July 25, 2016

Partly cloudy

Bond held at $1M for murder suspect

MEDINA — A judge refused Friday to lower the $1 million bond set for a Medina man accused of poisoning and killing his wife in February 2009.

Dennis Auerswald, 60, was the subject of a 1½-year investigation into the death of his wife, Maureen Auerswald, who was 60 when she died. Dennis Auerswald was arrested June 30 on aggravated murder, murder and forgery charges.

A coroner’s autopsy showed Maureen Auerswald died from acute intoxication from ethylene glycol. The chemical is commonly found in antifreeze.

A lawyer for Dennis Auerswald filed a motion to reduce his bond two weeks ago. In the motion, attorney Bob Campbell said Auerswald is not a flight risk and he knew about the Medina police investigation.

“The extended period of investigation provided (Auerswald) ample opportunity to leave the area if he was so inclined,” Campbell wrote.

However, county Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury said Auerswald is still a flight risk since he’s been officially charged. He also noted Auerswald has family and friends out of state.

Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier said while the bond is a high one, it is still appropriate.

“The offense in the particular matter is the penultimate criminal offense,” he said.

In addition to his criminal case, Auerswald is named, as well as the estate of Maureen Auerswald, in a complaint filed by a life insurance company two weeks ago. Court documents show American General Life Insurance issued a $100,000 policy for Maureen Auerswald in March 2007 with Dennis Auerswald named as the beneficiary.

In its complaint, the insurance company says that since the criminal investigation is ongoing, it’s unclear whether Dennis Auerswald or other beneficiaries of his wife’s estate are the rightful recipients of the benefits.

The company is asking to deposit the death benefits with the county clerk of courts pending the outcome of Auerswald’s criminal case.

A response to the complaint from Auerswald had not been filed as of Friday.

Contact Maria Kacik Kula at (330) 721-4049 or mkacik@medina-gazette.com.