BREAKING NEWS: Trimble retracts not guilty by reason of insanity plea

James E. Trimble withdrew his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for three charges of aggravated murder in open court yesterday.

Trimble is charged with the Jan. 21 shootings of his girlfriend, Renee Bauer, 42, her 7-year-old son, Dakota, and 22-year-old Kent State student Sarah Positano in Brimfield.

Defense attorney Dennis Lager retracted the insanity plea after the second day of jury selection. He did not say what the new plea would be.

Jury selection continued into its second day yesterday and was heard by Judge John Enlow in the Portage County Common Pleas Court in Ravenna. Trimble appeared attentive in the courtroom, focusing on the prosecutor, the defense attorney and Enlow.

Potential jurors were questioned about their media consciousness of the charges and their views on capital punishment. Some who took the stand were excused after they admitted pretrial opinions of the charges against Trimble. Potential jurors who were not dismissed were asked to follow up with a second questionnaire and call back after 4 p.m. Thursday.

The trial was initially scheduled to end in four weeks but now is expected to continue for a total of six weeks, Enlow said.

Tensions rose between Lager and Portage County prosecutor Victor Vigluicci as the lengthy selection process dragged on. Following a lunch recess, one potential juror’s questioning took more than an hour, Vigluicci said to Enlow. Enlow later calculated that as jury selection continues, the questioning of each new potential juror should take a half hour.

Enlow said he hoped to question 15 potential jurors today, hearing nine people in the morning and six people in the afternoon.

– Katie Phillips