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Trials set in intimidation case

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MEDINA — Three area men are accused of hatching a plan while they were in jail to intimidate a woman from testifying in a pending rape case in Medina County Common Pleas Court.

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Tanner Davis, 18, of Rittman, entered a written plea of not guilty by reason of insanity last week on charges of intimidation, a third-degree felony, and attempted kidnapping, a second-degree felony, involving a 19-year-old Wadsworth woman he’s accused of raping in June, according to court documents.

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His co-defendant, Erik Brubaker, 35, of Medina, pleaded not guilty Nov. 9 to attempted kidnapping, a second-degree felony; intimidation, a third-degree felony; and impersonating a peace officer, a fourth-degree felony.

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The plan to “arrest” the victim was discussed between Davis, Brubaker and Caleb Barnhart, 20, of Wadsworth, while they were detained at Medina County Jail, Medina County sheriff’s Detective Larry Covey said.

“Through investigation, we found phone calls and handwritten letters exchanged between the three folks discussing the plan to make sure she didn’t testify,” Covey said.

A Jan. 9 jury trial for Brubaker is scheduled in Judge Joyce V. Kimbler’s court. Davis’ trial, on all charges against him combined, is scheduled for Dec. 4 in Judge Christopher J. Collier’s court.

As of Friday, Medina County grand jury indictments did not list charges against Barnhart concerning the Oct. 6 incident.

When asked about an indictment against Barnhart, county Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury said he “could not discuss secret indictments by law.”

On Oct. 6, Wayne County sheriff’s deputies stopped a vehicle driven by Brubaker, who was wearing a “makeshift police uniform,” which included a utility belt holding pepper spray and real handcuffs, the Wooster Daily Record reported. The vehicle was stopped because it was equipped with a yellow flashing light on top.

His passenger, Barnhart, allegedly told deputies they were planning to go to Wadsworth and make a “citizen’s arrest” of a woman who was scheduled to testify in a trial against a mutual friend of theirs. He also reportedly had a fake police badge, the Daily Record reported.

Brubaker initially was arrested on a charge of driving while under suspension and Barnhart for a probation violation in an unrelated case.

Davis has been in the county jail since August on a first-degree felony rape charge stemming from a June 13 incident involving the 19-year-old woman at a “remote location” in Guilford Township, Covey said.

Brubaker temporarily was held at the jail in September for a parole violation, Covey said. He noted the violation was not from a Medina County case, but did not have further information.

Barnhart previously served a 180-day jail sentence after pleading no contest to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a first-degree misdemeanor, in May. He was released Oct. 2.

Brubaker and Davis are currently being held on $100,000 cash bond at Medina County Jail.

Barnhart was sentenced to three years in prison Oct. 25 by Wayne County Common Pleas Judge Corey Spitler for violating his probation in a 2016 importuning case, court documents show.

Brubaker, a registered sex offender, has an extensive criminal record in Medina County, including gross sexual imposition, burglary, theft and forgery, according to court documents.

Davis has no prior convictions in Medina County courts.

Contact reporter Halee Heironimus at (330) 721-4012 or hheironimus@medina-gazette.com.



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