Three cases heading to grand jury


A total of three felony cases will go before a grand jury following the waiver of preliminary hearings in Hillsboro Municipal Court on Thursday.

Among those cases are two involving co-defendants, who were charged after items used to manufacture methamphetamine were allegedly found in a vehicle.

The Times-Gazette previously reported that Argentina R. Hill, 45, Hillsboro, and James M. Rust, 44, Hillsboro, were each charged earlier this month with third-degree felony illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs.

On Thursday, defense attorney Conrad Curren said an agreement had been reached in which Hill would waive his preliminary hearing and his bond would be reduced to his own recognizance (OR).

Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge David H. McKenna then asked assistant prosecutor James Roeder to come into the courtroom.

At that time, the judge asked if the state was aware of Hill’s criminal history which, he said, included 32 previous charges in the municipal court. McKenna added that Hill also has $2,300 in unpaid fines and court costs.

He also said co-defendant Rust has “more than twice” that number of past charges and outstanding fines and court costs.

The judge said, “I want to make sure the state is aware of the people they’re letting back onto the street.”

Hill ultimately entered a different agreement, wherein he waived his preliminary hearing and his bond was reduced to $25,000. His case will go before a grand jury.

Rust’s bond was also reduced to $25,000 after he waived his preliminary hearing. As such, a scheduled contempt of court hearing was not held. The judge said that hearing concerned a previous conviction for driving on a suspension.

Rust’s felony case will go before a grand jury.

Also waiving his preliminary hearing was Timmy L. Howard, 19, Hillsboro. He faces second-degree felony burglary and third-degree felony theft charges.

The Times-Gazette previously reported that Howard and a juvenile allegedly went into a Wizard of Oz Way residence and took guns, which they later hid in a field.

When Howard was last in court a 60-day jail sentence on a probation violation was imposed.

McKenna said on Thursday that Howard has a total of 270 days in suspended jail sentences “in addition to the 60 days” he is currently serving.

Howard’s case will go before a grand jury. His bond on the felony case is set at OR, according to records. A review of possible probation violations is set for Sept. 18.

In other cases, James D. Coleman, 44, Lynchburg, appeared on felony cases, but entered an agreement and ultimately pled guilty to two misdemeanor charges.

As previously reported, Coleman allegedly took several items from a residence he described as “vacant,” according to an affidavit. He later reportedly returned the items to the alleged victims.

Coleman faced charges of third-degree felony theft, fifth-degree felony breaking and entering, and first-degree misdemeanor theft.

On Thursday, Coleman pled guilty to theft, as well as fourth-degree misdemeanor trespassing, which was amended and reduced from breaking and entering. The felony theft charge was dismissed.

Defense attorney J.D. Wagoner said Coleman had no criminal record. He added that his client thought the involved residence was abandoned, but that “it turned out it was not.” He also said Coleman returned the property.

When asked if he had anything to say, Coleman apologized to the property owners.

On the theft charge, a 90-day jail sentence and a $1,000 fine were both suspended. He was ordered to complete counseling he is currently enrolled in. Coleman must also stay away from the alleged victims. A 30-day jail sentence was suspended on the trespassing charge. Coleman will have to pay a $250 fine.

The judge added, “Based on what I’ve seen and heard here,” Coleman will not be on reporting probation.

“Under the circumstances, I am going to be your probation officer,” McKenna said. He added that if there are any problems, Coleman will be placed on reporting probation.

Also on Friday, a $7,500 bond was set for Thomas A. Cornett, 46, Greenfield, after he appeared on a bench warrant. The Times-Gazette previously reported that Cornett was convicted of second-degree misdemeanor attempted illegal purchase of pseudoephedrine last June.

A 90-day jail sentence was suspended on the condition that Cornett have no contact with Walgreens, complete 20 hours of community service, and obtain FRS counseling.

Records show that Thursday’s warrant is the second that has been issued for Cornett’s arrest since his conviction. In September, he was found guilty of a probation violation. A 30-day jail sentence was imposed at that time.

If Cornett posts his bond, he will be on electronic monitoring house arrest. He is also on reporting probation and is prohibited from driving.

Courtney J. Groves, 25, Washington C.H., appeared on charges of third-degree felony domestic violence and first-degree misdemeanor assault. An agency official told The Times-Gazette that this is the first time they have had a felony domestic violence case involving a same-sex couple.

Courtney J. Groves’ cases are set for a preliminary hearing and a pretrial next Thursday. The judge said Courtney J. Groves has a history of domestic violence in the municipal court. Her bond is set at $5,000.

If Courtney J. Groves posts her bond, she will be on reporting probation. She must observe a curfew and is prohibited from driving or having contact with the alleged victim. Records show that a temporary protective order is in place.

Co-defendant Kenneth L. Groves Jr., 56, Hillsboro, was charged with first-degree misdemeanor aggravated menacing. A pretrial is scheduled for July 31. His bond is set at $1,000. He is also ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim and must observe a curfew. He is prohibited from driving.

Reach Sarah Allen at 937-393-3456, ext. 1680, or on Twitter @SarahAllenHTG.

Pictured discussing Argentina Hill’s case, from left to right, are assistant prosecutor James Roeder, defense attorney Conrad Curren, Hill, and Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge David H. McKenna. discussing Argentina Hill’s case, from left to right, are assistant prosecutor James Roeder, defense attorney Conrad Curren, Hill, and Hillsboro Municipal Court Judge David H. McKenna. Sarah Allen|The Times-Gazette
Judge: Two co-defendants have history in municipal court

By Sarah Allen

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