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Two plead not guilty in Belmont County Court

Updated: Thursday, February 13 2014, 10:29 PM EST

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio – At the top of the Belmont County Grand Jury arraignments Thursday morning was the case of two men accused of felony sex crimes against a mentally impaired woman.

Defendants in the case – Gary Eugene Stephen and Robert Merrill Smith – are facing indictment on the felony sex crimes.

Stephen, 61, is a former Barnesville police officer and remains the Barnesville VFW Commander. Prosecutor Dan Frye says Stephen was charged and convicted of sexual offenses against the same victim in 1997.

Stephen, who appeared before indicted by a grand jury on single felony counts of rape and gross sexual battery, retained council in the case.

His attorney, Jack Blakeslee, entered a plea of not guilty. Stephen was never taken into custody in connection with the alleged crimes and remains free on a recognizance bond – on one condition: That he have no contact directly, or indirectly, with the victim in in this matter.

Smith, who also pleaded not guilty but unlike Stephen, was jailed for his alleged crimes, posted $5,000 bond. That bond was continued in court Thursday. He, too, is to have no contact with the victim.

Smith will be back in court for a pre-trial March 17. Stephen has a status conference scheduled for March 14.

Also, Thursday, a man indicted on four felony counts of drug and weapon-related charges, 38-year-old Rodrican Pavlick, appeared before Judge Frank Fregiato and acted out with profanities. Fregiato sentenced him to 90 days in jail for contempt of court. Pavlick was indicted by a grand jury on single counts of possession of weapons while under disability, carrying concealed weapons, and two counts of possession of drugs with forfeiture specifications. He pleaded not guilty to those charges. Pavlick is being held in the Lorain Correction Facility in Grafton, Ohio for reasons of safety and security on adult parole authority hold.

 

Two plead not guilty in Belmont County Court


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