June 25, 2016

Mostly sunny

Four felony trials rescheduled

MEDINA — Four men set for trial Monday in Medina County Common Pleas Court had their trials rescheduled:

• A 50-year-old Medina man accused of raping a girl under age 13 in December had his trial before Judge Christopher J. Collier postponed to Aug. 12.

Theodore W. Higdon, of 810 Ridgeview Road, is charged with rape, a first-degree felony.

He could spend life in prison because the girl is so young.

• A 44-year-old Wadsworth man accused of distributing child pornography in October is scheduled for an Aug. 26 trial before Judge James L. Kimbler.

Stephen M. Petrush, of 149 Wolf Ave., is charged with 10 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, punishable by up to a total of 80 years in prison.

• A 20-year-old West Virginia man accused of fatally wounding a Lodi motorcyclist with a stolen pickup in August is set for trial Aug. 20 before Collier.

Andrew J. Lester, of Crab Orchard, is charged with vehicular manslaughter, two counts of failure to stop after an accident, vehicular homicide and receiving a stolen vehicle and license plates.

If convicted, he could face up to 21 years in prison.

Lester already has pleaded guilty to lesser charges stemming from the crash: one count of receiving a stolen vehicle, a fourth-degree felony; three counts of receiving stolen checks, fifth-degree felonies; failure to stop after an accident, a fifth-degree felony; and interference with custody, a fifth-degree felony.

On June 4, Collier sentenced Lester to five years probation and 180 days in jail on the lesser charges.

• A 43-year-old former NASCAR truck series driver facing theft charges had two trials postponed.

Jack C. Smith, of 1961 Granger Road, Granger Township, had one case — in which he’s charged with receiving stolen property and two counts of having weapons illegally — set for July 29 in Collier’s court.

The other — theft and grand theft — was postponed in Kimbler’s court, but a new date was not available.

If convicted on all counts, he could face up to 9½ years in prison.

Smith was suspended indefinitely from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2011 for violating the league’s controlled substance policy. He was suspended the previous season for similar offenses, but the league reinstated him.

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.