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Published: 7/13/2007

Monroe County prosecutor asks to be taken off Bedford Township crash case

BY BENJAMIN ALEXANDER-BLOCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Charles V. Fackelman of Toledo and his attorney, Asad Farah, leave court after a pretrial hearing that will be rescheduled because the Monroe County prosecutor asked to be recused. Charles V. Fackelman of Toledo and his attorney, Asad Farah, leave court after a pretrial hearing that will be rescheduled because the Monroe County prosecutor asked to be recused.
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Krell Krell
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MONROE - The Monroe County Prosecutor's Office is asking to be recused from prosecuting a Toledoan charged with two felonies for pulling a gun on the man recently convicted of contributing to his 17-year-old son's death.

Charles V. Fackelman yesterday was in Chief District Court Judge Jack Vitale's courtroom for a pretrial conference. Instead of the typical give-and-take between defense and prosecution, the prosecution said it was going to step out of the ring.

Prosecutor William Paul Nichols said Randy Krell and his attorney, William Godfroy, asked the prosecutor's office to recuse itself and that, after reviewing the matter, his office agreed that it was the best course of action.

He said there could appear to be a conflict of interest since his office recently prosecuted Krell and defended the Fackelmans' cause.

"We decided to rescue ourselves because we want the public to respect the decisions of this office and know that they are based on the law and not the perception that one particular side is favored over another," Mr. Nichols said.

Krell, a former Bedford school board member, was convicted by a jury June 28 of negligent homicide for chasing a car full of teenagers on the night of June, 15, 2006, after one of them threw a plastic water bottle at his car.

The chase ended when the driver, Austin Oberle, then 17, went through an intersection and hit a tree, killing Charlie Fackelman, 17, of Toledo and severely injuring Stevie Beale, now 18, of Bedford Township.

Oberle pleaded guilty to felonies resulting from his role in the crash.

Both Krell and Oberle face up to two years in prison, and sentencing has been set for Aug. 16.

In the latest case, Mr. Fackelman is charged with driving to Krell's home in Lambertville on the night of March 28 and pointing a loaded gun at him.

Krell ran into a neighbor's house and shut the door. Mr. Fackelman kicked open the door and searched for Krell, but Krell had slipped out a back door, according to the sheriff's office report.

Mr. Fackelman is charged with home invasion and assault with a dangerous weapon, felonies that carry up to 20 years in prison.

"It appears that based on everything, the prosecutor's office should recuse itself," Chief Assistant Prosecutor Jack Simms said yesterday.

"We've discussed it with everyone involved, and determined it is the best course of action," he said.

Prosecutors typically recuse themselves from cases when their employees or family members are involved in crimes.

Both Mr. Nichols and Mr. Simms said it is less common for an office to recuse itself because it recently has prosecuted a victim in a current case.

Mr. Simms said it typically takes the Michigan Attorney General's Office two to three weeks to approve a request for recusal and to appoint a new prosecutor for the case.

Although uncommon, the attorney general's office also can decide to prosecute the case itself.

Judge Vitale set the next pretrial conference for Aug. 9 and the next preliminary exam for Aug. 21.

Krell and his attorney declined comment.

Contact Benjamin Alexander-Bloch

at: babloch@theblade.com

or 419-724-6168.



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