Judge eases up on man’s access to children

LISBON – The Wellsville man accused of opening fire on police through the wall of his garage last year was granted more access to his children while his jury trial in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court was pushed back until February.

Joel Possage, 35, who is now living with a brother on Golfview Drive, Boardman, made the request through his attorneys, Mark A. Hanni and Dennis A. Dimartino.

Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones had argued against allowing him unsupervised visitation with his children, noting the bond conditions had already been changed once to allow both his brother or his pastor to be allowed to supervise visitation. Additionally, Jones argued the children are possible witnesses to their father’s alleged actions last fall.

However, Jones’ attorneys argued the children are missing their father and refusing to listen to their mother, showing signs of aggression and in need of their father’s guidance. Hanni offered to bring in Possage’s wife to explain the issues further to Judge C. Ashley Pike.

Instead, Pike asked Possage directly if he would agree to have no discussions with the children about the events surrounding the case. The defendant agreed and the motion was granted.

Possage is accused of attempting to harm both Wellsville Chief Joe Scarabino and patrolman Jeff Weekley as well as Lt. Justin Wright of the Liverpool Township department on Oct. 4, 2012.

Court documents state that while barricaded in his garage, at 1712 Commerce St., Wellsville, Possage fired a gun. In his possession, he is accused of having a Bushmaster .223 AR15, a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum and a Glock 9-mm Lugar, at least one of which he is believed to have fired from inside the garage, narrowly missing police outside.

He is charged with felonious assault with a firearms specification.

The jury trial, which had been scheduled for next week, was moved until Feb. 18. A motion hearing was also scheduled for Jan. 27 after one of Possage’s attorneys stated he plans to file a motion limiting what evidence will be allowed at the trial.