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Courts utilizing teleconference software for hearings

Two were charged with attempted murder of Ours

Christopher Tatalovich and his defense attorney, Shawna Landaker, appear virtually for a bond and arraignment hearing in Washington County Common Pleas Court on Thursday.

Utilizing teleconference software Thursday, two of Washington County’s most recently indicted felony defendants and their attorneys appeared virtually for bond and arraignment hearings held by Washington County Common Pleas Court.

Attempted murder of Devon Ours

Washington County Prosecutor Nicole Coil outlined additional details concerning alleged events that have a Marietta man still fighting for his life following an assault last week.

“Time was critical, obviously, to Mr. Ours. I don’t know what his current medical prognosis is but that for the type of injury that he had and that he currently sustains are two collapsed lungs and he currently has very slight brain activity,” said Coil.

According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Ours required emergency brain surgery last week following the assault allegedly committed by Steven A. Osborne, 19, of 529 Federal Road, Little Hocking, in Sierah Caldwell’s Marietta apartment on Feb. 12.

Screencap Washington County Prosecutor Nicole Coil (bottom) explains the state’s position on bond in the case against Sierah Caldwell on Thursday via teleconference hearing in Washington County Common Pleas Court.

Coil’s statements outlined the state’s position to impose a $500,000 bond on Caldwell, 18, of 3719 Blue Knob Road, Apt. B, Marietta, following her indictment on three felony charges: attempted murder, a first-degree felony; felonious assault, a second-degree felony; and tampering with evidence, a third-degree felony.

“This was a premeditated crime. It did not start on the day that the Facebook messages were sent to Devon Ours, so that he would be ambushed at her apartment, but started between text messages between Mr. Osborne and Ms. Caldwell about three days prior to that incident,” said Coil. “And a bat was discussed being used on Mr. Ours during those text messages. Ms. Caldwell encouraged and condoned this attack in those text messages.”

Coil also outlined other evidence in the prosecution’s case against Osborne and Caldwell including two videos of the alleged assault, though she did not identify the videographer.

“One of those videos shows Ms. Caldwell nonchalantly sitting on her sofa, looking at her phone, using her phone while Mr. Osborne is pacing back and forth with the bat,” said Coil. “There’s absolutely no way that she did not know what was going to happen, and she absolutely could have stopped this if she had warned Mr. Ours.”

Coil also outlined the time following the alleged assault before 911 dispatchers received the call for aid.

“We can only assume that that was the time that they chose to get their story straight,” said Coil. “To wipe up all the blood which was later confirmed by law enforcement, wash clothes, clean the sinks. And of course, attempt to eliminate the evidence in this case.”

Caldwell’s defense attorney, Jack Blakeslee, argued that a $500,000 bond is “the same as no bond at all” because of a reported income for Caldwell of $1,000 per month, prior to her incarceration in the Washington County Jail.

“So the possible punishment you face in this case … this is what we call a Reagan Tokes case,” prefaced Washington County Common Pleas Judge Mark Kerenyi.

He explained that the charges against Caldwell are applicable to an indefinite range or term of years per a law enacted in 2019 following the abduction, rape and murder of a 21-year-old Ohio State University student.

“The court would have to pick a minimum and a maximum term,” said Kerenyi, giving a minimum range between three and 11 years and a maximum cap of the minimum plus 50 percent for the first-degree felony charge. “So the longest term you’re facing is 11 to 16.5 years of prison.”

Kerenyi also explained that there is a presumption against Caldwell which if found guilty would enter Caldwell into the “violent offender database.”

Caldwell pleaded not guilty to all three charges and her trial date if she is able to post bond was set for Nov. 9.

Bond was set at $500,000 in addition to a personal recognizance bond.

If Caldwell remains in the custody of the Washington County Jail, Kerenyi explained, her trial would begin on May 13.

Osborne, the remaining adult defendant in the case, was not arraigned in common pleas court Thursday but faces the same three felony indictments as Caldwell in addition to a final third-degree felony charge of having weapons under a disability due to a past conviction of a felony aggravated assault in Tennessee.

A third defendant in the case, a juvenile, is scheduled to appear for a hearing in juvenile court on March 3. On Wednesday after press time Coil noted that the case is more closely guarded than public charges against adults.

“I don’t want to say anything about it because we have to be careful about that,” she explained, criticizing other local outlets’ revelations concerning the minor without citing sources.

Rape, gross sexual imposition

In a separate case also appearing for arraignment via teleconference in Kereny’s court on Thursday, Christopher Tatalovich, 38, of 471 Berg Church Road, Whipple, is facing two first-degree felony counts of rape and seven third-degree felony counts of gross sexual imposition.

According to the indictment, the first eight counts against Tatalovich (all of the gross sexual imposition charges and one of the rape charges) refer to alleged sexual conduct with a victim while they were younger than 13 years old. Those counts cite alleged conduct between 2011 and 2019.

The final count of rape cites alleged sexual conduct with the same minor between 2019 and the conclusion of August 2020. which Kerenyi noted would have spanned time after the victim had surpassed the age of 13.

The indictment notes the final count included purposeful compelling of the minor “to submit by force or threat of force in violation of (state law) Rape, a felony of the first degree.

Coil also noted to the Times before the hearing that the prosecution and investigators believe the alleged sexual abuse spanned approximately a decade with several incidents at several residences dating the victim’s memory to their early toddler years.

“My concern in terms of the bond … is that there was a previous discussion with the victim, in which (Tatalovich) asked for notification if she were to notify authorities of this conduct,” said Coil. “He asked for a particular signal and in this case, he asked that the word ‘peaches’ be given to him so that he would know that that was coming.”

Tatalovich was represented by Defense Attorney Shawna Landaker, who argued that her client was not a flight risk and lives in Washington County.

“He lives in Ohio, he’s local, he was employed laying carpet before this incident,” Landaker explained. “People that have serious offenses do show up to court, so I don’t think that that’s something to be considered. We can certainly agree to (a) no-contact order. So we would ask the court to give him a reasonable bond.”

Tatalovich’s bond was set at $100,000 in addition to a personal recognizance bond and Kerenyi also issued new temporary protection and no-contact orders limiting Tatalovich’s interaction with the victim or two other family members.

Kerenyi noted that the crimes Tatalovich is accused of also carry the application of the Reagan Tokes Act and that he faces a maximum of 11 to 16.5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000.

If Tatalovich posts bond, his trial is scheduled to occur on Nov. 12; if not, May 16.

If convicted, Kerenyi also outlined, Tatalovich would be required to register as a sex offender. For the gross sexual imposition charges, the term of registration for a Tier II is every 180 days for 25 years, he said.

For a rape conviction, registration as a Tier III sex offender would be required every 90 days for life.

Other indictments

Thursday’s released report of the Washington County Grand Jury noted the review of 24 defendants “having examined (more than) 17 witnesses, covering 70 counts.”

Included in those indictments are Joshua Lee Campbell, 19, of 102 Summit Road, Marietta, for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony; a trafficking in cocaine case which also appeared in January indictments against Richard Mayle, 77, of 668 Hill Road, Cutler, and Angela Scott, 53, of the same address; and a first-degree felony case against Timothy Matthew Sampson, 29, of 206 Brentwood St., Marietta, with the “repeat violent offender” specification.

See the weekend edition of The Marietta Times for a full review of the remaining 21 defendants not outlined in the majority of this article.

Janelle Patterson may be reached at jpatterson@mariettatimes.com.

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