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Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Two local men face cocaine, other counts related to fatal crash

By Margie Wuebker
The driver implicated in a March traffic accident that claimed the lives of four area men faces 16 additional charges, including several related to drugs, in the wake of a special grand jury session this week.
Grand jurors also returned a 10-count indictment against a 22-year-old St. Henry man alleging he played a role in the quadruple fatal as a result of trafficking in drugs.
The new indictment charges 22-year-old Nicholas R. Schwieterman, 90 S. Maple St., Chickasaw, with four counts of involuntary manslaughter in the March 15 deaths of Jordan Moeller, Jordan Diller, Bradley Roeckner and Jordan Goettemoeller, all of the Maria Stein area.
The offenses, all first-degree felonies, allege the deaths are the proximate result of Schwieterman committing or attempting to commit felony drug possession.
The indictment also includes eight counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of operating a vehicle under the influence (alcohol, drugs of abuse or a combination of both), one count of drug possession and one count trafficking in drugs.
The drug charges allege he knowingly obtained, possessed or used cocaine in an amount of less than 5 grams and sold or offered to sell a similar amount of the same drug.
Charges also have been filed against Staush M. Homan, 22, 582 N. Eastern Ave., St. Henry. Those charges include four counts of involuntary manslaughter, four counts of reckless homicide and two counts of trafficking in drugs. The drug charges allege that he sold or offered to sell cocaine in the vicinity of a school on March 14 and March 29. The latter incident reportedly involved a sale to an undercover agent.
Schwieterman received the court paperwork Tuesday at the jail. Homan was taken into custody Tuesday and remains incarcerated pending an initial appearance in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
Schwieterman initially was indicted by a grand jury on March 20 with eight counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and two counts of operating a vehicle under the influence. Not guilty pleas have been entered on his behalf.
Mercer County Prosecutor Andy Hinders told The Daily Standard the defendant's blood-alcohol content registered 0.134, considerably over the 0.08 legal limit.
The 2:51 a.m. accident on March 15 occurred at the intersection of Brockman Road and County Road 716A, north of St. Sebastian. Schwieterman allegedly failed to stop for the Brockman Road stop sign while traveling westbound and struck a northbound car driven by Moeller. The four victims were pronounced dead at the scene.
Test results on the accident report at the Mercer County Sheriff's Office indicate Moeller had not been drinking as his blood-alcohol content registered 0.000.
Schwieterman's attorneys, Scott M. Calloway and Marc T. Ross, have filed a motion seeking bond reduction to allow his release from jail on his own recognizance with clearly defined conditions. A memorandum accompanying the motion calls his current $1 million bond "unnecessary and excessive."
Citing excessive media coverage, the attorneys added, "Bond is meant to ensure (the) defendant's presence in court for all appearances. It cannot be and should not be a reflection of the notoriety of a case or the assumed guilt."
A hearing on the bond reduction is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
Additional online story on this date
Three dams built on the Wabash River to control residential and agricultural flooding were deemed to be in good shape following a tour Tuesday by local and state officials from the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service. [More]
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