Wayne County Prosecutor Daniel Lutz said Wednesday his office did not know about a civil protection order filed against a murder suspect — while his office was investigating a separate sexual battery case against the same man.
In December, LaReece Woods bonded out of jail for $500 after a grand jury indicted him on sexual battery charges. His accuser told newsnet5.com Woods raped her last June.
At the time of the bond hearing, Woods’ wife, Emily Young, had an active protection order against her estranged husband in Medina County, but Wayne County prosecutors were not aware.
Police say Woods murdered his wife on Jan. 7, two weeks after being released on bond in a different case.
Lutz said Chief Criminal Prosecutor Jodie Schumacher reviewed Woods’ prior criminal convictions and then recommended bond to be set at $5,000. Woods was only required to pay 10 percent of that total.
“His only conviction, his only criminal record, is a misdemeanor conviction from Ashland County in 2012,” Lutz said.
But in the months prior to that hearing, Medina County court records show Woods’ estranged wife had been complaining to police for months about her husband. Allegations he threw her into a pile of glass, slashed her tires and violated a no-contact order are all detailed in a civil protection order she filed in November.
“Let me say this, Derick, if we had had that report, which we did not, and we read the allegations in that report, would we have used that to factor in recommending a higher bond? Yes. That’s true,” Lutz said.
Exclusive: I've uncovered a Wayne Co. murder suspect's legal past slipped through the cracks, allowing him to bond out on an earlier unrelated sexual battery charge for just $500. http://bit.ly/1RF2yAD
Posted by Derick Waller on Wednesday, January 13, 2016
He added, “There was no record of a conviction for it. It was still pending in Medina County. We didn’t have it. It was taking place. Derick, the day, as you found out, the day that he entered a no contest plea was the day we entered the bond recommendation - the same day,” Lutz said.
But records show Young filed an emergency, so-called “ex parte” protection order in November, before a full hearing could be held in December.
“All I can say is that we did not see the civil protection order prior to making the bond recommendation,” Lutz said.
Alexandria Ruden, with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, tells newsnet5.com that explanation makes sense because the emergency protection order may not have been immediately filed into a state database for prosecutors in another county to see.
She wants better communication between counties in domestic violence cases.
“Maybe it should be a policy, that any time a protection order is issued, whether served or not,” Ruden said, “It should be entered into the system to give somebody a heads up that it does exist."
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