Man pleads not guilty to attempted murder charge in DickinsonA 23-year-old man accused of shooting his coworker Dec. 16 in Dickinson pleaded not guilty to attempted murder during a hearing at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson Monday afternoon.
By Ashley Martin
A 23-year-old man accused of shooting his coworker Dec. 16 in Dickinson pleaded not guilty to attempted murder during a hearing at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson Monday afternoon.
Michael Lewis Pope is accused of shooting Darren Obrigewitch, 22, multiple times. Both resided in Dickinson at the time.
“Luckily, he survived,” said Rhonda Ehlis, Stark County assistant state’s attorney. However, no one said how he is physically doing now.
Pope, Obrigewitch and Pope’s roommate had been out drinking prior to the incident, police testified.
“Darren was starting to pick fights with other patrons of the bar,” Dickinson Police Officer Travis Leintz said.
The trio got into a vehicle and left and Obrigewitch allegedly began beating Pope in the backseat, Leintz said.
“It appeared that he had been struck several times,” he said of Pope. “He had black and blue eyes.”
Dickinson Police Capt. David Wilkie said Pope had swelling in several places on his head.
Pope allegedly told police he and his roommate pulled Obrigewitch from the vehicle and left him on the side of the road, Leintz said.
However, Obrigewitch allegedly told police he exited the vehicle on his own because of the operator’s erratic driving, Leintz said.
“According to him they tried to strike him with the vehicle when he was outside of the vehicle,” Leintz said.
Obrigewitch then allegedly got a ride to Pope’s residence, a camper in south Dickinson, and exited the vehicle with a bat, Leintz said.
Witnesses told police Obrigewitch broke out a window of Pope’s roommate’s vehicle. The roommate came outside, but ran from Obrigewitch, Leintz said.
Obrigewitch allegedly threw the bat at Pope’s roommate and turned toward Pope who had grabbed a loaded gun. Witnesses stated Pope shot him between one and five times, officers said.
“According to him, (Pope) shot him one time in the abdomen and then he fell to the ground,” Leintz said. “According to Darren, I believe his words were ‘please don’t do this,’ and then the rest of the shots were fired.”
Leintz said a surgeon told him it appeared Obrigewitch was shot five times.
Ashley Holmes, Pope’s attorney, said he shot Obrigewitch out of fear.
“There’s no evidence to show that Mr. Pope’s intent that night was to cause the death of another person,” she said.
Police say they and witnesses could see Pope was frightened and began crying after allegedly shooting Obrigewitch.
However, Ehlis pointed out Obrigewitch did not appear to be armed when Pope allegedly shot him.
“Being scared of someone isn’t reason to use deadly force on an individual,” she said. “He could have simply shut the door and locked it and probably kept drunk Mr. Obrigewitch out of the house for at least enough time to call 911 himself.”
Though Judge H. Patrick Weir questioned the charge, a Class A felony, he found probable cause to move forward with the case.
In other court news
Rickie Allen Olheiser
Five charges against Rickie Allen Olheiser, 43, were dismissed during a hearing at the Stark County Courthouse in Dickinson Monday.
Three felony charges, including possession with intent to deliver meth and possession of meth paraphernalia, were dismissed because he has been indicted in federal court, Jim Hope, Stark County assistant state’s attorney said.
“Basically our case has been swallowed up by the federal charge,” Hope said.
Olheiser also faced two protection order violations which were dismissed partially because Hope expects him to be in prison for a lengthy period of time due to federal charges and partially because he faces several similar misdemeanor charges.
A 29-year-old Dickinson man will be on probation for five years for luring a minor, his attorney, Kevin McCabe said Monday.
“If he’s good, it’ll come off his record,” McCabe said.
Zastoupil was arrested after asking a person he thought was younger than the age of 15 to have sexual intercourse with him and engage in other sexual acts in September, according to his criminal complaint.
Zastoupil had been communicating with an officer posing as a young teen, authorities said.