As anyone who has paid attention to criminal trials in the past surely knows, the best laid plans of any court easily can change.
Still, as of Tuesday, Daniel and Jessica Groves are slated to be in front of Scioto County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Kuhn for a four-day jury trial to begin Oct. 15.
The couple are to be tried as co-defendants.
In the meantime, Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman told the Daily Times the pair may face further charges stemming from the alleged discovery at their former Otway home of supposedly stolen property.
Both Daniel, 42, and wife Jessica, 39, face 11 criminal counts, including aggravated murder, murder, gross abuse of a corpse, felonious assault and other charges relating to the death of their son, Dylan Groves, who was approximately six months old when he perished. Officials have not released an official date or cause of death as they await final autopsy results from a Dayton area laboratory.
As has been well-publicized, the county sheriff’s office states following up on a tip, on June 12 they discovered young Dylan’s body in a well in Otway near the Groves’ home.
Dylan’s parents, both dressed in jail garb and handcuffed, appeared Tuesday for a brief pretrial hearing held in Kuhn’s Portsmouth courtroom. Kuhn stated attorneys for both sides had met in a pretrial conference behind closed doors prior to the public hearing and mutually agreed on the October trial date. Kuhn set another pretrial hearing for Aug. 1, but also set Sept. 27 as the date for the final pretrial in the case.
Both suspects formally waived their rights to a speedy trial as guaranteed by Ohio law and the federal Constitution. The move is not an unusual one in serious criminal cases, and Kuhn noted waving those rights allows defense attorneys additional time to prepare their cases.
Daniel Groves still faces grand theft and obstruction of justice charges in an unrelated and still open case stemming from Groves allegedly cutting trees in a state forest.
Because Groves did not appear for an earlier court appearance in that case, it was temporarily listed as closed on the website of the county Court of Common Pleas. Tieman previously stated he received numerous questions about why the case was closed, but said those charges never were dismissed. What amounted to a sort of computer glitch resulted in the case being listed as closed electronically. The court website currently lists the case as open and also gives a trial date of Oct. 15 for those grand theft charges.
Following Tuesday’s pretrial in the murder cases, Tieman said the grand theft charges will not be folded into the murder trial but ultimately should result in a separate trial.
In any case, Daniel Groves at least could be facing further charges of receiving stolen property. At the time of his arrest earlier this month, sheriff’s Capt. John W. Murphy stated officials allegedly recovered numerous stolen items to include two four wheelers, two stolen trailers, a riding lawnmower, a camper and other items valued at a total of $42,000.
By now, the alleged story of Dylan’s short life has been well told in plenty of media outlets, including the Daily Times.
After allegedly being born with illicit drugs in his system, the county initially took custody of the child. However, officials allowed Daniel Groves to take custody of his son after he met all requirements for family unification as requested by officials.
Murphy stated after the county first returned Dylan to his father, Daniel Groves was compliant with all requirements set forth by Scioto County Children Services. However, Murphy further said after an unspecified amount of time the father started missing court dates, along with home and doctor visits for Dylan. According to the sheriff’s office, Scioto County Children Services made several attempts to locate young Dylan but with no success.
On May 3, Children Services enlisted the help of the sheriff’s office in finding the boy and Murphy said deputies did visit the Groves’ home at 2241 Mt. Hope in Otway but reported it appeared no one was home. Deputies apparently returned to the residence multiple times without success in locating either Dylan or his parents. Children Services as well as the Scioto County Juvenile Court also were involved.
On May 20, Sheriff Chief Deputy Todd Miller and Murphy responded to the Mt. Hope location in yet another attempt to locate Dylan. According to Murphy, the two spotted Daniel and Jessica Groves attempting to leave the area on a four-wheeler, resulting in a pursuit with the two disappearing into some nearby woods and eluding officers.
Finally, on June 10, Murphy said sheriff’s office detectives along with the Southern Ohio Drug Task Force were able to execute a search warrant at the Mt. Hope location. The sheriff’s office stated officials removed Jessica Groves from the property without incident, while Daniel Groves barricaded himself inside.
At that point, officials requested assistance from the Ohio State Highway Patrol special response team, to include their aviation unit. Officials finally were able to apprehend suspect Daniel Groves after a long standoff.
Attorneys for both Daniel and Jessica Groves stipulated to no bond for their clients and the two have been held with no chance of release since their initial arrests.
Reach Tom Corrigan at (740) 370- 0715. © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.