Huron County Assistant Public Defender David Longo abruptly quit his job before a jury trial Tuesday morning.
"He indicated he had submitted it (a resignation letter) that morning prior to coming to court," Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said.
After Longo made his announcement in chambers, Conway had officials get Public Defender George Ford out of a juvenile court hearing. The judge said he asked Ford if there were any attorneys in his office who were able to proceed with Longo's case.
Longo, 47, was defending Willard resident Joshua D. Bartell in connection with assaulting a carnival worker June 29. In August, a grand jury indicted Bartell on aggravated robbery, robbery, felonious assault and kidnapping.
Conway declined to say if Longo's decision had to do with the case of Bartell, 27, of 3934 Walnut Road.
"I really can't comment on any of the details of a pending case," the judge added.
Ford has met with Longo within the last 36 hours, but has not received a resignation letter. He confirmed Longo has tendered his resignation. Longo earns $38,463 per year from the county position.
"I have taken it under advisement and Dave has taken some time off," said Ford, who declined to discuss Longo's "personal business." "I have not accepted it or rejected it."
A recorded message at Longo's Milan home indicated the telephone number had been disconnected or was no longer in service.
Attorneys had not started interviewing the potential jurors when Longo resigned.
"We had 71 jurors sitting there. It wasn't the way to do things," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said, who added Longo quit "on the spot."
"It was put on the record he quit," Leffler continued. "He had a letter with some choice words for the court and his boss (Ford). I didn't get to read the letter thoroughly."
"The jury was there for a very brief time," Conway added. He said it was unfortunate because the court attempts to make sure it is a good steward of residents' time.
What also was unfortunate, Leffler said, was the victim drove from Indiana and a doctor had to reschedule his appointments in order to testify Tuesday.
Longo's former client, Bartell, and his brother, Chad M. Flanders, 32, are accused of scheming to rob the victim after they befriended him. He was working at a Willard festival at the time.
Prosecutors have said Flanders and Bartell were supposed to drive the victim to Willard, but instead dragged him out of their vehicle. The culprits are accused of punching and kicking the victim for about 20 minutes before stealing his wallet, $40, jewelry and a leather jacket.
Willard EMS transported the victim to the hospital after going to a Thomas Road home. He sustained a couple broken ribs, a collapsed lung and a blood cot in his eye.
Flanders, of 2818 Section Line Road 30, Willard, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to felonious assault and failure to comply with the order of a police officer. In exchange, the state agreed to dismiss multiple other charges, including aggravated robbery and several counts of failure to comply in connection with leading a deputy on a high-speed chase.
Flanders, whose bond is revoked, is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 21. He has been in custody at the Huron County Jail since June 30. Bartell has been at the jail since June 29, unable to post a $100,000 bond.
On Tuesday, the court rescheduled Bartell's new trial date for Dec. 11, based on Ford's request.