COLUMBIANA COUNTY Ex-wife gets order against teacher
A protection order also covers the suspect's children.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- The ex-wife of an area teacher accused of conspiracy to commit murder has secured a court order protecting her from being stalked or harassed by her former spouse.
Cheryl Smith of Salineville obtained the order Wednesday against Thomas Kelm, 35, of 4099 Lisbon Road, Leetonia.
Cheryl Smith, 32, is not the potential victim of the murder plot in which Kelm is accused of participating, said Dave Smith, Columbiana County sheriff.
The sheriff said Smith contacted him about seeking the order. "She thought she might be the potential victim," the sheriff said. "I assured her she wasn't."
Worried about kids: The sheriff added that he thinks Smith also sought the protection order "because she's concerned about the kids" she had with Kelm.
Besides Smith, the protection order covers four children, ages 5 through 11, and Smith's husband, Jeffrey Smith, 37.
The document Smith filed to obtain the order alleges no specific acts for which it was sought.
The order itself states it is necessary for the "safety and protection" of Cheryl Smith and the others covered by the document.
The protection order includes a ban on Kelm's visiting his children until a further hearing on the order.
A hearing is set for June 8 before Magistrate Coleen Hall Dailey, of county common pleas court.
In jail: As of Wednesday afternoon, Kelm was being held in the county jail on $500,000 bond, awaiting a preliminary hearing set for Monday in Northwest Area Columbiana County Court on the charge of conspiracy to commit murder.
Authorities aren't divulging details of the plot or its intended victim.
Kelm was arrested Friday by deputy sheriffs after a nearly three-week investigation.
More people may be arrested, assistant county Prosecutor John Gamble said earlier this week.
Longtime teacher: Kelm is an agriculture and career development teacher at the Columbiana County Career Center, where he has worked for about 10 years.
School officials are reviewing his employment status in light of the first-degree felony charge against him.
The murder plot did not involve any of Kelm's students or fellow workers, Gamble said.