Judge denies plea change

Joey Pompignano

Hallie Nuspl, 21, of Akron, asked Judge John Enlow for a motion to vacate her July 9 guilty plea to not guilty.

Judge Enlow agreed with Portage County Prosecutor Steve Michniak, though, saying that there were no legal grounds to withdraw her plea.

Nuspl, whose charges stemmed from the assault and death of former Kent State graduate student John White, was charged with one count of assault and one count of falsification, both misdemeanors with a maximum sentence of 180 days each.

“The victim initially came to me and pushed me, and I retaliated,” Nuspl said.

Nuspl argued that the altercation started with Ragin and White.

“Everything got turned on me, and that’s not factual,” she said.

Judge Enlow agreed with Portage County Prosecutor Steve Michniak that there were no legal grounds to withdraw her plea. Enlow overruled her request and sentenced her to the maximum of 180 days jail for each count to run concurrently.

Last Tuesday John Ragin Jr. was sentenced to three years in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Ragin punched White, who fell hitting his head on the concrete and died five weeks later from injuries.

Michniak asked her the basis of her reasons for changing the plea negotiations. He said she posted on her Facebook page that she was relieved that the charges against her were misdemeanors rather than felonies, assuming probation would be the outcome instead of jail time.

Michniak accused Nuspl of instigating the fight. He said that Nuspl challenged people to fight on her Facebook page. He called her a “street fighter” and a “punk.”

“When she had to face consequences for her conduct, she got scared and rabbited,” Michniak said.

Defense Attorney Daniel Funk said that although Nuspl reacted unreasonably, he pointed out that she has no prior criminal record. He said she works full-time and is a single mother of a two-year-old daughter.

In her final statement Nuspl said, “I’m sorry for my actions. In the two seconds I had to think, which isn’t even enough time, is how it happened. I apologize for that, but it wouldn’t have been triggered if I hadn’t been pushed.”

Contact Joey Pompignano at [email protected].