GREENVILLE — Darke County Common Pleas Court heard cases involving drugs, domestic violence and interstate extradition Friday. Judge Jonathan P. Hein presided.
Errick Townsend, 42, of Cochise County, Arizona, appeared via telecommunications conference with the Darke County Jail. Townsend has an outstanding warrant in Arizona on charges of probation violation; his record includes charges of kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
Judge Hein informed Townsend he was not concerned with the defendant’s guilt or innocence on those charges but only with whether or not the warrant for his arrest is valid and Townsend is in fact the person specified in the warrant.
“I’m scared to death to go back there, your honor,” Townsend initially told the court, saying he was in fear for his life as a result of having witnessed a murder. “They said they’d protect me, and they didn’t; that’s why I left.”
Despite these claims, Townsend ultimately chose to forego his right to a hearing to challenge the validity of the warrant, saying he wanted to return to Arizona as quickly as possible. Townsend was expected to be picked up for transport within the week; in the meantime, Hein set bond at $150,000.
Russell Baker, 39, of Greenville, was arraigned on charges of domestic violence, a third-degree felony carrying penalties of up to three years incarceration and a potential $10,000 fine. Baker’s record includes fugitive from justice warrants, as well as previous charges of domestic violence and driving under the influence.
Judge Hein appointed attorney David Rohrer to represent Baker and released the defendant on his own recognizance. His next court appearance is March 11.
Justin Powell, 43, also of Greenville, was arraigned on charges of cocaine and heroin possession, both fifth-degree felonies carrying penalties of up to 12 months incarceration and a potential $2,500 fine. His previous record includes charges of grand theft and forgery.
Powell told the court he’d been attending more than five meetings a week at Darke County Recovery and Wellness Centers of Midwest Ohio but had still had two positive drug screens over the last few months, the last of which he said was a suicide attempt.
“I don’t know what I was thinking, your honor,” Powell said. “I guess I just thought it would be easier.”
Judge Hein raised the question of whether Powell was safe being out on bond and ordered the defendant to attend 10 recovery meetings a week.
“Because five times a week isn’t working, is it?” Hein said.
Powell entered a plea of not guilty and was released on his own recognizance; his next court appearance is a status conference, to be held March 15.
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