Multiple Motions filed In Wachenschwanz Case

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By Susan Tebben – Athens Messenger 
An attorney representing the last alleged player in a Glouster drug ring has filed multiple motions, including request for a change of venue, a bond modification, a competency hearing for a witness and suppression of evidence in the case.
Charles Wachenschwanz, 46, of Chauncey, is awaiting trial on charges that he engaged in a pattern of corrupt activity, illegally cultivated marijuana, endangered children, possessed criminal tools, possessed a defaced firearm, had weapons while under disability and committed petty theft.
The charges stem from Wachenschwanz’s alleged role in a Glouster oxycodone ring, which reached to Detroit, Michigan. All the other individuals charged in the case have taken plea agreements from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, including a 10-year sentence received by Derek Gyure, called the local leader of the ring.
More than 5,000 grams of marijuana were also allegedly found in Wachenschwanz’s Kempton Drive home during a search warrant. A child was also allegedly present in the home.
The motions were filed recently in the Athens County Common Pleas Court, and are still awaiting a ruling from Judge George McCarthy.
Wachenschwanz had previously asked for a bond modification in September, to reduce his bond from the original $100,000 with 10 percent allowed. He cited health issues and a lack of a prior record in his reasons for requesting the reduction.
Instead, McCarthy agreed with the prosecution’s request to increase the bond to $300,000 without 10 percent allowed.
The motion did not go into detail as to why Wachenschwanz was again requesting a lowered bond.
The motion for change of venue, however, stressed the danger of not having a fair and impartial trial if the trial was held in Athens County.
“All local media had been diligently kept apprised by the Athens County, Ohio, Prosecuting Attorney’s office as to the status of these cases and pre-trial publicity has been extensive,” attorney Jeffrey A. Berndt said in the motion.
In a third motion, Berndt asked that the court hold a competency hearing for a minor witness that is under the age of 10, according to the court documents.
Because of the minor’s age, the witness “may not be capable of conveying just impressions of facts and/or transactions and may not be able to relate same truthfully,” Berndt wrote.
The fourth motion filed on behalf of Wachenschwanz asked that evidence seized as a result of four search warrants be suppressed in the case.
Some of the warrants were “facially invalid” because they lacked the probable cause needed to approve a search warrant, according to Berndt, and one search warrant was based on facts “that are either stale, vague, speculative, incomplete, misleading and/or false and/or reckless in that regard.”
In a search warrant that included texts from Gyure and other individuals connected to the drug ring, Wachenschwanz is named and “it appears” that Gyure and others as part of the ring and that money and drugs were allegedly hidden in Wachenschwanz’s residence, Berndt wrote.
“It should be pointed out that nowhere within the (search warrant affidavit) is Mr. Wachenschwanz connected to any criminal organization,” Berndt argued.
Berndt also argues that Gyure and others reference a “Chuck” in their text messages, not Charles Wachenschwanz.
“Nowhere within this affidavit…is Chuck identified as Defendant Charles Wachenscwanz nor is any criminal organization identified,” Berndt said.
The prosecution had not filed responses to the motions as of Thursday, according to the court database.