February 12, 2019
On December 5, 2018 Ian A. Cultrona came up with a plan to rob a known drug dealer. Cultrona explained the plan to Douglas M. Casteel, Lucian A. Lambes, Samantha S. Owen, and Lisa Freetage. After the plan was understood they proceeded to the area where they had agreed to meet the drug dealer. When the dealer realized it was a robbery attempt he tried to flee the area to get to safety but the offenders opened fire with a handgun. During the exchange police stated that at least five rounds were fired and a 17 year old that was sitting in the target’s vehicle was struck. The victims attempted to get out the area by driving away but the offenders started to chase them. The victim that was struck by the bullet stated that it was a high speed pursuit for a while as they tried to get away. They were eventually able to get some help from another driver in a truck that picked up the victims and drove them to the Newcomerstown police department.
During the course of the investigation police identified one of the suspects, Douglas M. Casteel, because he was placed at the scene due to being previously court ordered to wear an ankle monitor.
The defendants were arrested and Cultrona was charged with 3 counts of Attempted Murder with firearm specifications, 1 count Aggravated Robbery, 3 counts Felonious Assault with firearm specifications, and Conspiracy. The judge assigned to the case originally ordered that bond be set at one million dollars. During a recent hearing the presiding judge agreed to lower the bond amount to an ROR bond. ROR is released on recognizance which means the defendant did not have to put up any money or collateral to the courts or to a professional bondsman in order to be released.
Cultrona was released from the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Detention Center and remains free pending future court dates
Effects on the Community
The original judge that was presented the preliminary evidence of the case determined that the defendant was extremely dangerous to the community and issued a very high bond. High bonds are not issued as a punishment but as a method of keeping a defendant in contact with the courts. A high bond usually involves other parties that put up cash or collateral that they could potentially lose if the defendant fails to appear in court and will often result in those same guarantors to contact authorities if the defendant is attempting to flee the area in order to avoid court.
With a defendant being released on his own recognizance they are not held to any collateral, only a promise from the defendant that they will show up for all future cases. To put in in other terms, a person that created a plan to rob another person, involve other conspirators to help, then proceed to perpetrate the crime where gunfire occurs, has been trusted by the court system to be honest and do what the courts require.
This criminal defendant is now free to walk around other law abiding citizens who may not be aware that a potential robber may be next to them or worse, planning another robbery. The general public is at risk whenever a person is released pending charges as they have already shown a propensity towards criminal actions in lieu of employment.
Potential Taxpayer Costs
If this defendant fails to appear in court it will be the responsibility of law enforcement to locate him and take him back into custody. This can be very costly as officers must be paid, vehicles must be maintained and fueled, and support staff must be utilized. Instead of officers/deputies patrolling neighborhoods and businesses to suppress crime, an agency will assign a team to attempt to locate just one person keeping the law abiding citizen without a full complement of patrol officers.
In addition to the law enforcement cost of service, the courts are also affected. The judge was present in the courtroom where the defendant failed to appear, just as all supporting staff was present. From the time the defendant fails to appear the case must be placed on hold which can also jeopardize evidence and potential witness testimony.
Changing the bail system to cater to the defendant removes the rights of the victims and the community as a whole.
This story was brought to the attention of Badge & Bail Magazine by Rick Hall who works with AA American Bail Bonds out of Galion, Ohio.