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Joiner pleads not guilty to murder charge

Morning Journal/Deanne Johnson Gary Joiner (center) leaves the courthouse following his arraignment hearing on Thursday morning with Shaunea Crute (front) and Deputy Jeff Haugh behind him. Crute had appeared on unrelated drug charges.

LISBON — Gary Joiner made his first appearance Thursday in Common Pleas Court since he was charged with aggravated murder in the shooting death of Ryan Virden.

Through his defense attorney Jeffrey Jakmides, Joiner pleaded not guilty to the charges he is facing, which include two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated burglary and a murder charge.

Jakmides also indicated Joiner had signed a waiver of his rights to a speedy trial to give them more time to prepare for his defense given the complexity of the evidence.

Chief Assistant County Prosecutor Ryan Weikart said the prosecutors have already been in contact with Jakmides about exchanging evidence in the case.

A status conference was set for Aug. 13 and Joiner remains in custody of the county sheriff’s office with his bond continued at $1 million cash or surety.

Joiner, 42, is facing the possibility of life in prison without the possibility of parole for the late March death of Virden in the trailer home of Nicole Kenst on Homeworth Road. Joiner is accused of entering the structure when Kenst, Virden and Michael Spencer were there. Virden was found in the bedroom of the home with two gunshot wounds, with the fatal one believed to be the one to his chest.

Joiner also is charged with tampering with evidence and having weapons while under a disability, both third-degree felonies. During his preliminary hearing it was mentioned Joiner may have not been truthful with the dispatchers and investigators shortly after the murder occurred and he had possibly tampered with evidence, including a machete.

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