The case of two men accused of a bank robbery in downtown Delaware in August has been dismissed in Delaware County Common Pleas Court after they were indicted on federal charges.
Alonzo D. Groce, 19, of Columbus, and Jonathan E. Leon II, 24, of New York, were originally scheduled to begin trial on Nov. 10 to face charges of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. The charges also carry two specifications noting that a firearm was used in the robbery and that Leon is a repeat violent offender.
However, county assistant prosecuting attorney Cory Goe filed a motion Nov. 4, asking Delaware Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger to dismiss the case because the two men had been indicted by federal courts to face charges related to the same incident. Krueger dismissed the case on Thursday.
Information about the federal charges could not be obtained Friday. The two men were being held in the Delaware County Jail Friday afternoon.
Groce and Leon both entered not-guilty pleas at their arraignments.
First assistant county prosecutor Kyle Rohrer told Krueger that Leon went into the PNC Bank at 40 N. Sandusky St. on Aug. 24 and investigated it before leaving a few minutes later. Rohrer said Groce entered the bank about 20 minutes later with a .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol, demanding money from a bank clerk. Rohrer said the clerk gave Groce money, including three marked $50 bills, and then hit a silent alarm.
Groce left the bank and got into a waiting car driven by Leon but the two ran a stop sign at the intersection of Winter Street and Henry Street, where two police officers in an unmarked car happened to be sitting, according to Rohrer. They followed Groce and Leon.
Rohrer said Groce and Leon traveled to Interstate 71 and headed south, toward Polaris. State troopers attempted to pull the car over but Leon ignored sirens and lights. Rohrer said the men ditched the car near the CVS parking lot on South Old State Road.
Rohrer said the men fled on foot but Leon was located a few minutes later. When questioned by police, Leon said he had no involvement and didn’t recognize the car. However, when he was arrested, he told officers he needed his medication — which was in the car.
Rohrer told Krueger that Groce was found by police a couple of hours later in a drainage ditch. Rohrer said Groce was in possession of the money, including the marked bills, and the handgun used in the robbery. Groce reportedly confessed the crime to police when questioned.
Krueger set bond for Leon at $300,000 and at $450,000 for Groce.
Leon was also charged with failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony. Prosecutors said this charge was for not pulling his car over when he saw police signals.