County pros­e­cu­tor bows out of cases

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Keith Reynolds kreynolds@morn­ingjour­ @MJ_KReynolds on Twit­ter

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ohio At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice will han­dle any cases per­tain­ing to an Elyria mur­der.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ohio At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice will han­dle any cases per­tain­ing to the Jan. 23 mur­der of Cody Sny­der in Elyria, ac­cord­ing to Lo­rain County Pros­e­cu­tor Den­nis Will.

Will said he filed pa­per­work Feb. 13 ask­ing Lo­rain County Com­mon Pleas Judge Mark A. Betleski to ap­point the Ohio At­tor­ney Gen­eral to rep­re­sent the state in the cases of Ka­jaun J. An­der­son, 19, of Elyria, a 16-year-old Elyria boy and a 17-year-old Ober­lin teen. Each was charged with mur­der and rob­bery in con­nec­tion to the 19-year-old Elyria man’s death dur­ing an al­leged botched drug deal.

The re­quest ac­tu­ally stems from an an­cil­lary part of the whole case; that of 20-year-old Jef­frey P. Mi­raldi of Elyria, who is fac­ing charges of in­vol­un­tary man­slaugh­ter, four counts of tam­per­ing with ev­i­dence and a sin­gle count of traf­fick­ing in mar­i­juana in con­nec­tion to Sny­der’s mur­der.

Mi­raldi, who is the son of Lo­rain County Com­mon Pleas Judge John R. Mi­raldi, is ac­cused of set­ting up the fa­tal en­counter, sup­ply­ing Sny­der with a firearm for the en­counter and then hid­ing sev­eral pieces of ev­i­dence af­ter Sny­der was killed.

The younger Mi­raldi was re­leased from Lo­rain County Jail on Feb. 12, af­ter his $50,000 bond was posted.

His girl­friend, 19-yearold Jenna Turner of Mid­dle­burg Heights, is fac­ing three counts of tam­per­ing with ev­i­dence af­ter po­lice dis­cov­ered she left the hos­pi­tal where Sny­der was be­ing treated in an ef­fort to hide a book­bag filled with mar­i­juana, the firearm sup­plied by Mi­raldi and Sny­der’s cell phone.

Turner was re­leased from the County Jail af­ter her $2,000 bond was posted.

Will said he doesn’t think the law re­quired him to seek a spe­cial pros­e­cu­tor, but he chose to any­way.

“The judges have a stan­dard of the ‘ap­pear­ance of im­pro­pri­ety,’ but that’s not true of lawyers or coun­selors be­cause we are an ad­vo­cate,” he said. “The real bot­tom line is whether or not there’s ac­tual prej­u­dice which I would in­ter­pret as ac­tual bias.

“We didn’t have any in­di­ca­tion of that.”

Will said that de­spite the move not be­ing nec­es­sary, he chose to avoid there be­ing even a whiff of im­pro­pri­ety in how the cases are be­ing han­dled.

Will said ei­ther Matt Don­ahue, the as­sis­tant At­tor­ney Gen­eral who heads up the spe­cial prose­cu­tions unit, or one of his as­so­ciates will han­dle the case.

The cases for An­der­son, Mi­raldi and Turner cur­rently are be­ing re­viewed by a Lo­rain County grand jury. There is a hear­ing March 14 to de­cide if the ju­ve­niles will face trial as adults.

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