LISBON - Two men charged in separate rape cases made appearances in Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Friday, with one pleading innocent and the other ordered to provide saliva samples for DNA testing.
Earl D. Hicks, 39, of 10100 Wayne Bridge Road, Lisbon, pleaded innocent to three counts of rape, a first-degree felony, and three counts of sexual battery, a third-degree felony, for alleged sexual assaults against a teen-age girl over a three-year period starting in 2006.
If convicted, he could face a maximum 45 years in prison, with 10 years for each rape offense and five years for each sexual battery count, if the terms are ordered served consecutively. He was arrested Wednesday night and placed in the county jail with no bond set.
His attorney, Brian Macala, asked Judge David Tobin to consider releasing him on a recognizance bond, saying he didn't believe he would be a flight risk because he is employed and has strong roots in the area.
Assistant Prosecutor Tim McNicol opposed his release from jail, noting the seriousness of the charges against him. He also said Hicks made it clear to the victim that if she told anyone what he had been doing, he would harm her. When he was arrested, he had a 9mm handgun in his possession, McNicol said.
Tobin set bond at $250,000 cash or surety. The case has been assigned to Judge C. Ashley Pike.
Earl R. Collins, 46, whose last known address was 2268 state Route 170, East Palestine, was ordered to provide saliva samples at the direction of the prosecution after McNicol filed a motion to compel. He was charged in August with rape, a first-degree felony, along with an age specification since the victim was under the age of 10.
The age specification carries a mandatory life sentence if he is convicted of both the charge and the specification. McNicol said the incident occurred at an East Palestine residence and involved a female toddler.
Pike scheduled a status hearing at 10 a.m. Dec. 7 and a jury trial on Dec. 15. Collins remains in jail under a $500,000 bond.
In another matter, a warrant was issued for Michelle D. Darrah, 25, 1797 Clark Ave., Wellsville, after she failed to show up for a scheduled court hearing Friday. Darrah was indicted earlier this year on four counts of endangering children related to allegations that she recklessly abused her children and created a risk to their health and safety last fall.
Pike revoked her bond and issued a warrant for her arrest. The trial set for Tuesday was canceled. The indictment alleged the abuse of her son 4, and daughter, 3, in 2008 raised concerns for hospital officials.