Attorneys negotiating possible plea deal for accused getaway driver

Cary Ashby • Mar 20, 2013 at 5:07 PM

A Knox County man accused of being his brother's getaway driver in a Willard business robbery could be on trial for three days.

Anthony A. Ward, 27, of Fredericktown, has an April 9 trial scheduled in Huron County Common Pleas Court. Ward, who earlier posted a $20,000 bond, is charged with one count each of each of complicity to aggravated robbery and robbery.

If convicted, Ward faces up to 11 years in prison. His next hearing is March 25.

Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler told Judge Jim Conway he's open to a plea agreement.

"We've talked a little bit," Leffler said about negotiating with defense attorney Reese Wineman.

Ward's older brother, Van J. Ward, 31, is serving a five-year prison term at the Lake Erie Correctional Institution for the June 27 crime at L&L Drive-Thru in Willard. He also is behind bars for one count of possession of drugs through Richland County.

On Dec. 3, Ward pleaded guilty to an amended charge of robbery.

The Huron County Sheriff's Office started developing leads in the case July 2.

Detectives Josh Querin and John Harris interviewed Van Ward on Aug. 14. Investigators determined the man was armed with an air-soft gun when he demanded money from the clerk and used half of the money stolen from L&L to buy heroin in Shelby.

"I very much felt like my life was in danger that night," the clerk said when Ward was sentenced in early January. "Every time the (door) beeper goes off, you jump.

"(My family) put the business up for sale because of this," he said.

After Ward provided a map on where the air-soft gun was, detectives recovered it that day in Willard.

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