Redfern burglary case settled

Teen who was on state rep's property avoids prison in alleged 'crony' prosecution
Alex Green
Jul 3, 2014

Alexander Reitzel can finally breath a sigh of relief.

The 19-year-old signed an Alford plea Wednesday for his role in the alleged attempted burglary of a home belonging to State Rep. Chris Redfern, D-Catawba Island.

The deal ensures he will not serve any prison time, and he will remain void of any criminal record following the ordeal. He is charged with attempted burglary, though the charges will likely be dismissed after one year of diversion.

The agreement comes about seven months after the alleged incident in which Reitzel was seen on Redfern's property, which was for sale at the time.

Since then, Tom DeBacco, Reitzel's attorney, has lambasted Redfern and Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan for filing the charges.

He labeled them charges "politically motivated" back in December, saying Reitzel was indicted far too quickly — just four days after the alleged incident.

Mulligan and Redfern have maintained Reitzel was trying to break into the $840,000 Catawba home.

DeBacco said he encouraged Reitzel to accept the deal, a rarity for DeBacco who recently said how much he enjoys jury trials.

"We could only lose in a jury trial," DeBacco said. "I rarely recommend that. I couldn't guarantee what would happen."

DeBacco thought the Alford plea was wise for Reitzel to agree to, since an Alford plea does not require the alleged offender to admit his or her guilt.

"Alex is innocent," DeBacco said. "But I can't roll the dice on his behalf."

The deal came a bit as a surprise to the defense, since Mulligan's most recent plea offer to Reitzel mandated Reitzel write an apology letter to Redfern.

DeBacco said at the time, about a month ago, he had never seen a plea offer like it.

Reitzel suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder, according to DeBacco, which was a key component in why Reitzel was on the property for about 45 minutes.

"When you touch a doorknob once you touch it 100 times," he said recently.

Reitzel had become obsessed with the home, DeBacco said.

Furthermore, Reitzel's father is a well-to-do businessman with the means to buy the home, DeBacco said.

"All he wanted was his parents to buy this home," DeBacco said.

A public records request was recently submitted to Mulligan, asking to view the case files of the county's last 10 attempted burglary indictments, intended to compare Reitzel's grand jury indictment to other attempted burglary indictments.

Mulligan said the software his office uses does not have the capability to look up case files based on the alleged offender's charge.

Redfern contacted the Register after this story was posted at the news site, angrily stating the reporter should have called him before it was published.

"I am pleased that Mr. Reitzel will go through the process of diversion to ensure he does not commit another crime," Redfern said late Wednesday. "I only wish Tom DeBacco would understand the seriousness of this case. He has been rude and abusive to me and my family from the start and he should be ashamed of himself. Reitzel has to plead guilty to a felony of attempted burglary. It is clear what he was trying to do."


This article was modified after it was posted to add comments from Redfern. 



Wow, Mulligan admits he doesn't keep any records in his office of the cases he presents to a grand jury or that he prosecutes. Here's a clue: All he has to do is run a search of indictments for the statute number for attempted burglary.

It's important to recognize that this kid did not admit guilt and after a year his record will be wiped clean. On the other hand, he was in a court with a visiting judge that can not be trusted to provide a fair trial or justice and taking the case to trial would be very risky.

It's a shame that Redfern and Mulligan were able to abuse their offices to advance this at best misdemeanor trespassing case and waste valuable public resources for personal vendettas and self puffery.


He pled guilty. It was an Alford plea. The only other two people who have pled to an Alford plea in this region were the pastor who got oral sex from a 15 year old and the guy who raped a bunch of elderly people. I searched it right here on the Register. If he were REALLY innocent he would have gone to trial.


He pled guilty. It was an Alford plea. The only other two people who have pled to an Alford plea in this region were the pastor who got oral sex from a 15 year old and the guy who raped a bunch of elderly people. I searched it right here on the Register. If he were REALLY innocent he would have gone to trial.


"DeBacco thought the Alford plea was wise for Reitzel to agree to, since an Alford plea DOES NOT REQUIRE the alleged offender to ADMIT HIS or her GUILT." (emphasis added)


Babo, you offer a lot of legal advice... I thought you lost your law licence.


Just because you lose you're license doesn't mean you lose your knowledge.


Do you know the difference between giving legal advice and stating an opinion on a legal matter? From your statement above it seems obvious you don't. Babo has given no advice. She gas stated opinions, or related facts of law. Advice is letting or telling someone what to do in a legal situation.


This case has been an obvious example that if you do bad things, it's okay if your mommy & daddy have $50,000 to pay a lawyer and you don't have to say you're sorry. Oh, and be sure you pick your victim.., they must have enemies so no one actually focuses on your actual actions because apparently they deserve to have crimes committed against them. What ever happened to "I'm sorry and I'm horrified my child did this to you?" Nope, I don't think we are going to hear that. Good lesson, people, good lesson. At least the kid pled guilty in the end. That kid comes to the west end if the county and walks onto my property and tries to open MY doors and windows, well, we have guns in the home and I'll defend my family.


He didn't plead guilty nor did he admit his guilt. He entered an Alford plea to get rid of a politically motivated case.

What is a shame is that had he not had wealthy parents he would have been railroaded on the baseless indictment brought by a couple of sociopathic egomaniacs.

Julie R.

" ..... he would have been railroaded on the baseless indictment brought by a couple of socipathic egomaniacs."

Hit the nail right on the head there. That description was priceless.






Coddling the criminal and blaming the victim. Interesting.


Do you have reading comprehension skills? Or do you ignore facts in evidence? You are the kind of person who would be horrible to have on a jury.


Bodega... Buy yourself a bodega in that neighborhood and see what it's like.

Just watch your P's and Q's.


Mr. Redfern it is you that should be ashamed! You and your pal Mulligan fast tracked this case right thru to the end. You have both abused your positions to get this case prosecuted. The kid had all the time in the world to break into your home and never did. You essentially said he was guilty because he may have thought about it at some point. There is a process that was supposed to be followed and the two of you decided that process didn't apply to either of you. So Mr. Redfern the shame lies with you and Mulligan not with this young man.


You are so right!


Let's review: Alex Reitzel was railroaded from the beginning with trumped up charges,a judge recusing himself, and a visiting judge who is in cahoots with Redfern and Mulligan.The fact that Alex had to take an Alford plea like the people charged with sex crimes shows how overcharged this case is. He had to take a deal- he would never get a fair trial!

Julie R.

Mulligan's most recent plea deal was for this kid to write a letter of apology to Redfern?

I personally would have told that clown Mulligan to take his letter of apology and shove it where the sun doesn't shine!


Here is the real question. How does redfern afford an $800,000 home on the $60,000 salary of State Representative?

digger nick politician who has done nothing but live off the government dole...We need to flush most of them out. Mulligan and his pal Redfern, MUTT & JEFF


An Alford plea IS a guilty plea. In the US, you either plead guilty or you are found guilty by a jury or judges. If an Alford plea was not a guilty plea, then that kid would've gone to trial so a jury could make a decision.


An Alford Plea has the same effect as a guilty plea but it allows a defendant to maintain his innocence. The plea is used when a defendant is in a situation such as this one where he feels he will not receive a fair trial. Here's a link to Ohio case law on the subject:

In addition to entering an Alford Plea, his plea deal calls for diversion. That means after a year on probation this case disappears from the record and it is as if he was never charged and the case never happened.

In short Mulligan and Redfern agreed to this deal to save themselves the embarrassment of a trial; and the defendant agreed to this deal to protect himself from a chance of conviction in an unfair trial before a judge hand picked by the State.

As usual the people of Ottawa County lose because valuable resources were wasted pursuing this political vendetta by Redfern to placate his delusions of grandeur; while serious cases such as major drug trafficking, thefts of public resources, and sex crimes on the Islands and in the rest of the county are ignored or seriously under prosecuted.

And for an example of another politically motivated case that Mulligan took a personal interest in and overcharged; just look above at the case involving the Put in Bay resort employees for which officials did not even show up for court. Anybody else would be charged with contempt of court.


Who was rude to whom? Turn that remark from Redfern around for the answer. Does he ever say anything besides someone should be ashamed or that they owe him an apology? Go back to whatever you are supposed to be doing and let The State of Ohio speak-not you, Mr. Redfern!


Life long Democrat here very disappointed in Mr. Redfern.


But you keep voting for him!




Hey, what happened to the story about Put in Bay Resort and the fact that the Mayor of PIB and the Chief of Police both failed to show up for court?!

Ralph J.

Maybe Mulligan threatened to use manufactured evidence against the reporter?


Ok, now the story is back and we can't comment upon it. It is interesting to note the difference in treatment between employees of PIB Resort and Mr. Ed's bar by Mulligan and PIB police especially in view of the other article about the women who claims she was drugged and raped by a Mr. Ed's employee.