Trial rescheduled for central Ohio theft ring leader


The trial for one of the alleged leaders of a nine-county theft ring has been moved to February.

Several of the other defendants in the case are also asking that their trials be continued.

Justin Emmons, 26, of Marion, was in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Wednesday morning with his attorney, Scott Culbert, asking Judge Everett Krueger to reschedule his Dec. 15 trial to allow for more time to prepare a defense.

Culbert filed a motion to continue the trial on Dec. 3 to “allow more time for further negotiations as well as time to review the voluminous discovery [prosecutors] are still providing to counsel.”

Culbert added in his motion that there are a number of co-defendants in the case who will also be asking to continue the trial as well.

A hearing was held on Wednesday morning and Krueger granted the defense’s motion, rescheduling Emmons’s trial for Feb. 2.

Similarly, Thomas Waldeck, the attorney representing another of the group’s alleged leaders, Wendy Sue Emmons, 46, asked the trial be continued because he has been unable to maintain consistent personal contact with his client since she is currently incarcerated at the Ohio Reformatory for Women. Waldeck said prosecutors offered Wendy Emmons a plea deal but when he discussed the terms with his client, she declined. Waldeck said because the process of meeting with his client took so long he was unable to adequately prepare for the trial.

Waldeck said he believes an agreement between Wendy Emmons and prosecutors is still possible.

Christopher Burchinal, the attorney for Jordan Emmons, 24, the final alleged leader of the group, also filed a motion on Dec. 7, asking for a continuance to go over the large amounts of evidence the prosecution continues to provide.

Hearings on Waldeck’s and Burchinal’s motions to continue those trial have not yet been scheduled.

Justin, Wendy and Jordan Emmons are alleged to be the leaders of a theft ring that stretched across central Ohio. Prosecutors say the Emmonses would recruit friends, get them addicted to drugs and then force them to steal in order support their habits.

The thieves in the group would steal small but valuable items, like bags of candy or fishing lures, then sell them to an 82-year-old man named Philip Roger Burkholder, of Forest, Ohio, who would then sell them at auction.

Prosecutors allege the ring is responsible for stealing between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of goods from stores in Delaware, Crawford, Seneca, Richland, Marion, Franklin, Morrow, Hancock and Logan counties.

One of the thieves in the case, Stevie Rea Henry, 26, of Marion, pleaded guilty to money laundering and theft charges Tuesday and has agreed to testify against the other defendants in the case.

As press time Wednesday, the trial for Burkholder and three other defendants remains scheduled for Dec. 15.

Justin Emmons Emmons

By Glenn Battishill

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Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

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