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Court dismisses charges against the Fergusons


Court dismisses charges against the Fergusons

Couple will wait to see if Clark County will try to continue what Union County started.

Monday, March 26, 2007

By Natalie Morales

Staff Writer

The 63 charges shared by Vonda and James Ferguson were dismissed by a Union County court and instead could be prosecuted in Clark County, according to court documents.

James Ferguson, 46, of 1337 Northfield Court, had been charged with 20 counts of endangering children, five counts of permitting child abuse and five counts of felonious assault.

His wife, Vonda, 43, faced the same charges, plus an additional count of felonious assault and two counts of rape.

The Fergusons were indicted in August by a Union County grand jury after Union County prosecutors alleged the couple used extreme forms of punishment against five of their adopted children between 2000 and 2004 in their Clark and Union county homes.

Union County Judge Richard Parrott ordered on March 7 that Union County Prosecutor David Phillips update the charges against James Ferguson to specify the time, date, place and conduct alleged in each charge.

The judge gave the prosecutor two weeks to file the update.

On Thursday, Parrott scheduled an April 4 hearing for the prosecutors to prove why the case shouldn't be dismissed after they did not comply with the order.

Phillips then filed motions to dismiss charges against James and Vonda Ferguson, stating, "While some of the underlying events occurred in Union County, Ohio, many of the events took place in Clark County, Ohio."

Parrott granted the motions in both cases Friday.

Phillips could not be reached for comment Sunday.

Vonda Ferguson's Columbus-based attorney, George Wolfe, also could not be reached for comment Sunday.

James Ferguson's Dublin-based attorney, Kerry Donahue, said he spoke with his client, who was glad to see the charges were dismissed.

"There's certainly some concern that they're going to try to persuade the prosecutors in Clark County to continue prosecuting (the case) there," he said. "We obviously don't think that should be done because we don't think there are any legitimate charges against James."

Clark County Prosecutor Stephen Schumaker said if the case came to Clark County, the Union County prosecutors would serve as special prosecutors in the local courts.

"We've not been involved in the investigation," Schumaker said. "At this point in time, clearly they know the facts, they're familiar with the witnesses and all the alleged victims, and we'll just be here to help them in any way."

Contact this reporter at (937) 328-0226 or nmorales@coxohio.com

2007 Mar 26