Man To Be Retried In Arson Death Of Laurelville Man

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Months after a deadlocked jury led a judge to declare a mistrial, Robert Schall will again face murder charges in Vinton County Common Pleas Court.

Schall, formerly of Hillsboro, is on trial for the October 2011 death of Laurelville resident Michael Hunt, as well as arson and robbery.

Hunt was found dead and badly burned inside a trailer in Eagle Twp. on Oct. 7, 2011. The State Fire Marshal and Vinton County Sheriff's Office ruled the fire an arson, and Schall and another woman were charged with Hunt's death.

Charges against the other woman, Celena Danner, of Hillsboro, were dropped in January 2012 after agreeing to testify against Schall at trial.

In the initial trial, in April of this year, Vinton County Prosecutor Trecia Kimes-Brown argued in court that Schall allegedly went to Hunt's home to collect on a debt then shot the Laurelville man in the head, stole money and drugs, then set the trailer ablaze to cover up the murder.

Danner testified that she was with Schall when the couple went to the victim's home to buy prescription pills and collect money they had loaned to Hunt weeks before his death. She testified she then saw him get a 22-caliber rifle out of their car, and upon Hunt reaching for the gun, Schall allegedly shot him.

The jury was unable to reach a consensus, eventually leading to a hung jury. Judge Jeffrey Simmons declared a mistrial on Wednesday, April 17, The Courier previously reported.