A Liberty Twp. man charged in the death of Ellen “Ellie” Weik, who was found dead in a Millikin Road field in August, was back in court this morning where his case was continued until December.
Michael Strouse, of 6054 Bluffs Drive, was indicted in September for aggravated murder, murder, three counts of tampering with evidence, menacing by stalking, petty theft, abuse of a corpse, and gross abuse of a corpse. He is being held on $4 million bond.
Strouse’s attorneys Jeff Bowling and Kyle Rapier told Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Howard that they had received a “voluminous”’ amount of discovery from the prosecution and requested a continuance until December to review it before setting a trial date.
Strouse is scheduled to be back in court Dec. 12
Since Strouse’s arraignment in September, the prosecution has prepared evidence that includes 600 pages of police reports, 32 search warrants and 88 “documents and tangible evidence” in the case, according to prosecutors and court documents obtained by the Journal-News.
Included on the manifest of evidence turned over to the defense as discovery last week are:
• Amazon records
• cell phone reports for various people, including Strouse
• Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat, Textnow and Instagram records for numerous people, including Weik and Strouse
• bank records
• Lyft records
• crime reports from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation
• photos of skeleton reconstruction
• aerial photos
• flight records
• screen shots
• Weik’s Snapchat
• written and recorded statements from various people, including Strouse
The court document also includes six and a half pages of witnesses the prosecution intends to call at trial. All names and addresses were redacted by the county clerk of courts office when released to the Journal-News.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the witness list includes 54 law enforcement officers, 24 lay persons and 20 people from various companies who are keepers of the records in devices such as cell phones.
The defense also requested a vehicle belonging to Strouse’s mother that was seized as part of the case be released, because she is an “innocent owner.”
Prosecutors did not object, but said before the car is released, law enforcement need to take more photographs.
Howard granted the prosecution’s motion to release 32 sealed search warrants to the defendant and his defense team.
Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Brad Burress said it is a large amount of search warrants for one case, but said many relate to media devices and their data. He declined any specifics.
Earlier this month Rapier filed a motion to withdraw his request for a bill of particulars from the prosecution “at this time,” he told the Journal-News.
The bill of particulars often outlines the details of each crime included in the indictment.
Rapier declined to say why he withdrew his request.
Strouse had been stalking Weik since the beginning of the year, according to the grand jury indictment.
“On or about Jan. 1, 2018 through July 29, 2018 … Michael Strouse did by engaging in a pattern of conduct knowingly cause Ellen Christine Weik to believe the offender will cause physical harm … or cause mental distress,” the indictment states.
Strouse is also accused of trespassing on the premises of where Weik “lives, is employed or attends school,” according to the indictment.
Weik filed a police report in February stating she had received a “harassing text message” from an unknown person, according to police. Police have not said if Strouse was a suspect in that incident.
West Chester Police say Strouse, 29, is responsible for the death of Weik at his Liberty Twp. home, located about one-quarter of a mile from the field where her body was found. Strouse was charged with murder on Aug. 25.
Weik, 23, went missing from her West Chester Twp. home on July 29. Her mother reported her missing Aug. 1, according to the West Chester Police missing person’s report.
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