A gavel in front of some legal books

Three Arraigned In West Washington Shooting Case

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ATHENS — Three men appeared in court in connection with the shooting death of a man on Athens’ west side.

Michael Russell, 18; Robert Martin, 26;  and Troy Vermillion, 28, were all arraigned in Athens County Common Pleas Court Wednesday morning, on charges including murder and involuntary manslaughter.

Michael Russell
Robert Martin
Troy Vermillion

All three men pleaded not guilty to grand jury indictments, and the court set bonds at $1 million for each of them.

McCarthy set the bond at the request of the Assistant Prosecutor Elizabeth Pepper, who argued the men were a flight risk and their previous criminal background warranted a high bond amount.

Martin and Vermillion’s attorney, Justin Townley, argued they had strong ties to the area, and unsuccessfully fought for $100,000 bond.

The men are charged in connection with the death of Charles Duncan, Sr., who was fatally shot in his West Washington Street apartment. They were indicted on December 5, in what prosecutors called a drug operation that included stealing property in exchange for drug debts.

Prosecutors allege Russell, Martin and Vermillion were a part of an attempt to collect a drug debt from Duncan.

Two other men have pleaded guilty to charges related to the death.

On Tuesday, Bernard Mitchell was sentenced to 24 years in prison on charges of involuntary manslaughter, engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, and other theft and weapons charges.

Jonathon McLaughlin pleaded guilty on December 4 to engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, along with weapons and drug charges. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Court appearances for the remaining defendants was set for January 10, with a jury trial set in the cases for February 12.