Judge may stand aside for case

Defense mentions Costello was prosecutor at time of indictment

By Maximilian Kwiatkowski - Mkwiatkowski@aimmediamidwest.com



A Madison County Common Pleas judge may abstain from overseeing a case, as he was working at the prosecutor’s office at the time charges were filed for the case.

Seth Schertzinger, attorney for Amanda K. Jones, wanted to make the court aware of the fact Judge Eamon Costello was still serving as an assistant prosecutor for Madison County at the time.

“I do see a couple of issues here,” he said. “She was originally indicted in September of 2013. I understand you assumed the bench in 2013, in October. You were serving as assistant prosecutor as this case was being prepared. I understand your involvement with the case was very minimal at most, however it is something the court should be aware of.”

Costello was appointed to his position in October 2013 after previous judge Robert Nichols retired. He formally took Nichols’ seat that November. He was then elected unopposed to the position in 2014.

Schertzinger clarified he was not motioning for the judge to recuse himself but wanted to bring awareness of the facts.

The judge said he had no recollection about the case three years ago.

Costello also noted that County Prosecutor Steve Pronai and Assistant County Prosecutor Rachel Price had signed the indictment for Jones.

He said he would look further into the matter and would potentially recuse himself if a conflict of interest was found.

Jones, 36, is charged in two cases, one from 2013 where she was charged with two counts of passing bad checks, both fifth degree felonies and a 2017 case with two charges of escape from custody, one a third degree felony and the other a fifth degree.

The indictment alleges that she passed two bad checks in early and mid-January 2013.

Assistant Prosecutor Nicholas Adkins said she was indicted and arrested in December 2013. After being released from Tri-County Regional Jail due to medical reasons failed to appear in court in Jan. 14, 2014 for her arraignment.

Adkins said she allegedly was stopped in London for expired plates on March 21. The officer noticed there were three warrants out for her arrest from cases in Franklin County and one case in Madison County Municipal Court as well as the 2013 indictment.

She asked to be taken to the hospital and taken to an emergency room.

“The officer had put her under arrest, but while she was in the ER, she walked to use the restroom,” he said. “She then took off out of a back door of the hospital, and somehow got a ride out.”

She was later apprehended.

According to Franklin County Court records, she pleaded guilty to the charges there, one count of failure to appear and one count of receiving stolen property, while two other receiving stolen property counts were dropped.

She was placed on community control for four years.

For the cases in Madison County, she is set to appear on July 17 for a formal pre-trial hearing.

Other criminal cases heard Thursday:

• Syreeta Rae Scruggs, 44, of Columbus, appeared for her informal pretrial hearing for two fifth-degree felony drug possession charges for heroin and fentanyl respectively and a third degree felony charge of tampering with evidence.

She is set to appear for a formal pretrial hearing on July 17.

• Cor-Re-Don V. Rogers, 45, of Marion, appeared for his informal pretrial hearing on a third-degree felony charge of tampering with records.

A formal pretrial hearing is scheduled for July 21.

• Justin C. Beane, 27, of Kimbolton, appeared in court over violating terms of his two-year community control on an aggravated drug possession conviction. Beane was arrested on June 5 in Guernsey County for DUI and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Then on June 23, an amended affidavit by the probation department states Beane tested positive for synthetic marijuana.

He is scheduled to appear in court again July 21.

• Jordan Mccluskey, 26, of Springfield, is set to head to trial on a fifth-degree felony charge of drug possession, specifically Alprazolam, an anti-anxiety medication more commonly known under brands such as Xanax or Niravam.

The trial is set for July 18.

• Brian S. Jones, 40, of Galloway, will be seeking intervention in lieu of conviction on two fifth-degree felony drug possession charges, specifically having Lorazepam and Zolpidem. Costello ordered him to get a medical assessment

• Robert A. Sweigard, 51, of Columbus, pleaded guilty to a fifth-degree felony for possession of drugs and is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 11.

• Joshua Oxendine, 22, of Columbus, is scheduled to go to trial July 18 on charges of theft and forgery, both fifth-degree felonies as well as misuse of credit cards, a first-degree misdemeanor.

• Jonathan Tackett, 26, of West Jefferson, was sentenced to community control on a single count of fifth-degree felonious breaking and entering. Part of his community control is to combat drug addiction, which led to the crime he pleaded guilty to.

Security footage shows Tackett breaking into Henry’s Restaurant, 6275 U.S. Route 40 outside of West Jefferson, and rifling through the cash register, which was empty, according to Adkins.

• Justin M. Snyder, 21, of Marion, appeared for his informal pretrial hearing on a fifth-degree felony count of unauthorized use of a vehicle.

He is scheduled to appear for a formal pretrial hearing on July 28.

Defense mentions Costello was prosecutor at time of indictment

By Maximilian Kwiatkowski


Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.

Maximilian Kwiatkowski can be reached at 740-852-1616, ext. 1617 or on Twitter @MSFKwiat.