Bethel Twp. man’s trial continued

Defense requested more time to review statements

By Melanie Yingst -

MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeannine Pratt granted a motion requested a continuance of a jury trial for Gary Grubb on Monday.

Grubb, 51, entered a not guilty plea on an indictment charging him with one count of first-degree felony rape and three counts of gross sexual imposition, a third-degree felony. The charges allegedly involved a minor under the age of 13 and occurred in 2011 at Grubb’s home in Bethel Township. Grubb’s trial was set to begin July 12.

Defense attorney Steve Lehman requested the continuance to review medical records and statements made to medical officials after the minor victim in the case was admitted to three separate hospitals. Lehman requested more time to review the statements. Judge Pratt set the date for a review of the evidence for Aug. 4 and a new date for the two-day jury trial to begin on Aug. 25.

Grubb remains in the Miami County Jail with a $450,000 bond on all charges.

In other court news:

Trial date for alleged rapist set for Aug. 2

The four-day jury trial for Benjie Van Winkle, 42, of Troy, is still set to begin on Aug. 2 during a final pre-trial hearing on Monday in Judge Pratt’s courtroom. Van Winkle entered a plea of not guilty on a grand jury indictment of 13 counts of first-degree felony rape charges for allegedly violating two female victims under the age of 12 since March 2015.

According to assistant prosecuting attorney Paul Watkins, the state and defense are still exploring resolution options regarding Van Winkle’s charges.

Seven counts were for the alleged rape of a child under the age of 13 and six counts for a child under the age of 10. He was originally charged with 27 counts in Miami County Municipal Court.

Van Winkle’s bond was continued at $750,000.

According to law enforcement officials, the alleged sexual assaults occurred outside of Fletcher in Brown Township, in Troy, and as well as in Champaign County. According to reports, Van Winkle confessed to the allegations during the initial interview with authorities.

Franklin woman pleads not guilty by reason of insanity for police chase

The Franklin woman who led Troy police on a chase in a field outside of the city limits last April entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity during an arraignment hearing Monday.

Lovena Harp, 45, entered the plea to one count of third-degree felony failure to comply, fourth-degree felony assault on a police officer and misdemeanor criminal damaging.

On April 3, Harp allegedly attempted to run down officers with her SUV. She left the roadway near Piqua-Troy Road and was reportedly doing doughnuts in a field. As officers approached, she made multiple attempts to ram Troy police cruisers.

She then re-entered Piqua-Troy Road and proceeded northbound. Miami County deputies deployed stop sticks in an attempt to deflate her tires. She drove around the devices and again attempted to run down officers.

Harp stopped her vehicle at the intersection of Piqua-Troy and Eldean roads, where officers attempted to approach her vehicle. She then took off again, north on Piqua-Troy with officers in pursuit.

She again stopped her vehicle in the 4000 block of Piqua-Troy Road, where officers approached her vehicle and after multiple commands to exit the vehicle and unlock her doors, officers broke out the windows to reach Harp.

A Miami County Sheriff’s Deputy suffered minor injuries during the attempt to enter the vehicle and when Harp allegedly bit him.

Harp’s own recognizance bond was continued. A pre-trial conference was set for July 21.

Defense requested more time to review statements

By Melanie Yingst

Reach Melanie Yingst at

Reach Melanie Yingst at