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EAST PALESTINE Hearing set for teacher accused of conspiracy to commit murder



Published: Wed, May 30, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The plot to kill did not involve any of the suspect's students.

EAST PALESTINE -- A preliminary hearing is set for Monday in Northwest Area Court in Salem for an area teacher accused of conspiracy to commit murder.

Thomas Kelm, 35, of 4099 Lisbon Road, Leetonia, appeared Tuesday before Judge Mark Frost of Eastern Area Columbiana County Court here.

Judge Frost set Kelm's bond at $500,000 cash or surety. He remained in the county jail as of Tuesday afternoon.

Kelm, a teacher at Columbiana County Career Center, has been in jail since Friday, when county deputy sheriffs arrested him at the Rogers sale, a flea market, where he was selling chickens.

Under wraps: Authorities are releasing few details about the murder plot or its potential victim or victims.

The plot is unconnected with any of Kelm's students or with any of his fellow teachers, said Atty. John Gamble, an assistant county prosecutor.

Authorities think they have identified everyone connected with the conspiracy to kill, Gamble said. "There may be other arrests," he added.

FBI, sheriff's probe: Kelm's arrest resulted from a three-week investigation by the county sheriff's office and the FBI.

Kelm is divorced and the father of four children, Gamble said. He has been a teacher at the career center for about 10 years.

If convicted of the first-degree felony, he faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison.




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