Judge denies attorney’s requests

Breaking into Redfern home case
Alex Green
Apr 25, 2014


It’s not what defense attorney Tom DeBacco wanted to hear.

DeBacco represents 19-year-old Alexander Reitzel, who faces felony charges for allegedly trying to break into the $835,000 home previously owned by State Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba, last December.

DeBacco submitted a motion to retrieve phone records from Redfern, Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan, Ottawa County Sheriff Stephen Levorchick and Catawba Island Township police on or around the date of the alleged crime.

Visiting judge Dale Crawford denied the request, DeBacco said.

DeBacco also submitted a motion to cross-examine Redfern about any possible video editing done to the videos that, according to Mulligan and Redfern, show Reitzel trying to break-in.

This request, too, was denied — at least in DeBacco’s eyes.

Crawford told the defense attorney he could write and submit questions to Redfern directly, according to DeBacco.

”He said we could hire an investigator” DeBacco said.

DeBacco said he wants to know how the video was put together and if Redfern subscribed to a service that allowed editing of the video.

While DeBacco said he’s disappointed in the result of his requests, he did not criticize the visiting judge.

”I would have liked to seen all (the phone records)” DeBacco said. “But I’m not going to question the judge”

The phone records remain a critical element in the case for DeBacco, who has said all along that the charges were excessive and politically motivated.

As a result of Thursday’s hearing, any communication between the elected officials will apparently remain undisclosed.

Assistant prosecutor Joseph Gerber signed a motion to quash a subpoena and dismiss a motion for evidentiary hearing.

It reads: “If such documents exist, which have not already been produced, they do not make it more or less likely that defendant attempted to burglarize the victim’s home”

Reitzel was indicted five days after the alleged offense, a timespan much too quick, in DeBacco’s opinion.

Mulligan and Redfern have maintained the case was not fasttracked and there was no improper communication between them.

”It’s unsubstantiated,” Mulligan said in December. “The video shows (Reitzel) in real time on Redfern’s property for over an hour”

Redfern said he was offended by the allegations.  ”So Mr. DeBacco thinks I’m such a big shot, I can just get anyone indicted?” Redfern said in December. “I expect an apology”

About two weeks after the indictment, Ottawa County Common Pleas Court Judge Bruce Winters recused himself from the case.

Winters told the Register he has had a contentious relationship with Redfern ever since Winters fired Lorrain Croy from her magistrate position in 2012.

Redfern recently said he did not agree with that decision, but it has nothing to do with his support of Lorrain Croy in the upcoming race for Ottawa County Common Pleas Court judge. He also said Winters overdramatized the relationship.

Crawford declined to comment, as it’s an ongoing case.



Something sure as he11 stinks in Ottawa County, and it ain't dead fish!!

It's the stench coming from the good 'ole democrat boys!

This Redfern case infuriates me! The democrat Redfern, calls a Democrat sheriff, and gets the puppet democrat Mulligan to indict in days!

Apparently the 82 year old lady, that got ripped off for over $200,000 is a Republican!! Mulligan has not answered her calls, or ever even interviewed her.

This poor neighbor kid of Refern is going to have a felony on his record, before he graduates! There was absolutely NO DAMAGE done to Redferns property!

DeBacco tried to subpoena the Good Ole Boys phone records but got shot down, by Crawford.

Do not back down DeBacco!! Give 'em he!!

Ralph J.



Couldn't agree with you more DickTracey! They will never convince me that it's not "Who you know" in Ottawa County, with some of the crap that goes on there.


Would you be referring to the DEMOCRAT Sheriff that was allowed to steal over $10,000 of FOJ grant money, that Democrat Mulligan saw " nothing criminal" in?

Doesnt anybody in Ottawa County see a pattern here? Wake up voters!

Ralph J.



The Feds have quietly moved up Bratton's sentencing date to May 23, 2014.

Also, isn't it interesting that Mulligan can quickly indict this kid at the request of one of his political cronies but sees no criminal offense when a defense attorney defending a cop (another political crony) stalks and harasses the victim of pending criminal case?

Looking into windows is burglary a felony but showing up to a crime victim's workplace and trying to pressure her into dropping criminal charges of domestic violence is not felony witness intimidation.


I don't understand Redfern's determination to prosecute this kid for looking into his for sale house. A felony, no less. Is this indicative of some underlying psychological problem the voter should know about?

Ralph J.

Power corrupts!


I believe Redfern is angry over his nephew Zachary Redfern's incarceration for 6 years for burglary and the fact that he couldn't run the court in that case. IMO, like many politicians he appears to have personality traits consistent with the "Dark Tetrad"

Zachary Redfern (about 1-2 years older than Alexander Reitzel) has a significant record of drugs, thefts, robberies and burglaries and received only slaps on the hand until 2012 at the age of 20 when Judge Winters finally sentenced him to 6 years in prison. He is at the Ohio State Pen (really tough place) after he was caught having his mother run drugs into him at the Toledo Correctional Institution.

Also in 2012 Judge Winters fired Lorraine Croy as his magistrate and this angered Chris Redfern. Don't know if the Zachary Redfern sentence and Croy's firing are related, but from experience with Croy she plays favorites and doesn't apply the law fairly.

IMO Redfern feels he and his friends are above the law and he ought to run the courthouse. It's why I believe he has endorsed Lorraine Croy in her race against Judge Winters even though Judge Winters is an incumbent Democrat.

Ralph J.

Ohio State Penitentiary
Committing County: Ottawa



Thanks for the links. I also checked the Ottawa County Muni court records too. Not much on this 135#, 5 foot 6 inch perp.

Ralph J.

5 matches for Zachary Redfern
Sounds to me like the Democrats of Ottawa County have there own little Cuyahoga County. It is very unusual for the Democrats to not support an incumbent Democrat Judge.

Let's see who the supporters of Croy are.






Her supporters read like a who's who of political hacks and government employees in Ottawa County with plenty to hide. Several were alleged to have received improper compensation in the school system where her husband works that was allegedly covered up by police and the prosecutor. The LEO's involved in the bad pot bust like her too.



I can't find a lengthy list of offenses for this kid in the muni court or the common pleas court systems. It looks like he is addicted. I guess if I were Redfern I'd be ticked too. This still doesn't justify his going after someone for a felony for looking in his for-sale house.


Here's the link to his Common Pleas Court cases.

Note one of the cases was bound over from juvenile court. My guess is all his priors are in juvenile court and do not appear anywhere.

In any event, he has 4 different felony cases before he turned 20. Several for receipt of stolen property. Two for grand theft auto and theft. And his last case, for burglary, grand theft, and several theft counts. He also had a case in Texas all before he turned 20 years old.

He received several opportunities to get treatment for his obvious drug problem before Judge Winters finally sentenced him to prison for the last case. His drug problem probably arose due the environment in which he lived. Again, there was evidence that his father Peter Redfern, Chris' brother was allegedly involved in serious activity.


I looked over the cases in Common Pleas Court. You're probably right as to him having a juvenile record. If he's hooked on heroin that explains his mother trying to help him in jail. It's also very hard to get off of -- a lot of heartbreaks.

Maybe the 6 years is what he needs; he gets clean; gets out; gets help to find a place in society through his family. He's a light-weight--5'6", 135#--in a heavy-weight game he's playing.


I know and the state has now taken him from TCI (hard place to do time but close to home) and placed him in the Ohio State Pen (very hard place to do time) because he is probably facing a felony count for conveyance and that sentence will be added consecutive to the time he is serving.

I think a lot of his problems arise from a sense of entitlement...that his father through his uncle would get him out of jams. As you point out, he's a little guy to be trying to pull some of the stuff he did and to play the game he now finds himself.

I'm also curious as to what the criminal activity was in Texas (trafficking maybe?)and where his father is in all of this activity as he has been protected for a long time. He was alleged to have sexually abused a male family friend at 14-15 years of age when Zachary would have been about 9-10 years of age.

It's interesting to speculate how life would differ if Ottawa County had actually investigated the allegations against his father 12 years ago.


Was he just looking? It seems to me this case will be pretty easy for a jury to decide. Video will either show him walking around just looking, or it will show him trying to open windows and doors. I know we have a hate on for all officials, but while they aren't entitled to greater protection, they are entitled to equal protection. Put the shoe on the other foot. You're in your house and hear someone circling your house, trying to open your doors and windows. What would you do? You're going to call the police and demand they be arrested. You are not going to accept the argument that they were "just looking." You look with your eyes, not your hands. I think a jury will be able to figure out if he was just looking, or trying to enter the house.


A for-sale sign is an invitation to check the house out. Many home sellers in upper neighborhoods don't put for-sale signs on their property.

You can't have it both ways -- you can't put out a for-sale sign and not expect people to check the house out. In my opinion he's opening himself up to a big lawsuit.

According to the Internet, he sold the house but he's still pursuing this felony charge against his former neighbor who is a high school senior. Despicable!

I voted for him, but never again!


Vote no always


Sure looks to me like Alexander Reitzel will not receive a fair trial before retired visiting judge Dale Crawford. Criminal defendants have constitutional rights to subpoena evidence to assist in their defense. IMO, Crawford appears to be interfering with discovery in this case to protect cronyism at its worst.

AJ Oliver

Hey Register Editors - are you OK with this anonymous libel & slander?


Mr. Oliver:

You need to be more specific about your broad and unsubstantiated allegations of libel. Moreover, slander is not applicable as it applies only to spoken or oral false statements of fact.

Proving libel of a public official such as Chris Redfern or Dale Crawford is very difficult as one must not only prove a written false statement of fact (not opinion) but that the writer did so with malice i.e. with the knowledge that the statement of fact was false or with reckless disregard of its falsity.


AJ Oliver

You agree with this mission that Redfern in on? Seems way over the top to me. Just my opinion.

Ralph J.

DeBacco submitted a motion to retrieve phone records from Redfern, Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan, Ottawa County Sheriff Stephen Levorchick and Catawba Island Township police on or around the date of the alleged crime.

Visiting judge Dale Crawford denied the request, DeBacco said.

What kind of judge would deny discovery to the defendant's lawyer? Ottawa County sounds much more corrupt than Sandusky County. This smells of a conspiracy.

RULE 16. Discovery and Inspection
(A) Purpose, Scope and Reciprocity. This rule is to provide all parties in a criminal case with the information necessary for a full and fair adjudication of the facts, to protect the integrity of the justice system and the rights of defendants, and to protect the well-being of witnesses, victims, and society at large. All duties and remedies are subject to a standard of due diligence, apply to the defense and the prosecution equally, and are intended to be reciprocal. Once discovery is initiated by demand of the defendant, all parties have a continuing duty to supplement their disclosures.


What kind of judge would deny discovery to a criminal defendant? Answer: The same kind that helped obstruct justice in Sandusky County.

What is really ridiculous about denying the discovery request is that any person or member of the press could request these phone records from the public offices which employ all of them.

Thus, Chris Redfern's records are obtainable as he is a State Representative; Mark Mulligan's cell phone records are obtainable as he is the County prosecutor; Sheriff Levorchick's phone records are obtainable through the Sheriff's office; and the Catawba Insland police phone records are available from that office.

Just make a public records request for the phone records from the offices and the records will show calls made to and from Chris Redfern's numbers.


Simply request a jury trial & then put Redfern on the stand.
The accused has a right to confront his accuser & I'm pretty sure that the odds of not having a Republican or 6 on the jury is very slim.
Good Luck .... Sounds like all counties have some form of the good 'ol boy system.


Redfern is not the accuser, the State is the accuser.


I disagree. The State isn't interested in prosecuting potential home buyers looking at houses with for-sale signs in front of them.


Redfern and Mulligan have changed their story, since this first broke.

Register Dec. 18, 2013
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.   

News Mess April 25, 2014
Redfern received an email alert saying his homes security system had been activated, and logged on to see Reitzel outside his home, Mulligan said. Redfern emailed those clips to Catawba Island police, according to prosecutors' office records.

"He did send snippets as the burglary was in progress", Mulligan said during the hearing.

In December, Redfern is quoted saying he was "randomly watching video".

Two days ago Mulligan says Redfern received an email alert.


Good catch! Inconsistent statements and changing stories indicates as you know that someone is lying.

2cents's picture

Oh my! I guess I am a felon as well, I have peeked in the windows of a few homes with for sale signs out front in the past just to get an idea of the layout.

Take a gook look around, most Americans are getting very tired of the people that say they work for us as politicians. These people more and more are very wealthy and are letting the typical American citizen down more and more. Very sad are the state of politics today : (

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I'll copy and paste what I wrote in response to AJ Oliver in the story about the Marshall Islands suing for disarmament. It matches up with your sentiments well, I think:

* * * * * * * * * *

Not just nuclear armaments but others that aren't covered by the treaty such as "kinetic bombardment" are being developed. The popular notion for that are tungsten rods housed in a satellite in space that can snipe locations on the earth with mach 10 bunker buster guided projectiles. No chemicals, no radiation, no fiery ordinance explosions.

While I understand one can't hug with nuclear arms, I am not against us having such weapons or other ways to ensure peace through strength (and not in the nuke-a-gay-whale-for-Christ kinda way). But issues like this are a great illustration that broadly various Congresses and the Presidency seem to love writing all kinds of laws (or entering various treaties) and never enforcing them, excusing various populations from them, or rewriting them on the fly.

Running a game store I am very well aware of a concept called the "Munchkin Fallacy" which goes: "I can because the rules don't say I can't." Once aware of such a fallacy you can see it be pervasive throughout our distant Federal government. I believe that we both can agree that there are many a Munchkin in D.C.

= = = = = = = = = =

In gaming, a munchkin is a player who plays what is intended to be a non-competitive game (usually a role-playing game) in an aggressively competitive manner. A munchkin seeks within the context of the game to amass the greatest power, score the most "kills", and grab the most loot, no matter how detrimental their actions are to role-playing, the storyline, fairness, or the other players' enjoyment. The term is used almost exclusively as a pejorative and frequently is used in reference to powergamers.

The term was applied originally to young gamers by older players,[1] presumably because the connotation of being short and ridiculous (like the Munchkins in the book and film The Wizard of Oz) made it an apt label for the childish gamers it was applied to. However, before long it came to refer to anyone who engaged in a juvenile gaming style no matter their height, age or experience.

Munchkins are often accused of twinking or roll-playing, a pun on 'role' that notes how munchkins are often more concerned with the numbers and die rolls than with the roles that they play.

A more neutral use of the term is in reference to novice players, who, not knowing yet how to roleplay, typically obsess about the statistical "power" of their characters rather than developing their characters' personalities.