Caston in court; Norcross improving

SANDUSKY Shawn Caston was calm during his Friday morning appearance in Sandusky Municipal Court.
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010



Shawn Caston was calm during his Friday morning appearance in Sandusky Municipal Court.

He did not appear to be distressed that he could face a maximum of seven years in prison and a fine of $30,000 if convicted of aggravated vehicular assault, obstructing and leaving the scene of an accident.

Police say 42-year-old Caston left Mark Norcross, 35, in the street after running into the popular martial arts teacher in a hit-and-run crash in the early morning hours of Sept. 23. Norcross was traveling east on Cleveland Road on his 1998 Harley Davidson at 1:27 a.m., when police say Caston came out of the Value Inn parking lot and smashed into Norcross.

Caston, who police said was drunk at the time, fled the scene in his 2002 Dodge Intrepid. Police were able to capture him after a brief chase.

Norcross suffered severe head injuries and was in a coma for several days in a Toledo hospital.

Dressed Friday in a green county jail uniform, handcuffed and in shackles, Caston waived his right to a preliminary hearing in front of Judge Erich O'Brien.

Caston requested his personal belongings -- including a wallet -- seized by police during his arrest, be turned over to the mother of his child.

"OK, all right, I appreciate that," Caston told the judge when informed his personal belongings would be given to a family member.

O'Brien bound the case over to the grand jury. Caston remains in the Erie County jail on $30,000 bond.

Earlier this week Norcross' fiancee reported he was responding to verbal cues.

According to Norcross' Web site, he's begun eating pureed foods and was taken off a ventilator.

Caston has a long criminal history. He's been charged several times for hit-and-run and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

He also served time in prison for the 1994 drive-by shooting death of a Sandusky woman. He was one of three men who were sent to prison in the 1994 murder of Vivian Johnson. Caston was the trigger-man in the shooting, Sandusky acting police Chief Charlie Sams said. Sams was one of the investigators in the case.

Caston was granted a new trial by a federal appeals court and found guilty of manslaughter in the subsequent trial. He served more prison time on that conviction, Erie County prosecutor Kevin Baxter said.

Following Friday's court appearance, Caston signed paperwork. He spoke briefly with a friend, asking her to make sure he got a phone card in jail so he could make calls.

The woman, who identified herself as Theresa, said she's a friend of Caston. She said she was with Caston and friends the night of the crash.

"He's not a bad guy at all," she said. "It's a bad situation."