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STRUTHERS MELEE Attorneys for 2 sisters get more time to prepare case



Published: Tue, November 16, 2004 @ 12:00 a.m.



The sisters plan to sue Struthers and police officers who arrested them.

By MARALINE KUBIK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

STRUTHERS -- After arriving late for court, two Trumbull County sisters facing a variety of charges in a rampage at the police department Oct. 15 were granted more time to prepare their defense.

Amy M. McCollum, 22, of 1955 Greenville Road, Bristolville, and Deanna M. McCollum, 19, of 4400 Berkshire, Warren, were supposed to go on trial Monday morning, but one of their attorneys, Sarah Kovoor, asked that they be granted more time to prepare. The judge did not reschedule the hearing by close of business Monday.

Kovoor, whose practice is based in Warren, told Judge James R. Lanzo that she and Peter Horvath, whose practice is based in Lisbon, were just hired to represent the sisters Wednesday.

Kovoor is representing Deanna in the criminal charges. Horvath represents Amy.

Kovoor is also representing both sisters in a civil suit they plan to file against the city and police officers involved in their arrests.

Both women were charged with criminal damaging after police alleged that they pulled a video camera from a wall and smashed a telephone. Amy is also charged with disorderly conduct, Deanna with reckless operation of a motor vehicle.

Police said that in addition to damaging a video camera and telephone, the women used a chair to try to break a window. Deanna also urinated into a wastebasket and then used the trash can to try and smash a window, spilling urine all over herself and the room, police allege.

Their side

Since their arrests, the women have appeared on national television to explain their side of the story.

"We thought we were going to have a chance to tell our side of the story," Amy told a crowd of reporters after her and her sister's court appearance.

"We didn't think we had a choice," Deanna said, after a videotape of the women's bizarre behavior was released to the media and broadcast over dozens of stations.

When asked to explain their behavior, Deanna said she and her sister had been held for hours without being told what they were charged with, were never read their rights and did not have access to a restroom or telephone. "The police kept walking by smirking at us," she said. "We were mad; we were tired."

The women also accused the officers of flirting with them and failing to offer Deanna anything to cover her exposed breasts until her father arrived at the station.

The police report states Deanna refused to cover herself after police offered her an orange jumpsuit.

Their trial date has not been set.

kubik@vindy.com




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