MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Christopher Gee on Tuesday said he will consider a motion made by a former Troy Fire Department firefighter to sever a trial with a co-defendant in a felony rape case.
Both defendants, former Troy Fire Department firefighter Jeffrey Covault, 48, of Troy, and Thomas Perkins Jr., 54, of Springcreek Twp., appeared in court.
Covault’s attorney Andrew Pratt said the motion was made on Covault’s behalf to have a fair trial based on statements made by Perkins’ which could have a negative impact on his client’s case.
Perkins’ counsel Anthony Sullivan concurred with Pratt’s motion.
Miami County Assistant Prosecutor Janna Parker argued the alleged act was committed at the same time by both defendants. She also stated having the witnesses, including the victim, testify more than once would be traumatic. Parker said the prosecutors would be mindful to not allow any incriminating statements made by either party during the trial.
Judge Gee said he would review case law before making a decision on the motion. Gee granted the defense’s motion to continue the trial to December due to the state releasing security camera video from the crime scene, Covault’s bar The Vault, obtained by a search warrant by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office detectives. Prosecutor Janna Parker said the delay was due to the large video file that was provided to the defense attorneys by flash drive. Parker said it was a challenge to transfer the large data files and obtain large enough flash drives to hold the data,which caused the delay. Both Pratt and Sullivan stated they had not had the chance to review the footage.
Gee set the four-day trial to begin on Dec. 11.
Perkins remained in the courtroom and was arraigned on two counts of fourth-degree felony OVI and driving under suspension on March 31. He entered a plea of not guilty. Gee set bond at $10,000 and set a pre-trial date on Sept. 4.
Both Covault and Perkins were arraigned in Miami County Common Pleas Court on first-degree felony rape charges from an alleged sexual assault on March 2. Covault posted bond and was released. Perkins remains incarcerated.
They were indicted by a grand jury by secret indictment and both entered a plea of not guilty to the charge.
Both Perkins and Covault were arrested on warrants at their homes. According to reports, the pair allegedly sexually assaulted a 21-year-old female at The Vault bar on March 2. Covault owns the establishment located in the 700 block of N. County Road 25-A, Troy.
Covault submitted his retirement notice to the city on March 15. According to city records, Covault was first placed on paid administrative leave on March 2. He was later suspended without pay on March 5, due to the alleged misconduct and reports of the incident being investigated by the Miami County Sheriff’s Office. His notice of retirement was accepted by the city on March 15. He was employed by the department for 21 years.
In other news:
• A Troy man was sentenced to serve one year in prison for third-degree felony possession of drugs in Miami County Common Pleas Court on Monday.
Mackenzie Stark, 24, was ordered to also pay a $5,000 fine. He was granted 44 days of jail time credit.
Judge Christopher Gee noted Stark’s substance abuse history as well as his failure to comply with prior community control sanctions. Stark also violated pre-trial services bond and lied to his control officer when he violated curfew outside of a bar in Covington. A pre-sentence investigation also noted he has active warrants in California for alcohol related offenses.
“I hope you take advantage of treatment,” Gee told him, before he was taken into custody.
• Brittany Prather, 29, of Piqua, was sentenced to serve 12 months in prison on two cases on Monday.
She was charged with third degree tampering with evidence in one case and fourth- and fifth-degree felony drug possession in another. She was granted 120 days of jail time credit. In February, Troy Police Department investigators found that Prather called in a false robbery report at a gas station to draw police presence away from Motel 6 where a drug drop off was planned. She was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. Stephen King, public defense attorney told the court she was indigent and would file an application to waive the fine. The state requested 18 months in prison in a joint plea agreement with the state.
Brandy Hutton, of Troy, on one count of fifth-degree felony forgery. She entered a plea of not guilty. She was ordered to have no contact with the victim and released on her own recognizance. A pre-trial was set for Aug. 27.
Anthony Benson Sr., of Springfield, on one count of fifth-degree felony possession of cocaine. He entered a plea of not guilty and was released on his own recognizance. A pre-trial was set for Aug. 28.
Jevon Brownlow, of Tipp City, on one count of fifth-degree possession of drugs. He entered a plea of not guilty and was released on his own recognizance. Judge Gee also ordered him to “never, ever wear shorts in court again.” A pre-trial was set for Aug. 28.