A directive came from Butler County Common Pleas Court on Thursday afternoon cancelling jury trials for 30 days and calling for judges, prosecutors and attorneys to work together to move as many cases as possible without requiring a court appearance due to coronavirus concerns.
Most judges had been practicing all week what the order formalized.
Several high profile cases set for hearings this week were continued until next month or later.
A final pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Tuesday before Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles Pater for a man facing multiple felony charges and accused of stealing a Middletown police cruiser and purposely crashing into another.
Jason Cooper, 50, who has remained in the county jail in lieu of a $250,000 bond since the February incident, is charged with two counts of felonious assault, aggravated robbery, grand theft, two counts of resisting arrest, two counts of vandalism and possession of criminal tools.
Cooper’s trial was scheduled to begin April 1, but Pater continued the trial until June 3 and scheduled a pre-trial hearing for May 19.
Jordan Lay and Nicholas Mattox
Two men charged in connection with the shooting death of a woman found dead in February at a Monroe house were scheduled to be back in court on Wednesday.
Jordan James Lay, 22, of Mason, and Nicholas Alan Mattox, 23, of Trenton, were arrested Feb. 5, a day after 32-year-old Amy Risner of Middletown was found dead at an Anne Road house.
Lay was indicted on charges of murder with a specification that a gun was used in the crime, felonious assault and tampering with evidence. Mattox was indicted on two counts of tampering with evidence, both third-degree felonies.
Mattox is free on bond and Lay remains housed in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $1 million bond.
Lay’s pre-trial hearing was continued until April 22 and Mattox’s was reset for April 29.
In Warren County, an attorney for a former Franklin High School social studies teacher serving a prison sentence for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a male student is requesting a judge release her early.
Madalyn Arnett, 26, of Dayton, pleaded guilty in March 2019 to sexual battery in Warren County Common Pleas Court. In May, she was sentenced by Judge Timothy Tepe to four years in prison.
According to the county prosecutor’s office, the student had approached Arnett at school about what he could to do improve his grades, and the teacher initially declined to assist him. Later, Arnett contacted the student on social media and began conversations that were “sexual in nature.” Arnett also sent the student nude images and videos of herself.
Arnett’s case was set for a status conference on Monday. Tepe set the case for a judicial release hearing on May 22.
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