ELYRIA — A man being held on aggravated murder charges in Lorain County Jail now is facing an additional felony drug possession charge after allegedly being caught with drugs inside the jail.
Through his attorney, Dan Wightman, Lorenzo Garcia pleaded not guilty to possession of drugs, a third-degree felony, during a brief arraignment Thursday in Lorain County Common Pleas Court.
Judge James Miraldi said he assumed the case arose from an incident prior to Garcia’s jailing on murder and other felony charges in the March 2018 death of Linda Wisniewski, of Lorain. Instead, he was told the alleged drug crime happened in the jail while Garcia, 32, was in custody.
The incident happened in April, according to the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office. Additional details were not immediately available.
On the matter of the murder charges, Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor Tony Cillo told Miraldi he and Assistant Prosecutor Laura Dezort have been stymied in obtaining discovery from psychologist John Fabian, who interviewed Garcia following his arrest and has been helping prepare his defense.
Fabian “has produced no test results,” Cillo told the judge. There is no report yet available and “no definitive timeline” for one, he argued, with a proposed trial date in March.
Wightman and co-counsel Kenneth Lieux, meanwhile, said they have seen delays obtaining Ohio Department of Youth Services, juvenile court and school records for their client. They also expressed frustration at the delays but said they weren’t intentional or meant to slow down the case.
Miraldi told both sides the matters would be sorted out at another pretrial hearing scheduled for Aug. 8.
Garcia and his co-defendant, 26-year-old Antonio Martinez of Lorain, are being held in jail on $1 million bond each. They are accused of committing a burglary that ended with the death of Wisniewski, 67.
Lorain police responded the evening of March 27, 2018, to a “burglary in progress” call at 3625 Amherst Ave., and found Wisniewski dead at the scene. She had been stabbed multiple times and suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head. Wisniewski also had been bound with duct tape, prosecutors later said in court.
Kenneth “Chip” Williams, a 28-year-old family friend of Wisniewski, also suffered serious injuries including a gunshot wound to the head and was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, police said.
Working with Lorain police, Elyria police recovered a gun and a knife believed to have been used in the crime, Cillo said in court Thursday.
Garcia faces a 38-count criminal indictment while Martinez is charged in a 36-count indictment; the most serious of the charges are aggravated murder, which could send the two men to death row if they are convicted.
Garcia and Martinez each face eight counts of aggravated murder, five counts of murder, two counts of aggravated burglary, four counts of aggravated robbery, one count of attempted murder, six counts of kidnapping, four counts of felonious assault, two counts of theft, one count of grand theft of a motor vehicle and a count of having weapons under disability.
Garcia also faces four counts of tampering with evidence, while Martinez faces two counts of tampering with evidence.