Mulligan offer rejected

Prosecutor wants teen with OCD to cop to felonies and apologize to Redfern
Alex Green
May 16, 2014
The teenager charged with trying to break into state Rep. Chris Redfern’s home turned down a plea deal this week that would have kept him from going to prison.

The deal would have inked two third-degree felonies on Alexendar Reitzel’s record, and required him to write a letter of apology to Redfern. 

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said defense attorney Tom DeBacco, who represents Reitzel, 19. 

Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan made the offer, which DeBacco didn’t think twice about rejecting. Reitzel is innocent and Mulligan overcharged him as a favor to a political friend, DeBacco said. “It would have been a good offer if he was guilty,” DeBacco said.

Reitzel, who has no prior criminal history, was allegedly trying to break into Redfern’s Catawba home back in December. The home was on the market and Redfern recently sold it for $840,000. 

His client was interested in the home, DeBacco said, and became infatuated with the idea of buying it.
 
“He told a contractor to (halt an expensive) construction project to his family’s (current) home,” DeBacco said. “His family was moving, he told them.”
According to DeBacco, Reitzel’s father is a well-to-do financial adviser with the means to buy the home.
 
DeBacco said Reitzel has obsessive-compulsive disorder: an anxiety affliction that often forces a person to repeat acts, over and over. “If you touch a door knob once, you touch it (several) times,” DeBacco said.
 
Mulligan has said Reitzel was on the property for more than an hour, which justifies the burglary charges a grand jury indicted him on just a few days after Reitzel was videotaped on Redfern’s property by security cameras.
 
The teenager never went into the home but looked inside windows and through doorways. Nothing was damaged or taken from the home. 
Visiting Judge Dale Crawford refused to order Mulligan to obtain and provide DeBacco all of the video footage from the surveillance cameras, suggesting he ask Redfern to voluntarily provide it.   
 
DeBacco said Reitzel’s OCD was another reason why Reitzel lingered at the property for about 45 minutes, not an hour as Mulligan has suggested. 
“He’s a good kid, he’s not a bad kid,” DeBacco said. “We try to help people like (Reitzel).”
 
DeBacco has said from the start that Mulligan has mishandled the investigation and over-charged Reitzel as a result of Mulligan’s close ties to Redfern.
Mulligan and Redfern are both longtime power brokers in the county and both are Democrats. Redfern also serves as the Ohio Democratic Party chairman. 
 
“I don’t blame Redfern for any of this,” DeBacco said. “I blame Mulligan.”
If convicted on the burglary charges Reitzel could be sentenced to prison for up to six years.
 
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
•Dec. 7: Reitzel found by Catawba police on Redfern’s property.
•Dec. 12: Reitzel indicted on two counts of attempted burglary.
•Jan. 31: Judge Bruce Winters recuses himself due to a contentious relationship with Redfern.  
•April 25: Visiting Judge Dale Crawford denies DeBacco’s request for Mulligan and Redfern’s phone records and for any additional surveillance video that might have been edited from what was provided. 
•May 12: Reitzel, DeBacco reject plea deal.

Comments

reader

I'm a democrat, but I have to tell you, Mr. Redfern, this stinks to high heaven.

From the Grave

The kid's lawyer is being paid really well, so don't make him out to be a saint. The longer this goes on, the more he makes.
In the end, the lawyers and the doctors end up with all of our money(I should have listened to my mom).

Babo

You forget that the retired visiting judge is also being paid by the hour so he too has enormous incentive to drag out this politically motivated case. He also wants to keep the prosecutor happy so he continues to receive assignments.

I don't think it's the defense attorney dragging this baseless case out as he made a very reasonable proposal to let the kid plead to misdemeanor trespassing.

DGMutley

I don't know who said he was a saint. I take my hat off to him for standing up for this boy's rights.

DickTracey

Of course Mulligan wants the teen to take a plea deal!!! Mulligan knows he is going to LOOSE at a trial!!

Keep on him DeBacco, way to go!!

Hey Redfern, be a man, drop the charges!! This is a ridiculous waste of money! Let Mulligan put some real criminals in jail, for once.

BTW, Register, please correct paragraph five. Reitzel, who has no prior criminal history, is ACCUSED of trying to break into Referns home. You write like the kid is guilty. The only one in the whole county that thinks he was trying to break in is Redfern!!

Even Mulligan thinks the kid is innocent, he's just Redferns puppet on a string!!

MI Smooth

At the very most Reitzel could be guilty of trespassing. Tom DeBacco is exactly spot on in not taking a "deal" like this. Perhaps, someone could answer this for me. How does a State Senator that has a salary of 51k per year have a 840k home on Catawba and another in Columbus valued at 400k?

Babo

He divorced his first wife and married a wealthy lobbyist. She was linked to the Cuyahoga County corruption probe through contracts with the City of Parma (as was the former county prosecutor Bill Mason's wife) but lucky for them the US Attorney's office (Obama appointment) overlooked the acts.

There are also the "perks" associated with being Democratic Chairman and leader of the pack in Ottawa County.

DickTracey

And by "perks" you mean, pulling the strings of the local prosecutor to get a super speedy indictment and phony felony charges?

Babo

Yes there's that..and special exemptions from prosecution for friends and family.

DickTracey

That's Mulligan's "Framily Plan", he took a page out of Sprint Wireless new ad campaign.

Babo

Mr. Debacco ought to consider filing a Motion to Disqualify Mulligan for misconduct/selective prosecution in this case and hold the self declared "handsome" judge's feet to the fire.

Or he should consider filing a Motion with Judge Bruce Winters to request the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Mulligan's alleged mishandling of the Oak Harbor alleged rape case compared to the over prosecution in this case.

Finally, I don't understand how the judge can deny the phone records as each of these men are public officials and their phone and email records are public record.

Babo

Here's the link to the Ohio Burglary statute: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2911.12 Section (A)(3) is the felony of the third degree

It would be really interesting to obtain the grand jury transcripts to learn how Mulligan misrepresented this case.

DickTracey

Also, if my memory serves me correctly, the kid was wearing bright red! I thought the choice for burglars would be all black with a hoody covering the face.

I also do not recall a back pack full of burglary tools, used in breaking and entering. or a backpack to load stolen goods in. That rules out any "intent" to commit a crime.

Don't burglars enter quickly, get in and get out? I've never heard of hanging around for 45 minutes and still not even being inside yet.

From the Grave

Maybe he was waiting around for Redfern so he could kick him in the bawls. I'd like to see that.

Babo

Agreed, if Redfern only had a pair.

DGMutley

The burglary charge is bogus. There was no intent to commit a criminal act.

acjmom

Another great move by the Ottawa County Pros office..they want to give this kid TWO f3's for standing around on somebodys property but give the man that beat my son in the head with a whiskey bottle bad enough to put him on life support at st v's ONE f4 that carries a MAX of 18 months? and this is after he just got out of prison for doing THE SAME THING to somebody else and got a FIVE YEAR SENTENCE???? Come on Ottawa County!!! GET IT TOGETHER!!!!!

reggiewhite92

Interesting story about this in today's paper. Nice job standing up to Mulligan, acjmom

SamAdams

I'm convinced that Mulligan wants to look good so badly that he goes to extremes that end up making him look lazy, incompetent, shady, or worse. In fairness, Mr. Mulligan might very well actually BE any or all of those things. All I can say from the outside looking in, though, is that he sure does a darned fine impression of each!

I sincerely hope Ottawa County voters are getting a real clue. A serial sex offender is effectively on the loose. A serial fraud (and, apparently, elder abuser) remains free. There are doubtless more that HAVEN'T hit the headlines yet. Meanwhile, Redfern's case results in an almost instantaneous arrest, immediate charges, and now a ham-handed attempted at a quickie plea bargain (which, luckily, is so over the top that an innocent man wouldn't even consider it).

When is Mulligan up for re-election? Can't be soon enough...!

Babo

It's like Erie County, no attorney will run against him. If one does they are targeted.

Wald

I find it interesting that Redfern watched the kid for 45 minutes before calling the cops. Why wouldn't he call after five or ten minutes? Also, how does he have time to just sit and watch his security cam for that long? I wonder why he has it out for this kid. He has to know this is making him look like a huge jerk.

FalconBall

I would imagine he watched after the fact no while it was happening.

DickTracey

That depends on which story you believe. Mulligan and Redfern have changed their story since this first broke.

The first story quoted Redfern as saying he checks his video, like people check their Facebook. He said he was watching the boy for quite some time before he called.

The next story, Mulligan said that Redfern got an email alert that there was an intruder.

Also, Redfern tried to tug at our heart strings, telling us he has a 5 year old, and he feared for her safety. Which is hilarious, since the kid was hundreds of miles away and had nothing to do with this vacant property.

Only politicians can trump up stories like this, lie, and get away with it.

Dr.Gonzo

I could be wrong about this, but isn't the prosecutor required by law to show all evidence (i.e. surveillance tapes) against the accused to the defense?

Babo

Yes he is, but this is Ottawa County with a retired visiting judge and this proceeding is anything but fair. They also are entitled to phone records as both Mulligan and Redfern are public officials but that too was denied.

Raoul Duke

As my attorney, Jesus, you should know that!

Dr.Gonzo

Duke, as your attorney, I advise you not to question my logic on other matters.

DGMutley

I've Googled it, Yahoo'd it, AOL'd it, Bing'd it, Dogpiled it, and searched Reuter's and other major media and haven't found 1 case where a prospective house buyer has gotten charged for trespassing or burglary for looking in a house with a for-sale sign in front of it.

This case is absolutely outrageous. The boy is a senior in high school with no criminal history and on top of it a neighbor to the Redferns.

There is something very wrong here, Chris Redfern, with your push to put this kid into prison with a felony tag for the rest of his life! Shame on you!