Bond revoked after botched excuse

LISBON — A Ravenna man facing several charges, including aggravated vehicular homicide and assault charges following a traffic crash in 2018, was taken into custody during a status conference in Common Pleas Court Friday.

Judge Megan Bickerton chastised Justin W. Stalnaker, 42, after calling his Covid-19 excuse for missing a hearing on Monday “a fabricated document” and “an insult to the court.” Bickerton said the document he had presented as proof of being tested for Covid-19 can be easily found and printed from the internet.

“I have no patience for a person who would use Covid, a pandemic that has killed people in our country by the thousands, the hundreds of thousands, use it as an excuse for you not to come to court,” Bickerton said. “I will not tolerate it. That is disgusting to me. It is not a joke.”

Defense attorney Paul Conn said he cannot verify Stalnaker’s claims, but Stalnaker said he has more paperwork but he has not had the time to get them to the court.

Additionally, assistant county prosecutors Steven Yacovone and Alec Beech had requested Bickerton revoke Stalnaker’s bond after he was reportedly the passenger in a vehicle stopped on Jan. 19, 2021 and methamphetamines were found in the vehicle. Stalnaker had reportedly admitted the drugs were his and they were sent to the lab for testing. Charges are pending in the matter.

Finally, Beech asked for a continuance during the hearing on Friday after he said new medical records have been received in the case, which will require an expert to look at them. Stalnaker had been scheduled for a trial on May 11.

Instead, additional status conferences have been scheduled for June 28 and Oct. 15, with a new jury trial date of Oct. 26.

Stalnaker is charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and two counts of aggravated vehicular assault, all second-degree felonies, as well as misdemeanor charges of three counts of assault, two counts of OVI and a drug paraphernalia.

He is accused of driving a 2000 BMW on July 27, 2018 northbound on Westville Lake Road and failing to stop at a stop sign, striking a Chevy Trailblazer which was eastbound on Georgetown Road.

Marlene A. Santini, 71, Salem, was killed after she was ejected from the Chevy Trailblazer. Two other passengers were seriously injured — Lola M. Brown, who was 70 at the time of the crash, and a then 3-year-old child, Angela D. McCracken. The aggravated vehicular assault charges involve those injuries.

The driver, Dennis McCracken, 43, had minor injuries, along with passengers Nina L. Wirkner, then 62, and Joanne M. McCracken, then 42. Those are represented by the three counts of misdemeanor assault.

Stalnaker was further accused of being under the influence possibly from methamphetamines, and allegedly had a glass pipe used to smoke the drug in his possession.

After having his bond revoked, Stalnaker was taken to the county jail.


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