Murder suspect not 'principle offender'

Woman arrested at Norwalk apartment.
Cary Ashby
May 24, 2014

A Norwalk woman charged in connection with a murder-related arson in Sandusky isn't suspected of being the primary offender.

Bethany M. Sandy, 24, of 76 W. Chestnut St., Apt. C, was arrested at her Norwalk apartment late Thursday night and brought to the Sandusky police station for an interview, police said. Following that interview, which happened about 1:30 a.m., Sandy was charged with one count each of complicity to aggravated murder, complicity to aggravated arson and complicity to aggravated robbery.

"It's safe to say we believe her (Sandy) truly to be an accomplice, not the principle offender," said Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter, who spoke to the press Friday.

Sandy's charges are in connection with the Dec. 3 house fire at the home at 2201 Campbell St., Sandusky, of the deceased victim, 86-year-old George Martin.

"Mr. Martin was violently assaulted," Sandusky Police Chief John Orzech said during Friday's press conference.

Martin lived at the home with his wife, 81-year-old Florence.

"The elderly female had arrived shortly after they put out the fire and she believed her husband was still inside the residence," Orzech said about Martin's widow.

"Miss Sandy and her accomplice went to the residence to try and steal money or items that could be sold," Orzech said.

The chief declined to release the name of Sandy's suspected co-defendant and wouldn't comment if the man is related to her.

"He's in custody in one of the prisons in Ohio," said Orzech, who believes the man also is from Norwalk.

"Just these two are involved from what we've learned in the investigation thus far," the chief added.

Orzech credited the Norwalk Police Department with assisting with the investigation, but it's unclear what their role was.

Detective Sgt. Jim Fulton said Detective Sgt. Seth Fry received a tip about the case, which he forwarded to Sandusky police. Fulton referred further questions to Fry, who in turn said he "isn't comfortable talking about the investigations by other agencies." Chief Dave Light couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

Sandusky firefighters were called to the Campbell Street fire just before 8:30 p.m. Dec. 3. Upon arrival, they found the two-story, wood-frame, single-family home engulfed in flames. With the help of Perkins Township Fire Department, the blaze was knocked down by about 9 p.m.

Martin's body was riddled with stab wounds. Police have said the attackers set fire to the home in an attempt to destroy any evidence.

In general, Baxter said the charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary or arson "coupled with a purposeful killing" come with a death sentence specification. As far as the Martin case goes, the prosecutor said it will be up to an Erie County grand jury to determine if Sandy's charges constitute a death penalty case.

As of early March, investigators continued to whittle down the list of suspects.

"It's a big whodunit, mainly because there's no clear-cut motive established to point us in the right direction ... which leaves the pool wide open still," Detective Gary Wichman said March 7.

By midnight Dec. 3, local authorities turned the investigation over to the state fire marshal's office and Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

"Many items are still at BCI. Because of the volume, there are still many things that haven't been tested," Baxter said Friday.

Comments

ladydye_5

The chief declined to release the name of her accomplice. It is Joseph Sandy....her husband. He was a pallbearer for the gentleman's funeral! Go read the articles in the SR. They spell it out. Why protect these criminals?

Lawyerintraining

Amen @ladydye....WHY!!!!! Protect a murder!!! I would sure want to know if they were living next to me!!!! They will probably remove your comment due to name but I wanted you to know I read your comment and it made me look at the SR....if only one person reads his name it's already out there and will be reposted....makes me sick that he was a pallbearer....how do some people live with knowing that.....sick world!!!!!!

somescrewyname

Gen 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

attvsene

"Principal", not "principle".

TheGravyWhisperer

...yeah, it just ruins it for me when they git the grammer wrong

JessEE

Really? lmao...

JessEE

It is 'principle'. But that was hilarious, thanks.

TheGravyWhisperer

...fippin a skippy ;)

Dr.Gonzo

Not releasing a name right away is not to protect the suspect. It is to protect the case from being destroyed by the defense. Trials are supposed to be unbiased (yeah right) as I'm sure you know. If he is judged in the paper as guilty and so many people see it, they will have a hard time seating a jury to even try the case, which is beneficial to the defendant. What he allegedly did is completely deranged and I cannot fathom how one could do this to anyone, let alone a family member. But this is the world we live in. Humans, given the opportunity, are incredibly vicious and brutal to each other.

ladydye_5

They are not protecting the case at all when one paper has it and one paper does not. And no, it is not in the comment section either. It is a new article. How can not putting his name in ONE paper save a case?

Now The Rest of...

It was the window of the victim who named this suspect's husband, not the police, and as usual the Registerag choses to print it without any other information or official sources.

ladydye_5

Well they also printed his picture and the information of where he is incarcerated. I find it hard to believe that all this information was not approved or allowed.

Now The Rest of...

Its the award winning Regeristingag.... With him be named that makes it more difficult for law enforcement to interview him and any other suspects they might have.

Dr.Gonzo

Ladydye, I'm not sure why one paper printed it and the other didn't. Usually law enforcement won't publish a name of a suspect until they have been formally charged. I have noticed that some papers will publish everything they hear (in the interest of being good reporters), before all the facts in a case come out. I do believe journalists should be able to publish what they want, but sometimes (criminal cases) I think that the interest of justice should override the interests of the paper. Not to say things shouldn't be reported, they should be, but after all the facts come out, so that it's not biased one way or the other. Some of these articles have a tendency to read a little one sided when I thought it was supposed to be objective. And please don't misunderstand, it is not my intention to argue with you.

swiss family

OH NO DR Gonzo.. now you have done it.. you have given "ladydye" an opinion based on what you think "law enforcement" would, could or should , do" she is just chomping at the bit to tell everyone as many times as possible that she is ... and I will quote her... "A COP'S WIFE" so she knows how every "cop" thinks and how every "cop" acts" just wait... she will tell you!!!

Whiskey Tango F...

Is it time yet? Can we start to take back our town and county? Do we need a bigger prison? I hate levies, but I'll gladly vote for a bigger stronger prison! Not possible? Then let's get a private prison built and pay them to house these crackheads.
CHAIN GANGS!!!! They can sweep streets, clear ditch banks, seal parking lots, shovel snow, what ever it takes! $1.00 per hour paid to the inmate... Pay off the fines, pay back the owners of the stolen goods! They will grow a garden and offset the food bills. It can be done and it happens everyday in other regions of this once great nation.