Jefferson grand jury returns indictments

STEUBENVILLE — The Jefferson County grand jury on Wednesday heard cases involving a stabbing, pharmacy robbery and trafficking in fentanyl.

Emaliano M. Benitez, 61, of Amsterdam was indicted on charges of aggravated burglary and felonious assault.

Sheriff’s deputies were called around 11:46 p.m. on April 2 to a residence at 110 Worthington St., Amsterdam. The resident, Sharon G. Whitman, 42, said Benitez, her former boyfriend, was looking in the windows, a deputy said. Whitman then told a dispatcher that Benitez had broken into the residence through a window and was stabbing James Hanlin, 62, of 706 N. Fifth St., Toronto, who was inside.

Whitman, who went into a bathroom for shelter, said Hanlin and Benitez ran from the residence, the sheriff’s department reported.

Deputies and troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol arrived and Hanlin came out of the woods. Hanlin said he was stabbed, and deputies said they observed multiple cuts and possibly a stab wound. Hanlin was taken by ambulance to Trinity Medical Center West for treatment.

A deputy said he found a broken knife handle and blade at the residence.

Benitez ran from the scene and was located in a camper two days later not far from the crime scene, the sheriff’s department reported.

In another case, two city men were indicted in connection with an investigation by drug task forces in Ohio and West Virginia into the sale of fentanyl.

Jessie Birden, 25, of 600 Garrett Ave. and Calvin Bryant Jr., 30, of 725 Market St. were arrested during the raid.

Birden was indicted on three counts of trafficking in fentanyl, having a weapon under disability and possession of cocaine and fentanyl. Bryant was indicted on single counts of possession of fentanyl, possession of cocaine, having a weapon under disability and cocaine trafficking.

The drug task force reported 19 people overdosed on drugs in the Steubenville and Weirton areas in the middle of March, and placed a high priority on discovering the source of the fentanyl. Birden’s residence was raided on March 14.

Jason P. Martin, 36, no fixed address, was indicted on felony counts of aggravated robbery and robbery and misdemeanor counts of theft and resisting arrest in connection with the March 17 robbery of the Rite Aid pharmacy at 135 N. Fifth St.

Prosecutor Jane Hanlin said Martin was in the pharmacy the day before the robbery making a purchase that required identification. He was recognized by store personnel during the robbery, Hanlin said.

Robert C. Koch III, 34, of 3348 state Route 213, Steubenville, was indicted on charges of felonious assault and felony domestic violence. Koch was charged with the March 31 beating of his girlfriend, according to the prosecutor’s office.

(Law can be contacted at mlaw@heraldstaronline.com.)

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