June 26, 2016


Recent grad, 19, could face prison time for arson

MEDINA — A 19-year-old recent Medina High School graduate was indicted last week by a Medina County grand jury, accused of setting fire to the school’s Performing Arts Center.

Davon L. Phillips, of 345 W. Friendship St., is charged with aggravated arson, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 11 years in prison.

Davon Phillips

Phillips, who’s represented by Medina attorney David V. Gedrock, will enter a plea Thursday in Judge James L. Kimbler’s courtroom.

Police arrested Phillips a few hours after the fire was reported at 7:35 a.m. June 25.

Medina Fire Chief Robert Painter estimated the damage between $40,000 and $50,000, mostly from smoke and water. There was no structural damage.

Phillips graduated from the school earlier that month and was working at the school as part of the summer work experience program sponsored Medina County Workforce Development and Job and Family Services.

He’s being held at the county jail on $200,000 bond. [br]

Seven other men were indicted last week:

• A 36-year-old Wadsworth man charged with drug trafficking faces six more drug-related charges.

Michael J. Thewes Jr., 124½ Pine St., now has 11 counts — three third-degree, five fourth-degree and three fifth-degree felonies — including trafficking in marijuana, morphine, narcotics, psychedelics, stimulants and anxiety medication.

If convicted, he could face up to 25½ years in prison.

In addition, Thewes would have to forfeit $485 that prosecutors say he made from selling marijuana.

Thewes has no previous record in common pleas court.

He’ll enter his plea July 18 in Kimbler’s courtroom.

Thewes has been free on bond since June 17.

• A 20-year-old Lafayette Township man is charged with cocaine trafficking, a third-degree felony punishable by up to three years in prison.

Gabriel D. Pierman, 7634 Egypt Road, has no previous record in common pleas court. He will be arraigned next Monday before Common Pleas Judge Christopher J. Collier.

Pierman has been free on 10 percent of a $50,000 bond since Monday.

• A 59-year-old Wadsworth Township also is charged with drug trafficking with the same possible punishment, though this time it’s marijuana.

Ronald W. Keyser, 10031 Beech Drive, also has no previous record in common pleas court and he will be arraigned July 18 in Kimbler’s court.

Keyser has been free on 10 percent of a $30,000 bond since June 28.

• A 40-year-old Burbank man, who in 2011 was acquitted of stealing cars because he was found incompetent to stand trial, is charged with having a stolen GMC Safari on June 16.

Eugene A. Riffle is charged with receiving a stolen motor vehicle, a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 1½ years in prison. He’ll enter a plea Monday in Collier’s court.

This is Riffle’s ninth felony case in two decades in Medina and Wayne county courts — including vehicle theft, receiving stolen motor vehicles, aggravated vehicular assault, unauthorized use of motor vehicles, breaking and entering and stealing checks.

In a 2011 Medina County case, he was sent to Akron’s Haven of Rest Ministries, a rehabilitation center, after he successfully pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Riffle is at the county jail, held on $10,000 bond.

• A 25-year-old Wadsworth man is charged with beating a family or household member June 18, which is a felony charge because he’s been convicted on a similar charge before.

Jamie Smith, 127 W. Bergey St., is charged with domestic violence, a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 1½ years in prison.

Earlier this year, Smith was charged with another domestic violence count, which is set for an Aug. 19 trial.

Since 2007, he’s appeared two other times in county court on charges of breaking and entering and ecstasy possession.

Smith is being held at the county jail on 10 percent of a $40,000 bond.

He’ll enter a plea Monday in Collier’s court.

• A 30-year-old Barberton man was charged with heroin possession, a fourth-degree felony punishable by up to 1½ years in prison.

Kyle O. Pokorney has no previous record in Medina or Summit county courts.

He’s scheduled for an Aug. 8 arraignment in Kimbler’s court and was released from jail on bond June 17.

• A 33-year-old Brunswick Hills Township man is accused of breaking into an unoccupied building June 20.

Christopher A. Meade, 5036 Bringham Drive, is charged with breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony punishable by up to a year in prison.

Meade was placed in the county’s drug court program in 2010, but relapsed last month and was placed in jail.

Because of that violation, he was given no bond options.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com.

Nick Glunt About Nick Glunt

Nick Glunt primarily covers courts and crime in Medina County. He served The Gazette from September 2012 to December 2015. Contact him at (330) 721-4048 or via email at nglunt@medina-gazette.com.