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Wetzel waives right to a speedy trial

A 60-year-old man accused in a Dickinson shooting waived his right to a speedy trial during his pretrial conference Tuesday at the Stark County District Courthouse.

Joel Wetzel, Dickinson, who faces five charges in connection to a July shooting, gave up this right as a precautionary measure, his attorney, Kevin McCabe said after the hearing.

"He just wanted to do that on the record, just in case we need to postpone or do anything. He just wanted to clear the air there," McCabe said.

Wetzel and McCabe had planned to claim Wetzel has a mental illness, but a doctor has not evaluated him.

"We haven't abandoned that defense," McCabe said, adding he is continuing to look for a doctor to do the exam.

McCabe said if an evaluation is done, Wetzel's trial date may be pushed back.

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

Wetzel disputes all charges.

At the hearing, Judge William Herauf said a plea agreement must be reached in a week or else the matter will go to trial April 29.

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

He declined to comment after Tuesday's hearing.