Two men who are charged with a 2012 murder in Harlem Township were silencing a potential witness in a homicide investigation, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Reginald Timothy Conley, 27, of Lucasville, Ohio, and Jermaine Darnell Kelly, 31, of Columbus, are scheduled to go on trial Oct. 18. They entered not-guilty pleas in Delaware County Common Pleas Court Wednesday morning to charges, including murder and intimidation of a witness.
Kyle Rohrer, the county’s first assistant prosecutor, told Delaware County Common Pleas Judge Everett Krueger that in November 2012 Conley and Kelly were with a third man, Dontee Gervins, 29, of Columbus, when they drove him to Harlem Township on Nov. 9, 2012, and shot him in the abdomen.
Gervins made it to a nearby home in Harlem Township near Red Bank Road — where he asked residents for help — and was transported to Riverside Methodist Hospital, where he died nine days later.
Conley was charged with the murder in Delaware Municipal Court soon after Gervins’ death in 2012 but the case was dismissed 10 days later while an investigation continued.
Rohrer said Conley and Kelly are members of the Crips gang in Columbus and that Gervins was a witness in an ongoing robbery-homicide investigation involving other members of Conley and Kelly’s gang. Rohrer said that after Gervins was shot, Kelly made a phone call to one of the suspects in the robbery-homicide case and made incriminating statements regarding Gervins.
After hearing the details of the case, as well as descriptions of Kelly and Conley’s criminal history, Krueger set bail in the case at $500,000 for each man.
Conley and Kelly were indicted by a Delaware County grand jury on July 22 and were in the Delaware County Jail Wednesday.
Conley is charged with two counts of murder; one charge of intimidation of witness in a criminal case, a third-degree felony; and one charge of having weapons while under disability, also a third-degree felony.
Kelly is charged with two counts of murder; one charge of intimidation of witness in a criminal case, a third-degree felony; and two counts of having weapons while under disability, also third-degree felonies.
Both murder charges carry firearm specifications and gang specifications, both of which could add years to any potential prison term. Krueger told the defendants that the murder charges carry between 15 years and life in prison.
Rohrer explained after the hearing that the law allows murder to be charged two different ways — first, as causing someone’s death, and secondly, as causing someone’s death while committing another felony. In this case, Rohrer said the murder was committed while Conley and Kelly were also intimidating a witness, Gervins.
Rohrer said Conley is in prison on an unrelated burglary conviction and is projected to be released in March 2017.