By FRANK LEWIS
PDT Staff Writer
A SciotoCounty grand jury has indicted several people in potentially high-profile cases. Among those indicted is James H. Howell, 51, of Lucasville, who faces two rape charges dating back more than 10 years.
“This is a direct indictment, and is a (Scioto County) Sheriff’s Office case,” Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn. “The allegations date back to from between the first day of March, 2000, and the 13th day of June, 2000. These are cases involving child victims at the time, that came forward years later.”
Kuhn said a warrant had been issued for his arrest, but he had not been arrested as of Wednesday afternoon.
“The Sheriff’s Office will be looking for him to take him into custody,” Kuhn said. “Then they will set a date before one of the judges to arraign him.”
Stephen E. Drummond, 29, of Greenfield, Ohio, has been indicted on a count of felonious assault, a count of kidnapping and two counts of soliciting.
On March 17 into the early morning of March 18, Portsmouth Police arrested Drummond after a woman reported she was picked up and taken to the basement of a building downtown and choked to the point she became unconscious. The woman eventually escaped, she said, and was treated at Southern Ohio Medical Center. Police investigated and later arrested Drummond.
“The count of felonious assault was for the choking,” Kuhn said. “The one count of kidnapping comes from his moving her from one room to another after he strangled (chocked) her, and then two counts of solicitation.”
Kuhn said Drummond has been arraigned before Judge Howard H. Harcha III. He entered a not guilty plea, and cash or surety bond was set.
Michel L. Ross, 38, and Latoshia R. Malone, 31, both of Portsmouth face a laundry list of charges following superseding indictments that replace indictments that had been filed in April. Both Ross and Malone face drug-related charges, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity; conspiracy to engage in a pattern of corrupt activity; aggravated funding of drug trafficking; having a weapon while under disability and trafficking in drugs in the vicinity of a juvenile. Ross faces 21 counts in all, while Malone faces 19 counts.
“That was a replacement or superseding indictment on the Judah’s Jams case,” Kuhn said. “It just changed some of the lesser charges on that, that we thought were better under the synthetic drug statute.”
According to acting Police Chief Robert Ware, officers executed a search warrant at Judah’s Jams, 1020 Clay St., Portsmouth, in December 2011, following an investigation in the sale of bath salts. Police said the search revealed evidence of the sale of illegal bath salts and more than 100 containers of synthetic marijuana. Officers also say they confiscated a .40-caliber handgun; pirated music CDs and counterfeit clothing and purses.
“They were re-arraigned Wednesday afternoon, and they have entered not guilty pleas,” Kuhn said. “And they will be set for pre-trial hearings.”
At the time of the original indictments, two others were also charged — Raymond Robinson, 31, and Ranatha J. Thomas, 44.
Kuhn said Thomas and Robinson did not have a superseding indictments, meaning their original indictments from April grand jury action, remained unchanged. They face a series of drug-related charges.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.