Second murder suspect arraigned today for Calvin Harper Jr. murder

SANDUSKY The second of the two men accused in the murder of Calvin Harper Jr. will be arraigned toda
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

 

SANDUSKY

The second of the two men accused in the murder of Calvin Harper Jr. will be arraigned today.

Thomas J. Ricks, 23, Austell, Ga., was indicted on two counts of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and two counts of trafficking in drugs. He faces a possible death penalty.

Ricks sat in a Cobb County, Ga., jail cell on charges unrelated to the Harper murder since April after being picked up during a routine traffic stop. He was extradited to Erie County earlier this week.

Harper, 29, was found dead March 12 in his home on Parkview Boulevard. Police said they received a call at about 10 a.m. for an injured man, but found Harper dead when they arrived. An autopsy revealed Harper died from a gunshot wound.

Sandusky police detective Sgt. John Orzech declined Tuesday night to say who was the trigger man in Harper's death.

Also charged in the case was Aaron Gipson, who also faces the death penalty if convicted of two aggravated murder charges. Gipson, who is from Detroit, is being held without bond in the Erie County Jail.

Ricks is also in the Erie County Jail without bond. He'll be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. at the jail with Erie County Common Pleas Judge Roger Binette.

Because Ricks possibly faces the death penalty, Binette is moving carefully on the case, Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter said.

"The courts tend to be very, very record-conscious to make sure everything is on the record, every T is crossed and every I is dotted because, obviously, those are the cases that are more scrutinized in the appellate process than others," Baxter said.