Ragin pleads not guilty in case of graduate student’s assault

Kelly Byer

An Akron man pleaded not guilty to a second-degree felony Friday in the case of felonious assault involving a 28-year-old Kent State graduate student.

John H. Ragin Jr., 21, was indicted by a grand jury Thursday. He appeared before Judge John Enlow at the Portage County Common Pleas Court for arraignment at 1 p.m. Friday. Bond was set at $250,000.

Ragin was arrested at 7:48 p.m. Jan. 26 without incident at his residence in Akron. Lt. Rick Edwards, police information officer of the Akron Police, said the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force assisted in the arrest.

Edwards said Ragin was transferred to the custody of Kent police later that evening at the Best Western hotel on Gilchrist Road near Interstate 76.

At the arraignment, Ragin’s defense attorney said Ragin had made arrangements with Kent Police Lt. Robert Treharn to turn himself in.

The alleged assault took place at 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 23 at 108 S. Water St. near the intersection of West Main. John T. White, a 28-year-old Kent State graduate student and Iraq War veteran, received head injuries and was transported to Akron City hospital.

Steve Michniak, Portage County assistant prosecutor, said the alleged altercation occurred outside the bars in Kent after Ragin involved himself in a verbal argument between White and a female.

Danny James Weisenburger, Ragin’s defense attorney, said he is aware of one witness in the case and is looking for additional witnesses.

“At this point, I’m still investigating the situation,” Weisenburger said.

Ragin has been a resident of Akron for 10 years and attended Ohio Dominican University. Court officials said except for a misdemeanor charge in Akron, Ragin has no criminal history they are aware of and has never missed a court appearance.

His pre-trial is scheduled for March 25 at 1 p.m. and the trial is scheduled for March 30 at 9 a.m. in front of Enlow at the Portage County Common Pleas Court.

Contact public affairs reporter Kelly Byer at [email protected].