The Marion County District Attorney is asking a special prosecutor to help with the murder case

Marion County District Attorney Ray Grogan has asked Marion County Common Pleas Court to appoint a special prosecutor to assist him in a homicide trial.

Christian Gutierrez, 19, Marion, is accused of shooting and killing Charles A. Feliciano, 27, Marion, during an incident that occurred Wednesday afternoon, March 9, in a parking lot located in the 100 block of London Street. according to a Marion Police Department report. The case is scheduled to go to trial on May 18, 2023.

In the motion requesting the special prosecutor, Grogan is asking Marion County Common Pleas Court Judge Warren T. Edwards to approve the appointment of attorney Mark R. Weaver to that role.

Weaver, described by Grogan as an “experienced felony prosecutor,” is a former deputy attorney general for the Ohio Attorney General and a former assistant district attorney for the Adams County District Attorney’s Office in southern Ohio. He served as a special prosecutor in the high-profile case of convicted serial killer Shawn Grate, who is now on death row at Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

According to the motion, which was filed with Judge Edwards on Friday, Grogan states that Weaver’s fee will be $225 per hour and will be “paid through funds appropriated in the (Marion County) District Attorney’s budget, MARMET Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF) and/or the Prosecutor’s Justice Promotion Fund.”

Grogan made the request for a special prosecutor because Assistant District Attorney Jocelyn Stefancin is leaving his office to take another position. He said Stefancin will begin work next week in the new Sentencing Integrity Unit at the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office.

“Given her experience in prosecution and her eight years as a county public defender in Medina, she’s perfect for this,” Grogan said.

Gutierrez was initially indicted by a grand jury on March 16 on three counts of murder, unspecified felonies. one count of aggravated murder, an unspecified felony. and two counts of felonious assault, second-degree felonies. Each loaded carried a 3 year firearm specification.

After Grogan decided to seek the death penalty in the case, a Marion County grand jury returned an indictment on April 27 that included the death penalty specification. The superseded indictment included the following charges: two counts of aggravated murder, unspecified felonies; three counts of murder, unspecified felonies. two counts of felonious assault, second-degree felonies; and one count of kidnapping, a first-degree felony.

The first count of aggravated murder carries a specification of felony murder. All counts in the superseding indictment carry a 3-year firearm specification.

Gutierrez has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case. He remains incarcerated at the Multinational Correctional Center after being denied bond in the case.

Gutierrez is represented by attorneys Kirk A. McVay, Gregory W. Meyers and Kandra Roberts of the Ohio Public Defender’s Office.

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday in Marion County Common Pleas Court, Grogan told Judge Edwards that the prosecution turned over more than 3,500 records — physical and digital copies — to the defense team as part of the discovery process. Information provided to the defense includes data collected from “at least one cell phone,” the autopsy report along with 29 photographs and a body camera video provided by the Marion Police Department.

McVeigh told the judge that the defense has no discovery information to provide the prosecution at this time. He said the defense would provide that information to the prosecution “as soon as it becomes available.”

Judge Edwards said he has not yet seen motions in the case, noting that he expects “an onslaught of motions in this case” due to the fact that it is a murder case.

Meyers asked the judge to schedule a new pretrial hearing in September to give both sides more time to file motions in the case. Judge Edwards set the next preliminary hearing for September 30 at 2:30 p.m.

Email: ecarter@gannett.com | Twitter: @AndrewACCarter

This article originally appeared in the Marion Star: Marion Co. Prosecutor seeks special prosecutor in capital murder case

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