Anthony J. Pardon, 53, accused Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien of inviting the media and the victim’s supporters to the hearing. He objected to the presence of TV cameras as well as family and friends of the victim in the courtroom, O’Brien said, despite laws that make courtrooms open to the public.
Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Stephen L. McIntosh went into the holding cell adjacent to the courtroom with O’Brien and defense attorneys Larry Thomas and Isabella Dixon to speak with Pardon, who still refused to participate in the hearing.
“He expressed to judge that I was trying to turn it into a sideshow,” O’Brien said. “That was his word that he used.”
The hearing was set merely to allow the attorneys and judge to discuss the status of the case. A trial date has not been set.
Pardon, a convicted sex offender, is accused of aggravated murder, rape, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary in the death of 24-year-old Rachael Anderson, whose body was discovered Jan. 29 in a bedroom closet at her apartment in the 3000 block of Allegheny Avenue in Columbus. An autopsy determined that she had been suffocated and stabbed.
O'Brien said he didn’t contact media members about Tuesday’s hearing and that supporters of the victim were well aware of the hearing date.
“The media has an interest in this and the victim’s family has an interest in this,” he said. “The judge advised (Pardon) that that's something that's going to continue throughout these proceedings.”
Thomas said he and Dixon will meet with Pardon to explain open courtrooms and the importance of his participation.
“He doesn’t want to be in a situation where he's just paraded in front of cameras, in his opinion, for no reason,” Thomas said. “No defendant ever has to appear. There’s no law that requires a person accused of a crime to appear ... I’m confident in the future he will appear.”
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