'I didn't mean to misunderstand you in any way'

Cary Ashby • Oct 11, 2013 at 5:07 PM

The attempted murder defendant told the judge multiple times Wednesday he didn't mean any disrespect to the court or county prosecutor by violating his bond.

The Bellevue teenager said he should have paid closer attention to the court's recent order of not being on the Internet.

"I am truly sorry," said Tyler G. Smith, 19, of 233 Hamilton St. "I didn't mean to misunderstand you in any way."

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway told Smith that while he appreciated his apology, he said he made it clear during last week's guilty plea hearing that he wasn't supposed to be using the Internet and wasn't allowed to have any association or communication with the victim or anybody involved in the case. Upon reviewing the transcript of the hearing, Conway said it's clear he stressed that using the Internet was a way to communicate with those people and that Smith said he understood his bond conditions.

"I do consider this a violation of a direct order of the court," the judge said.

Conway revoked Smith's $500,000 bond. That means the defendant will remain in the Huron County Jail until he is sentenced Nov. 13 for one count of attempted murder.

Smith's parents declined to comment after Wednesday's bond hearing.

On Oct. 3, Smith pleaded guilty to attempted murder. As part of a plea deal, prosecutors dismissed one count each of conspiracy and tampering with evidence plus two charges of felonious assault.

The charges stem from the April 21 attack of a 19-year-old Dayton-area resident that left him clinging to life after Smith smashed his skull with a crowbar.

The victim, who first went to Willard Mercy Hospital, was transferred to the neuro-intensive care unit of Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. He was in critical condition there for a period of time. He later went to a Dayton-area rehabilitation facility, but has been released.

Smith, after the Oct. 3 hearing, was released from jail on a personal recognizance bond -- pending his sentencing hearing -- and placed on electronically-monitored house arrest. About noon Monday, about four days after the hearing, Huron County Sheriff's Sgt. Tod Wagner and the Bellevue Police Department arrested Smith at his home without incident about the text- and Twitter-related bond violation.

"Apparently, that (bond condition) got violated almost immediately," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said Wednesday.

Although Leffler said Smith's texts contained rather "innocuous" messages about having trouble sleeping, he was concerned because it was text correspondence that "got others upset" and led to the attempted murder in April.

Smith's co-defendants are Bellevue residents Connor C.D. Holbrook, 19, of 840 Kilbourne St., and his girlfriend, Brianna M. Boonie, 19, of 154 Hamilton St., Apt. 212. Holbrook's trial date is Nov. 19 while Boonie's is Dec. 10.

Holbrook is charged with conspiracy, attempted murder and obstructing justice as well as two charges of felonious assault. He has posted 10 percent of a $100,000 bond.

Bonnie is charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder or murder and obstructing justice. She posted a $75,000 bond May 23 -- about four days after being arrested in court on the warrant.

Smith's defense attorney, Tom Nicholson, said there were a number of texts prior to the victim being attacked. He estimated there were 100 to 200 messages with "awful, sailor-talk" between two women.

"But I'm not aware of any of these communications coming from Mr. Smith," Nicholson told the judge.

However, the defense attorney also said his client sent two texts, one of which said, "Go get them, babe." Nicholson told Conway he couldn't disclose what the women said to each other "because it was so awful" and contained some of the most vulgar language he'd ever heard two females say.

Nicholson claimed the prosecutor requested Smith not be allowed to use the Internet very late in last week's hearing and their plea negotiations.

"It really didn't come up until the last minute," Nicholson said.

About Smith's texts that violated his bond, the defense attorney said they weren't done to "upset the court" or offend one of the women's mothers. Nicholson urged the judge to consider the incident "a small thing" -- not a vendetta -- and give Smith a second chance.

"These are innocuous texts -- not meant to harm anyone," Nicholson said. "I wouldn't encourage anyone to violate a court order in any way."

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