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Accused shooter disputes charges

Press Photo by Ashley Martin Joel Wetzel, who is charged in a burglary and shooting, gathers his paperwork after a hearing Wednesday.

A man accused in a Dickinson shooting has decided to keep his court appointed lawyer, he disputes charges against him and he disagrees with what official reports regarding the event say.

Joel Wetzel, Dickinson, was in Stark County Court Wednesday. He faces five charges for a July shooting and the 60-year-old has been compiling information to use in his defense. Kevin McCabe will continue to be his attorney, though last month Wetzel said he wanted a new one.

Wetzel was reportedly shot in the side by Dickinson Police Department Sgt. Dan Brown after allegedly breaking into a Dickinson residence and shooting at a door and injuring a resident. Wetzel is also accused of aiming a rifle at Officer Jeremy Moser.

"I've been working vigorously on this case," Wetzel said during Wednesday's hearing. "I was shot more than one time that night. In fact I was shot multiple times in the back and the doctors agree with me."

Judge William Herauf asked Wetzel how this relates to the charges against him.

"You can't get shot in the back multiple times trying to shoot an officer in front of you," Wetzel said. "An officer in front of you can't shoot you in the back multiple times and in the side with two shotgun blasts and a rifle."

McCabe is trying to schedule Wetzel for a medical evaluation to determine whether he has a mental defect or disease. If so, they intend to use that toward his defense.

Wetzel, McCabe and Hope all declined to comment after the hearing.

 Wetzel, who has a Purple Heart and was awarded a Silver Star in 1968, spent time in prison for manslaughter in 1994.