Driver in fatal Bellaire burglary sentenced

Driver in fatal burglary sentenced

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Another co-defendant in an attempted home invasion to secure drugs that led to the shooting death of Joshua Gorayeb, an alleged participant in the crime, received his sentence in court Monday.

Michael Scott Posey, 33, of Bellaire appeared before Belmont County Common Pleas Judge John Vavra, who sentenced Posey to five years behind bars for the crime of involuntary manslaughter. Law enforcement officers believe Posey drove the group of perpetrators to the targeted house at 4157 Noble St., Bellaire. That residence was a site of drug trafficking activity, and its owner has since been convicted of that crime.

The Belmont County Prosecutor’s Office said the objective of the planned invasion was to steal drugs. However, the occupants of the home were armed, and two of the perpetrators were shot. Gorayeb died at the scene, while Thomas Grubba was wounded. Grubba eventually recovered.

This concludes the cases against three of the four co-defendants accused of conspiring in the June 7 home invasion.

“I completely agree with the decision that the court made,” Bellaire Police Chief Michael Kovalyk said. “We think it is appropriate.”

He also said an attempted theft of drugs was the motivating factor behind the crime. About 59 grams of cocaine was found in the area of the house, he said.

“Drugs were the main issue here,” he said. “There was a large quantity of drugs that was recovered. … Unfortunately, this resulted in the death of one of the intruders, so those involved in the plan to steal the drugs were directly involved in that subject’s death.”

Kovalyk commented on Posey’s role in the crime.

“I’m sure that he was aware that the issue was drugs, and that’s what they were going there to do: secure drugs by force. That ended up with the death of Josh Gorayeb. And one other individual whose case is still pending, Thomas Grubba, was seriously wounded by a gunshot,” Kovalyk said. “This (investigation) takes a lot of time. It’s a complicated case when you have that many defendants. It’s a slow process, and the courts make sure that it is thoroughly investigated and each individual defendant is given their say in what occurred.”

Kovalyk added that the cooperation and reporting of the public made the arrests possible.

“It’s the good people of Bellaire who assisted us in this case as they always have, and that makes our job easier,” he said. “Their continued cooperation and support is greatly appreciated.

“If you see something, say something,” he continued. “License numbers, vehicles, suspect descriptions, activity, frequenting certain areas — their assistance is very important, not only to Bellaire but any law enforcement agency.”

Prosecutor Dan Fry agreed that the sentence was appropriate, adding that Ohio law allowed his office to file a homicide charge against Posey even though it was his co-defendant who was killed and Posey played no part in the homicide, since all co-defendants who participated in the burglary or the planning are liable for the death.

Fry added that Posey did not play a large role in the crime and was very cooperative with the investigation.

Co-defendant Diane Kuri of Wheeling has been sentenced to community controls and released due to her cooperation with law enforcement. She pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit burglary, a felony of the fifth degree.

James McMasters, 46, of Bellaire, believed to have organized the home invasion attempt, was sentenced to 11 years for involuntary manslaughter. Investigators believe he lived at the targeted house at one time.

The final co-defendant, Grubba, has been ruled incompetent to stand trial due to his lack of understanding of the court system. He was remanded to the Timothy B. Moritz Forensic Unit in Columbus to undergo further evaluation, with a re-evaluation hearing set for February.

All four co-defendants originally were charged with robbery, aggravated burglary, murder and complicity to robbery and burglary leading to a death.

The owner of the targeted house, Lola Eden, 54, was sentenced to nine years in prison for trafficking in drugs with a gun specification.