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Warrants issued for court no-shows in Harrison County

CADIZ — On a day when the Harrison County Common Pleas courtroom was scheduled to be filled with defendants Tuesday, including some notable cases, several warrants were issued for failure to appear.

One plea agreement was addressed, and many cases were rescheduled.

One notable case that was rescheduled involves Jessica Currence, 27; Kristopher Merkins, 32; and Angela Parcell, 51, all of Cadiz. The three are charged in connection with the June 2021 death of 8-year-old Paityn Merkins, who was the daughter of Kristopher Merkins.

Parcell is charged with second-degree felony endangering children and second-degree misdemeanor failure to report a crime.

Currence and Merkins each face 10 counts. Charges for both include first-, second- and third-degree felonies. Among the charges are manslaughter, permitting child abuse, reckless homicide and felonious assault. Currence is also charged with tampering with evidence. Their next hearing was rescheduled for noon Feb. 8.

Four defendants in unrelated cases – Amber Roberts, charged with possession of drugs; Keith Ruckman, charged with aggravated trafficking in drugs; Heather Blanchard, charged with failure to comply, two counts of OVI and resisting arrest; and Merrick Swint, charged with breaking and entering – all had warrants issued for their arrest after they failed to appear for their hearings. Sharon Dulkoski tested positive for illegal drug use prior to her court appearance and was placed under arrest. She is facing a drug possession charge including fentanyl.

Floyd Burge, 45, of Scio previously had been offered a plea deal to serve 30 months under the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. Charged with third-degree felony aggravated possession of drugs, he turned down the offer Tuesday, according to Judge T. Shawn Hervey. When reminded of the proceedings early last month and asked again if he stood by the plea rejection, Burge said he did but countered with an offer to serve 15 or 18 months. His attorney, Public Defender C. Adrian Pincola, told his client to hold off on talking and agreed with Hervey that he felt there might be room for more negotiations.

Burge is scheduled to reappear next week and told the court he needed help and not prison time. His trial date is scheduled for Feb. 22.

Maria Flickinger, 31, of New Philadelphia, Ohio, reached a plea agreement through her attorney, Dan Guinn. The agreement was for two years of community-based controls and completion of the program at Eastern Ohio Corrections Center. She was charged with aggravated possession of drugs, a fifth-degree felony that includes possession of fentanyl.

Harrison County Prosecutor Lauren Knight also required a 10-month prison sentence held in reserve as part of the plea agreement. Flickinger’s community controls are to last two years on top of 80 hours of community service. Hervey said her sentence is to run concurrent with two other sentences she received from Tuscarawas and Carroll counties.

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