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NEWTON FALLS Woman waives hearing



Published: Wed, May 8, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defendant and her attorney declined to say why they waived her right to a preliminary hearing.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A Trumbull County grand jury will decide if a 22-year-old woman who says she was assaulted by a Newton Falls police officer should be indicted on two felony charges.

Connie Casseday of Garrettsville waived her right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday in municipal court. She has pleaded innocent to charges of obstruction of justice and assault and battery on a police officer.

A misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct was dropped. Traci Timko-Rose, an assistant Warren city prosecutor, serving as special prosecutor on the case, would not say why.

Casseday and her attorney, George Kalafut, declined to comment on why they chose not to have a preliminary hearing.

Sheriff's investigation

Meanwhile, the Trumbull County Sheriff's Department is trying to determine if the Newton Falls officer used excessive force during Casseday's April 2 arrest.

Maj. James Phillips and Capt. Gary Bacon are investigating the actions of Sgt. Joseph Zimomra.

A videotape from a camera in a Newton Falls cruiser shows Zimomra repeatedly striking the woman on the head with a flashlight. Casseday was treated with seven stitches.

Zimomra has been suspended 30 days for his actions during the arrest, which took place after he and two other officers were dispatched to investigate a broken window at a local bar.

Zimomra has not been charged criminally.

Cassaday's companion, John Lusher, 23, also of Garrettsville, has pleaded innocent to charges of resisting arrest, vandalism, drunkenness and disorderly conduct.

His case has been postponed until May 30.

sinkovich@vindy.com




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