Judge: Suspect applied for court-appointed attorney too late

Aaron Krause • Nov 5, 2013 at 9:07 PM

The preliminary hearing for a Collins man who allegedly robbed a landscaper at the Hartland Cemetery has been postponed.

Norwalk Municipal Court Judge Eric Weisenburger said Garry Ellis, 21, of 1475 DeRussey Road, Collins, applied for an appointed attorney too close to Friday's scheduled preliminary hearing. Due to time constraints of the court, the judge said he denied the request.

The judge asked Ellis if he still wished to continue with the preliminary hearing without an attorney representing him. The judge reminded him that he is accused of two felonies -- aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony and felonious assault, a second-degree felony.

Ellis first seemed willing to proceed with the preliminary hearing without an attorney, but asked Weisenburger to clarify matters. The judge told Ellis he applied for a court-appointed attorney a couple hours before the scheduled hearing, which didn't meet the court's deadline to apply. The judge added Ellis could re-apply for Weisenburger to appoint an attorney. The defendant said he wished to be represented, so he signed papers to re-apply.

The hearing was rescheduled for 1 p.m. Friday.

Authorities initially received a call of an armed robbery taking place at the DeRussey Road cemetery on Oct. 24.

Ellis allegedly ordered a landscaper at gunpoint into a small shelter on the property.

"The suspect ordered the landscaper to throw his cell phone into a field so he could not call 9-1-1," Huron County Sheriff's Detective Sgt. Josh Querin has said. "The victim complied with the orders because he was fearful of being shot. He was still fearful of being shot even after he complied with the orders."

Ellis allegedly stole the landscaper's truck and equipment trailer and money, and fled the area. He reportedly drove south and tried to conceal the truck and trailer in a thicket alongside Cook Road.

After another person observed the suspect, Ellis allegedly fled on foot and the individual followed him. Ellis then allegedly fired a weapon at the person.

Deputies converged on the entire area during the next hour.

"A witness said he saw the suspect running toward a house on DeRussey Road," Sheriff Dane Howard said. "We made contact with the homeowners and Detective Querin and Chief Deputy Ted Patrick located an individual we believed to be the suspect on the second floor of the home, but the individual's clothing did not match that of the suspect."

The person located on the second floor appeared to have been sleeping since they were dressed in pajamas, deputies said.

"The folks in the house said they never saw a masked robber," Howard said. "But after a while and after more investigation, we realized the stories weren't adding up from the people in the house."

Later, it was discovered, the suspect had tossed some of his clothing in a wooded area and left his jeans in a barn at the DeRussey Road residence.

"At one point, the suspect ran naked from the barn to the house," the sheriff said.

"We soon realized the stories from the people in the house were untruthful and arrested the girlfriend of the suspect, Shannon Rowe, 27, for obstruction," Howard said.

The obstruction charge is a third-degree felony, which is punishable by nine months to three years in prison.

Rowe was also in court Friday, and waived her right for the state to present evidence at a preliminary hearing. Weisenburger bound her case over to Huron County Common Pleas Court.

Howard has said Ellis' motive the motive for the robbery was to purchase diapers for his baby daughter and pain medication.

Editor's note: Reflector staff writer Scott Seitz contributed to this story

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