Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Change of plea hearing set for murder suspect

By Shelley Grieshop
ST. MARYS - A Celina man accused of a 33-year-old murder asked a judge Monday for a hearing to change his not guilty plea.
Tracy W. Mabry, 52, 8673 U.S. 33, appeared in Auglaize County Common Pleas Court for the first day of a scheduled two-day hearing to challenge alleged evidence against him and seek dismissal of his aggravated murder charge.
But two hours after the hearing was to begin, visiting Judge Reginald Routson of Hancock County announced Mabry's attorney and county prosecutors were discussing a plea deal.
"Based on the plea agreement, we'd like to withdraw our motions," Mabry's attorney, John M. Leahy, told the judge.
After confirming that Mabry was considering the plea agreement, Routson set 1 p.m. Feb. 20 for the change of plea hearing. A trial remains scheduled to begin March 9.
Mabry faces life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years if convicted on the current charge. A death penalty specification is not included in the indictment.
County prosecutor Ed Pierce told the judge he would recommend Mabry serve seven to 25 years in prison if he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, and "agreed to cooperate with the continuing investigation." Authorities believe there is another suspect in the case.
"We would recommend parole after seven years," Pierce noted.
If Mabry fails to cooperate and is found to have lied to investigators, he would not be eligible for parole until serving 14 years in prison, according to the proposed plea agreement.
Assistant prosecutor Benjamin Elder told the newspaper the family of the victim, 71-year-old Marcellus J. Reineke, previously approved the plea deal.
"We've been in contact with them," he said.
Mabry showed no emotion as the judge explained the information to be discussed at the upcoming hearing, such as possible penalties.
Mabry was indicted in May for aiding and abetting in aggravated murder and pleaded not guilty in June. He is being held at the Auglaize County Jail on a $1 million bond.
Mabry is the second person charged with the brutal death of Reineke in the elderly man's home on Oct. 13, 1981.
Paul Leroy Hoover, 53, of Florida, and formerly of St. Marys, in May was sentenced to seven to 25 years in prison for the murder.
According to law enforcement, Reineke was tortured by the suspects who sought information on the location of money and valuables in the home on South West Street. The suspects reportedly set the home on fire to destroy evidence before leaving the scene.
The motion hearings scheduled for this week were requested by Mabry's attorneys to argue their objections to several statements he allegedly made in recent years to authorities, friends and co-workers while being recorded without his knowledge. Prosecutors had planned to present the alleged evidence at Mabry's trial.
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