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Published: Thursday, 3/20/2008

Accused torturer asks to withdraw plea; victim fails to appear

BLADE STAFF

One of three people found guilty last month of abducting a man and torturing him for two days asked in Lucas County Common Pleas Court Thursday morning to withdraw his plea.

Robert Lawhorn, 30, of 2158 Mellwood Court pleaded no contest Feb. 4 to felonious assault for the torture of Anthony Pierson. The same day, his girlfriend Jada Farthing, 29, of 225 Carlton St., and Kennie Brown, 18, of 808 Tecumseh St., also entered pleas for their roles in the kidnapping, torture, and subsequent attempts to thwart the case from going to trial.

Assistant County Prosecutor Jim Vail said he would object to the motion to withdraw the plea, noting that the victim was not able to be found. He added that Lawhorn had a past of pushing the case forward when Pierson was unavailable and asking for continuances when the victim was able to testify.

Judge Charles Doneghy gave Mr. Vail until April 4 to file a written objection to the motion to withdraw. He added that his understanding of the plea is that if was a package deal and that each of the defendants would either accept or decline the offer.

Lawhorn and Farthing are charged for their roles in abducting Pierson on May 30, duct-taping him to a pole in Farthing s South Toledo basement, and torturing him for two days after the man lost Lawhorn s dog. Brown was not accused in the initial case but instead for trying to bribe Pierson after the fact to keep the victim from testifying.

After the hearing, Pierson s older sister, Phyllis Jackson, tearfully expressed concern for her brother s safety saying that she had not seen or spoken to him in several days. She added that she believed that Lawhorn knows the whereabouts of her brother.

Judge Doneghy continued the $100,000 bond that Farthing and Lawhorn each posted and set an April 9 hearing date.



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