Trial in November stabbing death outside Salem bar again postponed

LISBON – With the jury’s verdict in the Christopher Miller case still pending, the aggravated murder trial of Robert Harmony was again postponed on Tuesday.

Harmony, 45, East Fourth Street, Salem, is accused in the stabbing death of Gerrod Lanzendorfer. A jury trial was scheduled to begin Tuesday. However, with Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike, the same assistant county prosecutors, Tammie Riley Jones and John Gamble, and one of the same defense attorneys as the Miller case, Jennifer Gorby, all busy with the Miller case, there was no way to start the trial on time.

Jurors in the Miller trial did not begin deliberations until 11:30 a.m. Tuesday with closing arguments heard first thing in the morning.

So instead of going forward, a status conference held in the Harmony case on Tuesday afternoon where it was determined to push the trial back until late July. Pike noted there were several additional reasons for the delay.

Pike asked Harmony about some correspondence the judge had received from the county jail in which Harmony had been expressing dissatisfaction with his attorneys, Gorby and Fred Naragon. Pike said he had been led to believe Harmony planned to obtain another attorney. Additionally, Pike said he understood Harmony had been refusing to see his attorneys at the county jail.

Harmony admitted he had been seeking other representation, but it had not happened. Instead he said he planned to keep his current attorneys. Additionally, Harmony apologized to the court.

Pike said unless there was some objection he believed the defendant’s actions had delayed the speedy trial statute. There was no objection.

The jury trial was reset for July 29 with a status conference scheduled for July 16.

This is the third time the trial has been postponed. It has been set to begin in January, April and this week in June.

Harmony is charged with aggravated murder and murder in the death of Lanzendorfer, a 23-year-old who was working as a bouncer at the Side Door Tavern in Salem in the early morning hours of Nov. 13. Lanzendorfer reportedly died as the result of one of the 14 stab wounds he had when Salem police were called to where he was lying near the business.

The aggravated murder charge means prosecutors believe Harmony not only knowingly caused Lanzendorfer’s murder, but there was some planning involved as well.