Grubba ruled competent to stand trial

Trial date set in home invasion case

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Thomas Grubba is competent to stand trial, and his trial date was set for April 24 on Monday.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Two co-defendants in a deadly home invasion attempt in Bellaire appeared Monday before Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato.

Thomas Grubba, accused of attempting to invade a home for the purpose of stealing drugs resulting in the death of a participant, has been evaluated and determined to be competent to stand trial. His trial date was set for April 24 with a plea agreement deadline April 9. Grubba previously had been been ruled incompetent to stand trial due to his lack of understanding of the court system and was remanded to the Timothy B. Moritz Forensic Unit in Columbus to be restored to competency.

The charges stem from an incident last summer in Bellaire, where Joshua Gorayeb, 34, of Wheeling allegedly conspired with four others to invade a home at 4157 Noble St. for the purpose of stealing drugs. The occupants of the home were armed and, according to law enforcement, Gorayeb was shot and died at the scene. Grubba, 34, of Wheeling, was wounded but has recovered.

Grubba is the only co-defendant yet to be tried. All co-defendants originally were charged with robbery, aggravated burglary and complicity to robbery and burglary leading to a death.

According to police, since the alleged crime led to a death, all co-defendants were subject to a charge of murder.

Another co-defendant, Diane Kuri, 28, of Wheeling, also was back in court Monday. She had been released in November due to her cooperation with law enforcement after her conviction for conspiracy to commit burglary, with three years of community controls imposed. On Monday, she admitted to probation violations including failure to report to her parole officer. Fregiato set her sentencing date for Feb. 26 and expressed displeasure at her treatment of a second chance.

“Ms. Kuri, you’ve done a lousy job taking advantage of the major break you received, you understand that? Let me be blunt about that,” Fregiato said. “You’ve done a lousy job. A gift was laid in your lap, which you spit upon. That’s how I view it.”

Kuri faces a sentence of one year in prison.

Among the other defendants connected to the case:

∫ Michael Scott Posey, 33, of Bellaire, whose role was described as the driver, got a sentence of five years but recently was back in court and pleaded guilty to vandalizing government property by damaging bathroom equipment while he was held in jail. He will be sentenced for that crime on Feb. 20.

∫ James McMasters, 46, of Bellaire was sentenced to the maximum of 11 years for involuntary manslaughter. Law enforcement described him as the ring leader of the plan and a former resident of the target home.

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