Wetzel opposes court procedures
A 60-year-old Dickinson man accused in a shooting and burglary in the city made several requests at a Stark County hearing on Tuesday, including a request to dismiss the five charges against him. Joel Wetzel was without an attorney during the hea...
A 60-year-old Dickinson man accused in a shooting and burglary in the city made several requests at a Stark County hearing on Tuesday, including a request to dismiss the five charges against him. Joel Wetzel was without an attorney during the hearing and is representing himself.
Southwest District Judge William Herauf denied Wetzel's request to dismiss the charges against him.
Wetzel was reportedly shot by Dickinson Police Sgt. Dan Brown after allegedly breaking into a Dickinson home, shooting at a door and injuring a resident in July 2008. Wetzel is also accused of aiming a rifle at another officer. Wetzel faces five felony charges -- burglary, two counts of reckless endangerment and two counts of terrorizing, according to a Stark County criminal complaint.
An order was signed for Kevin McCabe to withdraw as Wetzel's attorney earlier this month and, on Tuesday, Herauf said Wetzel will be allowed to represent himself.
"He's absolutely entitled to do it, so he gets to do it." Herauf said at the hearing.
Wetzel is reportedly applying for an attorney to advise him on the case while he represents himself. After the hearing, Wetzel said he did not agree with the way McCabe represented him, so he wants to represent himself.
The case has gone on for more than a year. Wetzel waived his right to a speedy trial in April.
Neither Jim Hope, Stark County assistant state's attorney, nor McCabe were aware of any time constraints for a case to go to trial once that right is waived.
"I had to waive speedy trial because I hadn't seen any of the evidence yet," Wetzel said after the hearing.
Wetzel said he plans to use mental illness in his defense, saying he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
However, he disagrees with police reports about the events that led to the charges agains him.
According to the Dickinson Police Department, Brown discharged his shotgun, striking Wetzel in the side after Wetzel allegedly pointed his gun at an officer. Wetzel said he was not holding a weapon at the time and said he was shot in the back four times by three different officers.
"I really can't comment on what Mr. Wetzel was saying other than to say that his depiction of events aren't actually how the event happened and the facts of the matter will be brought out in trial," Brown said Tuesday.
According to a medical document provided by Wetzel, "findings are consistent with a gunshot injury, probably involving two bullets."
Wetzel said he has been offered a plea deal, but hasn't accepted.
"I'm not going to plead guilty to a crime I didn't commit," He said.
Wetzel feels his rights have been violated in several ways.
The Press was not allowed into two of his hearings, as they were closed to the public, even though Wetzel asked that the hearings be open.
"I want the people to know what's really going on in this case," Wetzel said.
Hope said he could not comment about the matters discussed in the closed hearing.
"The nature is so sensitive and is preliminary at this point," Hope said. "Obviously, if the matters that were discussed in the closed hearings are going to be presented at trial itself, then the matters would come out, but at this point the matters are too sensitive to be made public."
During Tuesday's hearing, Wetzel asked that an agency other than the Stark County State's Attorney's Office prosecute the case, accusing them of "prosecutorial vindictiveness."
"Obviously, we decline to do so," Hope said. "We don't think there's any reason for that."
Herauf denied Wetzel's motion.
Wetzel also said he wants a Grand Jury investigation.
He asked for a bond reduction and for motions previously filed with the court to be unsealed as well. Herauf said both of the requests will be considered.