MARIETTA - A Washington County grand jury did not find enough evidence to uphold a murder charge levied May 23 against a man allegedly involved in an April beating death. Instead the grand jury brought charges of involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault and tampering with evidence against 28-year-old Ira David Blair.
"Murder requires that the state prove the defendant purposely caused the death of another individual," said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings on Monday.
Evidence suggested that Blair had purposefully beaten the victim, 68-year-old Frank B. Stephens of Marietta, but had not intended to kill him, said Rings.
Arraigned Monday on charges of involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, tampering with evidence and trafficking in drugs, Ira David Blair, right, of Marietta pleads “absolutely not guilty” on all charges. Blair was one of 17 people recently indicted by a Washington County grand jury. (Photo by Jasmine Rogers)
"It appears to be a beating that went further than he intended," Rings said.
Stephens was found dead April 2 at 139 Groves Ave., a trailer where Blair had temporarily been residing. After nearly two months, DNA analysis indicated that Blair had some of Stephens' blood on him the morning after the murder and he was charged with Stephens' murder.
Blair had initially indicated that the trailer's primary resident, Richard Haught, was also present at the time of the crime, but it is not definitively known if anyone other than Blair and Stephens were present, said Rings.
Blair was charged with two second-degree felony counts of felonious assault - one for causing physical harm by means of a deadly weapon and one for causing serious physical harm with his fists.
An autopsy performed by the Montgomery County Coroner's Office indicated that Stephens had suffered blunt force trauma. However, what the weapon was is unclear, said Rings.
Blair was charged with a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence for removing or attempting to conceal evidence from the scene of the crime.
Blair was also charged with involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, for causing Stephens' death.
In an unrelated case, Blair was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of trafficking in drugs. On March 19, he is accused of selling heroin to a confidential informant near school property.
Arraigned Monday on all five charges, Blair pleaded "absolutely not guilty" on all charges.
Other indictments are:
* Brandon S. Walters, 30, of 715 Greene St., Apt. A, Marietta, was indicted on a first-degree felony count of illegal manufacture of drugs and a second-degree felony count of illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.
Walters' residence was the subject of a search warrant on April 19 after the Major Crimes Task Force received information that Walters had allegedly recently purchased chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Those items were found during the search resulting in the second-degree felony charge.
* Timothy S. Seevers Sr., 41, who is incarcerated in the Washington County Jail on charges of rape and sexual battery, was indicted for interference with custody. The fifth-degree felony charge resulted from Seevers allegedly taking his teenage son and keeping him from his mother between Feb. 21 and March 1, 2012, said Rings. The mother was the custodial parent, he said.
* Alexandra Lemley, 28, of 311 Main St., New Matamoras, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony charge of possession of drugs, a third-degree felony charge of illegal conveyance of prohibited items onto grounds of a specified governmental facility and a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence.
Lemley and three others were arrested March 13 in Monroe County on their way back from a trip to Columbus. Law enforcement officials recovered 12 grams of heroin, Oxycodone pills, two grams of crack cocaine and paraphernalia from their search.
Lemley, who was a Pleasants County teacher at the time of her arrest, was also allegedly hiding eight grams of heroin in a body cavity when she was processed into the Washington County Jail.
* Michael D. Slonaker, 55, of 1209 Williamson Ave., Lot 33 B, New Matamoras, was indicted on a second-degree felony count of aggravated possession of drugs and a third-degree felony count of aggravated possession of drugs. The two counts relate to Slonaker allegedly possessing multiple Oxycodone pills in two dosages. He purportedly had 276 of the 30-milligram tablets and 32 of the 15-milligram tablets.
* A Parkersburg couple was indicted for theft for allegedly stealing more than $17,000 in welfare benefits. David Floyd, 42, and Debora Henry, 39, were each indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of theft. The husband and wife are accused of collecting Ohio benefits between May 2012 and February 2013, but the couple never lived in Ohio, officials said. The address they listed as their Belpre home did not exist, officials said. The couple was receiving West Virginia benefits at the time.
* Robert J. Wells, 31, of 2535 State Route 83, Beverly, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of breaking and entering, a fourth-degree felony count of safe cracking and a fifth-degree felony count of theft. Wells was a suspect in a Nov. 25 breaking and entering at the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Beverly.
* Megan Skidmore, 25, of 2623 14th Ave., Parkersburg, and Ashley D. True, 24, of 3850 Central Ave., Apt. 28, Parkersburg, were each indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs. The two were pulled over in Marietta on March 7 and a detective from the Major Crimes Task Force allegedly found a container with a white substance in the vehicle.
* Brian S. Moore, 37, of 1220 Williamson Ave., New Matamoras, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of grand theft of a motor vehicle. Moore is accused of climbing in through the back window of a 1991 Chevy Silverado on April 5, starting the vehicle and taking off.
* Michael A. Ray, 20, of 650 Perkinswood Blvd., Warren, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of aggravated possession of drugs. Ray was stopped on Interstate 77 by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Dec. 3, and allegedly found with a white powder which later tested positive as one of the main ingredients in bath salts, a synthetic drug, officials said.
* Frank J. Nichols Jr., 30, of 133 West High St., Box 3, Salem, W.Va., was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of possession of drugs. Stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on May 25, 2012, officers allegedly found psilocybin mushrooms.
* Charles B. Davis, 38, of 1094 Core Road, Parkersburg, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of theft and a fifth-degree felony count of falsification in a theft offense. Davis is accused of offering to build a garage for a resident in New Matamoras, taking a $4,368 down payment for the work on Nov. 26, and then disappearing without doing any work.
* Dedra D. Allen, 42, of 1495 E. Poplar Ext., Davisville, was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of illegal processing of drug documents. On April 3, Allen is accused of trying to pass off a photocopied prescription for Vicodin at CVS Pharmacy in Marietta. A pharmacist thought the prescription looked suspicious, looked it up and realized the prescription had been filled months earlier at the same CVS location, said Rings.
* Arthur Thorton, 42, of 3509 6th Ave., Parkersburg, and Terra E. Hooper, also known as Terra E. Parrish, 33, of 7703 Ivandale Road, Parma, were each indicted on a third-degree felony count of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony count of grand theft and a third-degree felony count of tampering with evidence.
Hooper, who had been staying with two men in Dunham Township, reportedly concocted a plan with Thorton to steal from the men, said Rings. Hooper allegedly gave Thorton a key, but the two planned to make the burglary look like entry had been forced.
Checks and firearms were among the items stolen from the residence. The tampering charge resulted from the duo allegedly faking the forced entry.
* Yvonne M. Brandt, also known as Yvonne M. Duskey, 28, of 304 Maple St., Marietta, was indicted on a fourth-degree felony count of grand theft of a motor vehicle. Brandt is accused of stealing a Suzuki Esteem from County House Lane in Marietta on Dec. 29.
* Taylor Parmiter, 22, of 114 1/2 Putnam St. was indicted on a fifth-degree felony count of breaking and entering. Parmiter was familiar with the owners of Front Street business S.W.A.G.G., and obtained the key to the store while visiting their residence, officials said. Parmiter is accused of letting herself into the store late at night and stealing cash and other items.