ELYRIA — When a Medina grand jury indicted Samuel Legg in connection with a rape dating back to 1997, Medina County Prosecutor S. Forrest Thompson said Legg, a transient truck driver, had only had some minor brushes with the law prior to the alleged rape.
Thompson categorized them as “nothing of any substance,” and certainly not the kind of crimes that would have resulted in his DNA going into the system. That might have entered into the decision by then-Prosecutor Dean Holman not to prosecute originally.
Now, more than 20 years later, Thompson said the case against Legg is much stronger.
And, as authorities continue to delve into the past of the man who not only faces rape charges but is being eyed as a suspect in a number of murders throughout Ohio, a look at his legal skirmishes locally reveal only a handful of encounters.
Legg also was indicted on murder charges in connection with the death of Sharon Lynn Kedzierski, whose body was found in 1992 at a truck stop in Austintown.
Elyria police also have reopened the investigation into the cold case of the death of Legg’s stepdaughter, Angela Hicks, whose body was found in 1990 near Midway Mall. Legg was a prime suspect in 1990, but police were unable to get the evidence they needed to charge him with the crime.
He appears to once again be a prime suspect in Angela’s death.
Legg was charged with other crimes in Lorain County in the years before and after Angela’s death, but they were mostly theft-related.
In 1989, he was charged in Lorain County Common Pleas Court with possession of criminal tools and criminal trespassing, but the case was sent back to Elyria Municipal Court.
In 1992, he was convicted of receiving stolen property for having four Cragar S/S wheels, which are wheel rims for a vehicle, which belonged to George Guignette, according to court records. The rims where valued at $300, court documents said.
Legg pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison, but the sentence was suspended. He served three years of probation and eventually was discharged, court records said.
He also was charged with misdemeanor passing bad checks in Elyria Municipal Court.
Other than that, there’s no record of Legg in the county’s court records.
He doesn’t appear in Medina County court records as well.
But his legal troubles are mounting. The state attorney general’s office has said DNA testing has linked Legg to other unsolved homicides besides Kedzierski’s.
This is after Thompson last month went to Arizona with a plan to collect DNA from Legg and carried with them the details of the years-old rape case. The now-nearly 40-year-old victim told authorities she hitchhiked from her then-home in Lexington to visit her boyfriend in Cleveland in 1997. On her return trip to Richland County, she said she accepted a ride from Legg at a gas station at the U.S. Route 224 exchange in Westfield Township on Interstate 71.
Authorities said at the time of the alleged assault that Legg was an independent truck driver who drove for a company in Hinckley in Medina County.
Legg was living in a group home in Chandler, Arizona, and has a history of schizophrenia.
It is that history that prompted Medina County Common Pleas Judge Joyce V. Kimbler to order Legg undergo a competency hearing by the Criminal Court Psycho-Diagnostic Clinic, a certified forensic center designated by the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services.
Legg remains in the Medina County Jail with a status conference set for 8:30 a.m. April 4.
- Samuel Legg pleads not guilty to Mahoning County murder charge
- Half brother of Legg says his mom suspected Sam in Elyria homicide
- Medina rape suspect Samuel Legg had few brushes with law in Lorain County
- After arrest of Medina rape suspect Samuel Legg, Elyria police reopen 1990 case of stepdaughter's homicide
- 1990 murder victim's friend: 'Always. I've always known it was him.' (VIDEO)
- Medina County rape suspect Samuel Legg also indicted in Youngstown for murder (UPDATED)
- DNA testing links Arizona man to 1997 Medina County cold case