Cozart competent to stand trial in murder case

Sarah Hawley

October 30, 2013

POMEROY — The Meigs County man charged in the homicide death at the Meigs Motel earlier this year has been found competent to stand trial.

During a recent motions hearing in Meigs County Common Pleas Court, Ryan A. Cozart, 33, of Racine, was determined competent to stand trial by Judge I. Carson Crow.

The parties stipulated to the competency evaluation by Dr. Daniel Davis. Prosecutor Colleen Williams made the motion to find Cozart competent to stand trial, something defense attorney Dennis Sipes agreed with. The court then found Cozart competent to stand trial.

Cozart is charged with aggravated murder, tampering with evidence and aggravated robbery in the May 9 death of Wallace R. Chafin at the Meigs Motel.

Aggravated murder is a special felony and carries a sentence ranging from 15 years to life. Tampering with evidence is a felony of the third degree, and aggravated robbery is a felony of the first degree. A third-degree felony carries a possible sentence of 3-5 years, while a first-degree felony carries a possible sentence of 11 years.

Cozart’s attorney Dennis Sipe had filed documents in late June suggesting that Cozart was incompetent to stand trial and entering a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Bond for Cozart was set at $1 million as requested by Meigs County Prosecutor Colleen Williams in May. Cozart is currently in the custody of the Meigs County Sheriff awaiting trial.

The charges against Cozart are in connection with the stabbing death of Chafin at the Meigs Motel on May 9.

According to Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood, officials with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, and the Meigs County Coroner responded to the Meigs Motel soon after midnight on Thursday, May 9. Upon responding, officers found evidence of an altercation and a homicide.

A pre-trial settlement conference and hearing on probation violations is scheduled for Nov. 7 in the case. A final pre-trial is set for Jan. 14 and a jury trial for Jan. 30.