A city man facing the death penalty for the 2010 murder of an elderly man and the wounding of his wife is asking a judge to dismiss charges against him because of claimed violation of his rights.
Kevin D. Agee Jr., 25, of West Ravenwood Avenue, has been held in the Mahoning County jail without bond since his arrest in connection with the murder of Thomas Repchic, 74, and the attempted murder of Repchic’s wife, Jacqueline, also 74, who has since had a leg amputated as a result of the shooting.
The Repchics were shot in what police believe was a case of mistaken identity in a feud between two rival gang factions.
Agee could be given the death penalty if found guilty of the charges against him.
Agee stood before Judge Maureen Sweeney of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday reciting sections of Ohio law that he feels will set him free. Agee contends that his rights were violated because he was not given a preliminary hearing before the charges against him were bound over to a county grand jury.
“I am in illegal detention, your honor. The ball is in your court,” he told the judge.
Attorney Rhys Cartwright-Jones, representing Agee, told the court that a preliminary hearing was in order and a right Agee was not afforded. He said the charges against his client, therefore, should be dismissed.
Dawn Cantalamessa, an assistant county prosecutor, argued that Agee is only entitled to a preliminary hearing on the charges if he is not indicted within 15 days of arraignment. She said Agee was indicted within the 15-day period and therefore not entitled to a preliminary hearing or dismissal.
The judge said the matter would be taken under advisement and she will issue a decision at a later date.
Should Judge Sweeney not dismiss charges against Agee, his attorneys would still like to see him freed until his trial date. Cartwright-Jones told the court Agee should be given a bond because there is no clear evidence to his guilt and his client is no flight risk.
“Certainly Mr. Agee is entitled to a bond. I think by the weight of the evidence he is entitled to a very reasonable bond if not a recognizance bond,” he said.
Cantalamessa told the court that prosecutors contend that Agee did confess to being complicit in the Repchic murder. She said police found a list of evidence connecting him to the crime.
“There is plenty of evidence tying Mr. Agee to this crime. ... It was enough for a grand jury to return a death penalty specification,” she said.
Judge Sweeney said the court must weigh the severity of the crime with the fact that Agee does have a prior criminal record. He had been held without bond, but the judge set bond at $5 million.