Saturday, September 22nd, 2007
Charges of providing place for underage drinking dismissed
By William Kincaid
Charges of providing a place for underage people to drink against a Celina couple were dismissed in Celina Municipal Court this week.
Dropped were the charges against Randy LaRue, 44, and his wife, Tammy LaRue, 41, who were handcuffed and taken to the police department on June 9 after allegedly hosting a party where underage people were drinking.
According to court records, Celina City Law Director Kevin McKirnan in late June requested a special city prosecutor be brought on because of a conflict of interest or appearance of conflict of interest. Randy LaRue's mother is Celina City Mayor Sharon LaRue. Auglaize County Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Augsburger was appointed to the case.
Court records also stated that Mercer County Municipal Court Judge James Scheer recused himself from the case due to a conflict. Auglaize County Municipal Court Judge Gary Herman was selected as standing appointee.
On Monday, Augsburger requested a dismissal of charges on behalf of Ohio, which was accepted by Judge Herman. Court costs were assessed to the defendants.
Court records did not indicate why Augsburger sought to dismiss the charges. Augsburger was not available for comment on Friday.
Celina police responded to reports of a loud party at 11:11 p.m. June 9 in the area of Teaberry and Mockingbird lanes. Contact was made with the LaRues concerning the noise issue, and after leaving the LaRue home, police arrested an 18-year-old for underage drinking.
During the course of a subsequent investigation, the teenage boy reportedly provided information that he had been drinking at a party at the LaRue home.
Officers returned to the Mockingbird Lane residence and found the LaRues cleaning up following the party. A check of the property indicated only family members were present at the time.
Tammy LaRue, a Celina City Schools employee, and Randy LaRue were released after Celina Mayor Sharon LaRue posted bond.
Louis J. Schiavone, the couple's attorney, filed written not guilty pleas on June 18.
Before the dismissal of the first-degree misdemeanor charge, the LaRues had faced up to six months in jail and $1,000 fines.