MIAMI COUNTY — The man accused of murdering his wife last January plans to change his plea this week, it was stated Tuesday during a final pre-trial hearing in Miami County Common Pleas Court.
Randy Freels, 57, appeared in court for the hearing with Judge Jeannine Pratt presiding. Freels was found competent to stand trial earlier this month.
Miami County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell notified the court of a pending plea agreement with Freels and public defender Jack Hemm. Kendell stated if Freels pleads to all four felony counts, including murder, the state would recommend a sentence of 18 years to life. If Freels pleads as charged, Kendell informed the court the state would merge the murder and felonious assault charges and consolidate the gun specifications. The murder charge carries a 15-years-to-life sentence.
Judge Pratt ordered the change of plea hearing to be held Thursday.
Hemm said Freels plans to change his plea under the plea agreement with a stipulation the state returns all confiscated evidence, including multiple guns, to Anthony Freels, the victim’s son and administrator of her estate.
Hemm said he would explain the details of the plea agreement with Freels prior to Thursday’s hearing.
Freels has been charged with four felony counts, including murder, felonious assault, tampering with evidence and improperly discharging a firearm.
Freels allegedly shot and killed his 52-year-old wife, Samantha, in the area of Elleman Road and West State Route 55 in Union Township on Jan. 12.
Miami County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to a report of a car off the side of the road during poor road conditions. Units on the scene advised the victim was not breathing. Samantha Freels’ vehicle was located in a creek, and she was pronounced dead at the scene. A deputy noticed a bullet hole in the trunk of the car. Medics at the scene found a bullet wound while attempting to treat Samantha Freels at the scene.
Randy Freels was later apprehended by the Special Response Team at his home in the 2000 block of Rangeline Road.
In March, a family member filed a civil lawsuit in Miami County Common Pleas Court against Freels.
Anthony Freels, administrator of the estate of his mother, Samantha Freels, filed the lawsuit, dated Feb. 20, seeking monetary compensation for more than $25,000 in a wrongful death suit in civil court.
In other court news:
Alexander Dickerson, 21 of Bradford, was sentenced to serve one year in prison for two counts of fourth-degree felony unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and one count of disseminating matter harmful to a juvenile son Monday.
According to court records, Dickerson violated conditions of his bond after he continued to contact the 14-year-old victim on social media, including Snapchat and Instagram.
Dickerson entered a plea of guilty to the charges in April.
Tyler Sharp, 25, of Troy, entered a plea of no contest and was found guilty of fifth degree harassment by bodily fluid in Miami County Common Pleas Court.
Judge Gee accepted Sharp’s no contest plea and found him guilty of the charge. Sharp entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. He remains in Miami County Jail.
Sharp was found guilty by the court for throwing a cup of blood in the face of a correction’s officer.
Defense counsel Jay Lopez requested to withdrawl a motion for a second opinion and evaluation to determine Sharp’s level of competency at the time of the offense. Sharp was found mentally ill, but not intellectually disabled. The evaluation was admitted as an exhibit to the case.
Sharp was incarcerated on a parole violation at the time of the incident. He will be sentenced July 17.