Defendant pleads not guilty in Kent State graduate student assault case

Kelly Byer

John H. Ragin Jr. plead not guilty today to a second-degree felony in a case of felonious assault involving a 28-year-old Kent State graduate student.

He was indicted yesterday by a grand jury and appeared before Judge John Enlow at the Portage County Common Pleas Court at 1 p.m. for the arraignment today. Bond was set at $250,000.

Ragin was arrested at 7:48 p.m. Jan. 26 without incidence at his residence, 1006 Merton Ave. in Akron. Lt. Rick Edwards, police information officer of the Akron Police, said the U.S. Marshals Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force also assisted in the arrest.

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

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 is in critical condition at Akron City Hospital.

Court officials said the altercation supposedly occurred outside the bars in Kent after Ragin involved himself in a verbal altercation between White and a female.

Ragin’s defense attorney, Danny James Weisenburger, 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 that except for a misdemeanor charge in Akron, Ragin has no criminal history that they are aware of and has never missed a court appearance.

-Kelly Byer