September 2, 2014

Medina
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Teen accused of arson released

MEDINA — A judge on Thursday allowed a recent Medina High School graduate to be released from jail, where he’s been held since he was accused of setting fire to the school’s Performing Arts Center last month.

Davon L. Phillips, 19, was picked up Thursday from the Medina County Jail by his mother, Ola Phillips, who signed an unsecured appearance bond for $25,000.

Davon Phillips

“You don’t have to post any money,” Common Pleas Judge James L. Kimbler explained to Phillips at a hearing Thursday morning. “But if you don’t show up for trial, whoever signs that bond is on the hook for 25 big ones.”

Phillips previously had a $200,000 bond, meaning his mother would have had to post $20,000 to get him released, and then pay $180,000 if he fled.

Phillips, of 345 W. Friendship St., is scheduled for a Sept. 9 trial on a charge of aggravated arson, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 11 years in prison.

He pleaded not guilty to the charge Thursday.

Kimbler’s decision came after Phillips’ appointed attorney, David Gedrock, asked the judge to consider a bond reduction.

Phillips told the judge he’s lived in Medina all his life and has no previous criminal record, not even as a juvenile.

Phillips is accused of setting the fire at about 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 damage. There was no structural damage.

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

Also in court

Robert Koprivnyak

• A 21-year-old Seville man was arrested Thursday after failing to show up for presentencing and sentencing hearings.

Judge Kimbler issued the warrant Thursday and Robert M. Koprivnyak was arrested within hours.

Koprivnyak’s attorney, Bob Campbell, told Kimbler his client knew about the hearings.

Koprivnyak’s mother, who was in court Thursday without her son, confirmed he knew about the hearings and urged the judge to arrest her son.

“Bobby is extremely out of control,” she said. “I believe he needs to be in jail immediately.”

The man is accused of possessing heroin and trafficking cocaine, fifth-degree felonies punishable by a maximum total two years in prison.

He’s being held at the county jail without bond.

• A 49-year-old North Ridgeville man convicted of breaking into an unoccupied Medina preschool last November may be headed to a rehabilitation program instead of prison.

John F. Wise was charged in November with receiving a stolen check and breaking and entering, fifth-degree felonies punishable by up to a combined two years in prison.

County Assistant Prosecutor Michael McNamara said Wise broke into Hobby Horse Preschool, owned by Medina United Church of Christ, during the night of Nov. 16.

“It’s particularly egregious to break into a religious institution,” he said in court Thursday.

The preschool’s former director, Vicki Marty, told Kimbler she hoped the judge would help Wise overcome his mental health issues.

“Our prayer is that John gets better,” she said.

After talking privately with attorneys and Marty, Kimbler decided to see whether Wise could qualify for a Salvation Army rehabilitation program in Akron.

“If it wasn’t for this nice lady from Hobby Horse Preschool, you might very well be headed to prison,” Kimbler told Wise.

Wise’s sentencing hearing was delayed two weeks to see whether he qualifies for the Salvation Army program.

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