week for a pretrial conference.

Angela Mullanix, 53, of Flatwoods, Ky., was arraigned on one count of inducing panic. She pleaded guilty through her attorney, Mike Davenport. Cooper allowed bond established in a lower court to continue and scheduled a Sept. 30 pretrial conference.

Michael Zundel, 20, of 83 Township Road 1212, Proctorville, admitted he violated his probation by twice testing positive for marijuana and Oxycontin use and twice failing to show up for drug counseling.

Zundel was on probation for an earlier burglary conviction. Bowling sentenced him to 90 days home confinement but warned Zundel more infractions would have far worse consequences.

“This is strike 2, sir,” Bowling said. “We’re really trying to bend over backward. But if you want to go to prison you’re doing a really good job. You’ve got to make better choices. The choices you’re making now are not leading you in the right direction. These choices will one day land you in prison.”