COLUMBIANA CO. Victim accuses ex-tenant
A county grand jury will next review the case and decide on an indictment.
By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
LISBON -- When Tom Rice of state Route 7, Madison Township, went to investigate a noise at his home, he was met by an ex-tenant who ordered him to sit down and then shot him, authorities say.
That version of Rice's April 10 shooting came out after a hearing Monday for the woman accused in the crime.
Michaelene Duffy, 43, of St. Jacob-Logtown Road, Center Township, appeared before Judge Mark Frost of Columbiana County Municipal Court.
After hearing testimony, Judge Frost ordered the case handed over to a county grand jury.
Duffy is charged with felonious assault, a second-degree felony bearing a maximum 8-year prison sentence.
Bond was increased
The judge also increased Duffy's bond from $100,000 to $500,000 cash or surety after county Prosecutor Robert Herron said he believes she is dangerous
Duffy is being held in the county jail.
After the hearing, Jerry Herbert, a county sheriff's department detective, said Rice was surprised at his home about 10:45 p.m. April 10 by Duffy. She entered the house armed with a small-caliber handgun and ordered Rice to sit down in a chair. While he was sitting there, she shot him about seven times and then left, Herbert said.
During the hearing, Herbert testified that Rice's son, Michael, arrived at the home shortly thereafter and took his father to East Liverpool City Hospital. Rice had been shot in the arm and chest.
Authorities say they believe the shooting was prompted by a dispute between Rice and Duffy that stemmed from when she rented a mobile home from him several months ago.
Julie Lenkey, an emergency room nurse who attended Rice, said at Monday's hearing that Rice told her Duffy had shot him.
Rice repeated that accusation Friday when interviewed by Herbert at Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Herbert said.
Rice was transferred to Presbyterian from East Liverpool and remains in serious condition, although he is expected to recover.
Duffy was arrested hours after the shooting at her home.
Her lawyer, Lawrence Stacey II of Columbiana, asked Herbert why a test wasn't conducted on Duffy after the shooting to determine if she had recently shot a firearm.
Herbert said such testing is not part of the standard procedure followed by the sheriff's department.
Stacey stated that Duffy had asked that such a test be administered. He also alleged that Duffy said she was at a gas station in Lisbon at or near the time of the shooting.
Stacey also said that hospital emergency room reports on Rice's treatment failed to state that he had identified Duffy by name to medical personnel, despite what Lenkey had said.