Marion County capital murder trial set to begin in May 2023

Attorney Gregory W. Meyers, standing, addresses the court during a preliminary hearing for defendant Christian Gutierrez, seated second from left, Thursday, May 26, 2022, at Marion County Common Pleas Court . Gutierrez faces a capital murder trial after being charged with shooting and killing Charles Feliciano on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. Attorneys Kandra Roberts, left, and Kirk A. McVay, third from left, are also represented in the photo.

Marion’s capital murder trial is not expected to begin until May 2023.

Christian Gutierrez, 19, Marion, is charged with shooting and killing Charles A. Feliciano, 27, Marion, in an incident on the afternoon of Wednesday, March 9, in a parking lot in the 100 block of London Street, according to a report provided by the Marion Police Department.

Feliciano died later that night at a Columbus hospital, according to the police report. Gutierrez was arrested that same evening at a Delaware County motel and transported back to Marion County, according to the police report.

Marion County District Attorney Ray Grogan is seeking the death penalty in the case. The Marion County Grand Jury issued a replacement indictment April 27 that includes a specification of the death penalty.

Gutierrez appeared in Marion County Common Pleas Court on Thursday for a preliminary hearing with his defense team. He is represented by attorneys Kirk A. McVay, Gregory W. Meyers, and Kandra Roberts of the Ohio Office of the Public Defender.

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At Thursday’s hearing, Judge WT Edwards set a tentative date for the start of the trial on Thursday, May 18, 2023.

Another preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, August 24. It will begin at 1 p.m. that day in the Court of Common Pleas.

Gutierrez waived his right to a speedy trial.

Following Thursday’s hearing, McVay said he could not comment on the case at this stage because it is still early in the process and the defense attorney has a huge amount of evidence to sort and search.

McVay, Meyers and Roberts were assigned to the case after the attorney who initially represented Gutierrez, James D. Owen, asked the judge to be removed from the case citing that he would be “unable to consecrate the time required to properly defend the accused in a death penalty case.” Judge Edwards granted this request.

Gutierrez was originally indicted by the grand jury on March 16 on one count of aggravated murder, an unspecified felony; three counts of murder, each of unspecified crimes; and two counts of felony assault, both second degree felonies. A three-year firearm specification was included with each charge.

Due to evidence that emerged as the investigation continued, Grogan then requested a replacement indictment with additional charges, including specification of the death penalty. The grand jury released the replacement indictment when it met on April 27.

The superseding indictment returned by the grand jury contains the following counts, according to court records: aggravated murder, felony unspecified, with a 3-year firearm spec and a felony murder spec ; kidnapping, a first degree felony, with a firearm specification of 3 years; aggravated murder, felony unspecified, with a firearm spec of 3 years; three counts of murder, each of unspecified felonies, each with a firearm specification of 3 years; and two counts of felony assault, both second degree felonies, each with a firearm specification of 3 years.

Gutierrez pleaded not guilty to all charges in the case. He remains incarcerated at the Multi-County Correctional Center after bail was denied in the case.

Judge Edwards ruled that Gutierrez was allowed to appear in court wearing “civilian clothes” and “non-visible restraints.” The judge informed Gutierrez that the decision could be changed at any time depending on the defendant’s behavior.

Email: [email protected] | Twitter: @AndrewACCarter

This article originally appeared on Marion Star: Marion County Capital Murder Trial Set to Begin May 2023