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Attorney: Case ‘politically motivated’

Alex Green • Dec 18, 2013 at 1:40 PM

The suspect — Alexander Reitzel, 19, of Port Clinton — was indicted Thursday on two counts of attempted burglary. The indictment came five days after he allegedly tried to break into Redfern’s $845,000 home in Catawba Island Township. The home is currently up for sale.

Reitzel’s attorney, Tom DeBacco, said the indictment came much too quickly.

“(Reitzel) gets indicted within five days for two felonies of the third degree,” DeBacco said. “It’s wrong, it’s politically motivated”

DeBacco said he believes Reitzel is innocent and is being treated unfairly because of Redfern’s political stature.

“In no way did he try to break into Chris Redfern’s house,” DeBacco said. “There was a ‘For sale’ sign in the front yard. You figure it out”

Redfern said he was in Pennsylvania when he randomly decided to watch the video surveillance that monitors the interior and exterior of his Catawba home. The video is accessible remotely.

“The way some people use their phone to look at Facebook or Twitter, I’m one of those crazy people who watches my video surveillance cameras” Redfern said.

He said he watched the surveillance footage for about an hour, during which time Reitzel was allegedly on his property.   

Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan’s office provided copies of the video footage to the Register.

The video, about 45 minutes long, shows a man in a red-and-black jacket on the property at various points, at times fiddling with the knobs to doors at the back porch.

At one point, another man is seen with the suspect.

Reitzel later told Catawba Island police he saw a “For sale” sign in the yard, and he was peering through the windows and back door to look at the home’s interior, according to police.

Redfern and Mulligan denied any allegations of collusion; they both said the video footage provided sufficient evidence for an indictment.

“To suggest that in some way I manipulated the system — I’m looking for Mr. DeBacco to apologize,” Redfern said.

Mulligan said grand jury indictments are handed down every two to four weeks.

“(The accusation) is unsubstantiated” Mulligan said, adding the indictment was justified based on evidence he gathered with help from assistant prosecutor Andrew Bigler and his staff.

“(Reitzel) was caught in the act,” Mulligan said. “He was observed by the homeowner over the course of an hour, watching in real time”

Reitzel was released from the Ottawa County jail Monday on $30,000 bond.

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