LISBON - Although some in the courtroom were unhappy with the decision, next week's jury trial of accused murderer Robert Harmony was postponed until late June.
Columbiana County Common Pleas Court Judge C. Ashley Pike said Monday that due to the seriousness of the charge and Harmony's request for him to move his trial to give his attorneys more time to interview new witnesses, he felt he needed to err on the side of the defense. At the same time, Pike admitted while the public understands the need for justice to proceed thoughtfully, sometimes the public begins to believe "it works too dog-gone slow."
Harmony is accused in the stabbing death of 23-year-old Gerrod S. Lanzendorfer, working that night as a bouncer at the Side Door Tavern, and found dead in the street on South Broadway in Salem in the early morning hours of Nov. 13.
Harmony's defense attorneys, Fred Naragon and Jennifer Gorby, requested additional time after they were given the names of three new witnesses last Thursday. When asked about the late addition of people to the witness list, Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said in the process of interviewing some of the other witnesses in preparation for the jury trial, the prosecutor's office learned the names of three additional people who were previously unidentified.
The three people reportedly were there prior to the alleged stabbing and collaborate the information given by other witnesses, Gamble said.
"These witnesses don't change the complexity of the case," Gamble said in arguing against delaying the trial. "It may change the complexion, but not the complexity."
Additionally, Gamble argued he and Assistant County Prosecutor Tammie Riley Jones have been talking with many of the witnesses and set up interviews with the three people for early this week and are prepared to go forward on Tuesday, April 29.
"No one from the defense has interviewed any of our witnesses yet, let alone these three witnesses," Gamble added.
Pike also indicated his intentions to deny a previous motion by the defense to throw out statements reportedly made by Harmony while he was at the Salem Police Department the night of the stabbing. Pike noted he does not believe there was any question about whether Harmony freely made the statements about his actions that night.
At one point in the police station Harmony reportedly said "I was harassed. I was followed. I felt threatened, and as a soldier, I did what I had to do," according to police Detective David Talbert.