Enlow, counsel talk about lesser charges, admitted evidence

Audrey Wagstaff

RAVENNA – Public defender Dennis Lager discussed lesser charges with Portage County Common Pleas Judge John A. Enlow in court yesterday. No jury was present.

Lager said he would like to see James E. Trimble, who killed his girlfriend Renee Bauer, her son Dakota, and Kent State student Sarah Positano, charged with the lesser charge of reckless homicide.

Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci objected.

“It’s the state’s position that there is no proper lesser (charge),” Vigluicci said.

Enlow encouraged Lager to consider other lesser charges.

“You may want to take a look at involuntary manslaughter while committing a felony,” Enlow said. “There’s been an amendment to that statute in the last two years.”

Enlow also informed the defense that the charge of murdering Bauer’s son would stand.

“I can tell you there will be no lesser (charge) as to Dakota,” he said.

Enlow also went over the defense’s admitted evidence and witness testimony. The defense rested its case Wednesday.

Although no witness took the stand for the defense as to Trimble’s state of mind during the trial phase of the case, Lager did read excerpts in court about his drug use prior to and on Jan. 21.

Lager said Trimble had a history of drug use and was taken by ambulance in June 2004 for a drug overdose. Bauer was said to have made the 911 call.

Lager said Trimble was treated during that time for drug overdose and became violent while at Robinson Memorial Hospital. Lager said he had to be sedated. Lager said the “violent and explosive rage and anger” Trimble exhibited was caused by drugs.

In addition, Lager also presented the court with evidence that a hair sample taken from Trimble in April of 2005 tested positive for methamphetamines and a cocaine-based derivative.

The sample indicated Trimble “had a significant amount of methamphetamines in his system in January,” Lager said.

Lager also said DNA analysis of the T-shirt worn by Trimble on Jan. 21, which contained blood stains, tested to be his, also tested positive for methamphetamines and a cocaine-based derivative.

Swabs from the T-shirt were sent to Lager from the National Medical Service in Pennsylvania. However, Lager will not present these as evidence as he is requesting the actual T-shirt.

Final arguments are scheduled for Monday morning. Today, the prosecution will be going over evidence with the court reporter.

After final arguments, the jury will be sequestered until they reach a verdict. If Trimble is found guilty, Enlow said he will recess the court for at least a few days so counsel can notify witnesses for the sentencing phase.

Enlow said he does not automatically assume there will be a sentencing phase, but, “If we would go to a sentencing phase, I would look to starting the first or second of November,” he said.

Contact public affairs reporter Audrey Wagstaff at [email protected].