Five area men are each facing more than 10 years in prison after police say they forced their way into a Marietta College dormitory in April and attacked a student, creating a "near-riot."
The men were among 25 individuals indicted Tuesday by a Washington County grand jury.
Washington County Prosecutor Jim Schneider said Thomas W. Dearth, 19, of Marietta, had been on the Marietta College campus a week prior to the incident helping a friend look for his girlfriend, who is a student there.
"They found her holding hands with another man and started to give him a hard time," Schneider said.
The man, who was not identified, took out a cell phone and called some friends, Schneider said.
"Within minutes there were eight or nine guys who came out and gave these guys a pretty good beating ... there was never a report made about that incident because these local fellas were basically trespassing," he said.
Schneider said Dearth decided to round up some friends and head back to the campus on April 2 to get revenge. The other two men who were with him a week earlier declined to go back but according to Schneider, Dearth recruited Waterford residents Kristopher T. Pasco, 19; Harold J. Gunther Jr., 19; Jacob Welch, 19; and Grant McClay, 20.
Schneider said the men waited outside Mary Beach Hall, 516 Butler St., for a door to be opened and then they stormed inside.
"We believe Dearth and Gunther went into the room occupied by the student and began assaulting him ... The other guys stood by to keep anyone else from getting into the room," he said.
Schneider said "near-riot" conditions broke out during the fracas. He said McClay pulled a fire extinguisher from a wall and discharged it to keep people back.
"He also swung it around and hit two students," he said.
None of the students, including the target of the attack, were seriously injured, Schneider said.
Specifically, Dearth was charged with first-degree felony aggravated burglary, third-degree inciting to violence and fourth-degree aggravated riot. Pasco, Gunther and Welch were each charged with first-degree felony aggravated burglary and fourth-degree felony aggravated riot. McClay was charged with first-degree aggravated burglary, fourth-degree aggravated riot and second-degree felonious assault.
The grand jury also returned an indictment that leaves a Newport man facing more than 40 years in prison. Jason L. Strickler, 32, of Newport, was charged with first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence, two counts of second-degree felonious assault, first-degree felony kidnapping, third-degree felony abduction and first-degree felony attempted murder.
Assistant Washington County Prosecutor Kevin Rings said Strickler attacked his wife May 15 because he was convinced she had an affair more than 12 years ago.
"He struck her with his hands, fists, a belt... he suffocated her with a pillow," Rings said. "She was knocked unconscious and he threw water on her to revive her so the beating could continue."
Rings said the victim fled to a neighbor's residence, where Strickler came and threatened to kill her if she did not return home.
"She believed he was going to kill her," he said.
John J. Sparks, 38, of Marietta, was charged with fifth-degree felony non-support of dependents. Sparks is accused of failing to pay more than $9,503 in child support.
Ray A. Ault Jr., 44, of Barnsville, was charged with fifth-degree felony non-support of dependents. Ault is accused of failing to pay more than $4,288 in child support.
Richard A. Vann, 44, of Marietta, was charged with third-degree felony abduction and first-degree misdemeanor domestic violence. Vann is accused of holding a household or family member against her will on May 21 at a Sunset Drive residence in Marietta.
Roy J. Campbell III, 24, of Marietta, was charged with six counts of fourth-degree felony unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. Campbell is accused of engaging in sexual contact with a 13-year-old child in late 2009. Prosecutors said Campbell is in a relationship with the child's mother. The child reported the acts in May of this year.
Kenneth A. Ammell, 27, of Marietta, was charged with fourth-degree felony domestic violence. Ammell is accused of causing harm to a live-in girlfriend on May 28 at a Maple Street residence in Marietta. Prosecutors said Ammell has prior convictions for domestic violence, which elevates this incident to a felony.
Robert F. Gunderman III, 47, of Belpre, was charged with third-degree felony domestic violence. Gunderman is accused of causing harm to his wife on May 26 at their residence. Prosecutors said he has a prior felony domestic violence conviction, which elevates the offense to a third-degree felony.
Joshua Thompson, 28, of Marietta, was charged with fourth-degree felony domestic violence. Thompson is accused of causing harm to a family or household member on May 22 at a Marietta address. Prosecutors said Thompson has a prior domestic violence conviction, which makes this offense a felony.
Patricia Jones Bonar, 34, address unknown, was charged with fifth-degree felony non-support of dependents. Bonar is accused of owing more than $4,325 in child support.
Brandon J. Payne, 20, of Marietta, was charged with fifth-degree felony escape and first-degree misdemeanor theft. Payne is accused of failing to pay for food at Burger King in Marietta on May 30 and then fleeing from police when arrested on those charges June 1.
Troy A. Doyle, 47, of Chillicothe, was charged with fourth-degree felony breach of recognizance. Doyle is accused of failing to appear for trial June 12 on charges of breaking and entering and grand theft.
Nena K. Whitlock, 37, of Waterford, was charged with fourth-degree felony theft. Whitlock is accused of improperly receiving more than $5,000 in public assistance benefits between July 2007 and July 2010.
Brian D. Hess, 35, of Marietta, was charged with three counts of fifth-degree felony trafficking in heroin and one count of fourth-degree felony trafficking in heroin. Hess is accused of selling heroin to confidential informants at Ridgewood Court Apartments in Marietta in late 2008 through July 2009.
Kendra M. Dixon, 23, of South Charleston, W.Va., was charged with fifth-degree felony forgery, third-degree felony obstruction of justice, second-degree felony possession of crack cocaine, second-degree felony possession of oxycodone and second-degree felony trafficking in drugs. Dixon is accused of being in possession of drugs during a May 19 traffic stop on Ohio 821 near Marietta.
Lisa Pasquale, 32, of Willowick, was charged with fourth-degree felony complicity in illegal processing of drug documents and fifth-degree felony possession of oxycontin. Pasquale is accused of attempting to pass an illegal prescription at a Marietta pharmacy Feb. 5 and of being in possession of drugs which were not prescribed to her.
Robert J. Steers, 58, of Lower Salem, was charged with third-degree felony possession of marijuana. Prosecutors said the indictment will be added to an October 2010 case that alleges Steers was cultivating the drugs at his home. That case is set to go to trial July 20.
Ramey L. Hart, 34, of Beverly, was charged with fourth-degree felony driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and first-degree misdemeanor endangering children. Hart is accused of driving drunk with his 9-year-old child in the car on May 25 near Waterford. Prosecutors said Hart has three prior convictions for driving drunk within the past six years.
Mark Smith, 38, of Dunnellon, Fla., was charged with third-degree felony trafficking in drugs; fourth-degree felony trafficking in drugs; three counts of second-degree felony trafficking in drugs; and two counts of second-degree felony money laundering. Smith is accused of mailing large quantities of prescription painkillers to confidential informants in Washington County in May and June and requesting money to be wired or sent back to Florida.
Scott Armstrong, 30, of Beverly, was charged with third-degree felony illegal cultivation of marijuana. Armstrong is accused of growing the drug at his residence on April 14.