Mike and Shannon Limberios filed a court motion Wednesday asking Sandusky County Common Pleas Court judges Barbara Ansted and John Dewey to appoint Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine special prosecutor for the criminal investigation of their son's death on March 2, 2012.
Click here to read the court filing.
Ansted and Dewey appointed Henry prosecutor Feb. 5, in an unusual court order both signed without having an assigned case.
Ansted had earlier recused herself from becoming involved in the Limberios investigation, citing a conflict of interest, but she has refused to offer an explanation how that conflict no longer applied in naming Henry to serve as both special prosecutor and defense counsel regarding the killing of 19-year-old Jacob Limberios.
Legal scholars and practicing attorneys have suggested Henry's dual roles — as prosecutor and defense counsel — presents an obvious conflict of interest that hampers his ability to conduct a competent criminal investigation properly.
McGookey stated it much more bluntly in the court filing.
"There is an undeniable conflict of interest," McGookey wrote. "The obvious conflict becomes more apparent by the day."
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Henry is serving as defense counsel for Sandusky County coroner John Wukie, who ruled the day Jacob was killed that he committed suicide, but it might have been accidental. Mike and Shannon Limberios want the county to provide a competent ruling on a cause of death and want Henry removed as special prosecutor in favor of an independent criminal investigation.
DeWine has previously said he cannot take over the criminal probe unless he is asked to do that by Sandusky County law enforcement. The court filing on Wednesday asks Ansted and Dewey to make that request to DeWine.
Henry has refused to respond to questions about the appearance of a conflict other than to say that Ansted and Dewey approved the arrangement. Ansted and Dewey did not respond to repeated inquiries seeking clarification and court officials refused to provide a case number for the ruling or any response to other questions provided to them.
Attorney Dan McGookey, who represents the Limberios family, also said Sandusky County court administrator Brock Kimmet met with a key witness in February and discussed her testimony with her. McGookey provided affidavits from people who said in the sworn statements that they heard Kimmet tell the witness to "stick to your story" when the two emerged from an office at the courthouse during the break in the deposition.
McGookey obtained video from courthouse security cameras that appear to show Kimmet meeting with the witness.
Kimmet refused respond in detail about the purported meeting.
"I never met with anybody. No sir," he replied when initially asked about it last week. "There was a court security issue that occurred. I heard some rumblings about that (the suggestion he met with a witness).
Kimmet has not returned phone calls or responded to additional questions posed to him.
"The court speaks through its journal entries and does not give clarification to non parties. If either party requests clarification, there is a process in place for that," Kimmet wrote in reply to an email sent to him Wednesday. "Furthermore, I will not discuss any court security issues outside of the court."
The order from judges Ansted and Dewey is not assigned a court case but does list the Limberios and Wukie as plaintiff and defendant, respectively. Neither Ansted nor Dewey have standing in that court case that would give them authority to make a ruling.
It's not clear how Henry, who represents Wukie as his defense counsel, was determined to be an independent party by the judges.
Kimmet, the judges and other court officials declined to offer clarification or explanation as to whom the parties to the court action might be that prompted the order appointing Henry to the dual roles.
Click here to read past articles, see photo galleries and watch video from the Justice for Jake rally at the Sandusky County Courthouse earlier this month.