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Judge recuses himself from murder case hearing

By Michael Harrington • Updated Jan 26, 2019 at 8:08 AM

BELLEVUE — A Sandusky County judge recused himself from a hearing for a Bellevue murder case.

John Frost, 59, of Bellevue, faces charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter and having weapons under a disability. The prosecution alleges Frost was drug dependent at the time of the shooting and shouldn’t have been allowed to have a firearm.

He was scheduled to have a suppression hearing Wednesday to challenge if statements he made to the court would be admissible in a trial, but the hearing was delayed after Judge Jeremiah Ray recused himself.

“It came to my attention after sitting in at the hearing that I had previously represented Mr. Frost years before when I was private practice lawyer,” Judge Ray said. “Based on that alone I felt compelled to recuse myself to avoid any appearance of bias.”

The case was originally in Judge John Dewey’s court, but it was the court’s policy to move suppression hearings to the other Judge’s docket when the sitting judge issued the warrant in the case.

The suppression hearing has been postponed until the Ohio Supreme Court appoints a visiting judge. Judge Ray said normally the case would revert back to Judge Dewey’s court after the hearing, but he was unsure if that would still be the case once a visiting judge is appointed.

On July 30, Curtis Gibbs went to a Bellevue apartment complex on Thomas Drive. Shortly after his arrival, numerous 911 calls were made about gunshots and a man bleeding in the hallway.

When Bellevue police arrived, they found Gibbs dead in the hallway from an apparent gunshot wound. Officers confiscated two handguns — Gibbs’ gun and Frost’s gun — and both had been fired.

Officers questioned Frost, a resident of the apartment complex, about the death and charged him with murder the following day.

Frost’s family claimed Gibbs came to the apartment complex to break-in and the shooting was self-defense. Gibbs’ family, however, said he went to find his girlfriend and was shot by Frost before he even got to the door.

 

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