UHRICHSVILLE — A Trenton Avenue couple was to be released from the Tuscarawas County jail on their own recognizance if they meet conditions set by Judge Brad Hillyer in the Southern District of Tuscarawas County Court.
Hillyer had previously set $1 million bonds for Bo J. Cosens and Rachel D. Sharrock after they were charged with giving sugar cookies laced with a laxative to striking school employees picketing near Claymont Primary School.
But keeping them in jail would require them to be tried within 90 days of their arrest, according to Mark Perlaky, Cosens’ defense attorney. With the pair free, the prosecutor has about nine months to hold their trials.
More time may be needed because the Tuscarawas County Prosecutor’s Office has had difficulty finding a laboratory to test the cookies. It has contacted Ohio State University and Purdue University, assistant county prosecutor Scott Deedrick told the judge on Tuesday.
Deedrick also noted that the strike by non-teaching employees of the Claymont City Schools has ended.
Conditions set by Hillyer for the release of Cosens, 29, and Sharrock, 25, are:
• Submit to monitoring by the Community Corrections Program.
• Wear an electronic device to track their locations.
• Stay away from all Claymont schools.
• Live somewhere other than the house at 237 Trenton Ave., where they were when the alleged offenses occurred near the school at 320 Trenton Ave.
• Refrain from the use of alcohol and drugs that are not prescribed.
• Submit to random drug tests.
• Engage in no criminal conduct.
• Cosens is to work at a legal job.
• Stay within the court’s jurisdiction.
• Not use social media.
• Have no cell phones.
• Observe an 8 p.m. curfew.
• Have no guests in their residence.
Hillyer said the location police searched before arresting Cosens and Sharrock had a "whole bunch of people ... many of them with known drug histories."
Evidence against the defendants includes a Facebook video in which Cosens said he was irritated that people were honking their horns as they passed the workers, members of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees. He also threatened to shoot the strikers. Cosens and Sharrock talk in the video about a plan to send the protesters a batch of contaminated cookies.
Police have said the cookies were delivered to school employees but nobody ate them.
Cosens and Sharrock are charged with contaminating a substance for human consumption, a felony, plus misdemeanors of complicity, disorderly conduct, and permitting drug abuse. Police Sgt. Michael Hickman has said police will seek a felony charge against Cosens for trafficking drugs in a school zone.
Cosens and Sharrock waived their rights to preliminary hearings on the evidence against them in Southern District court. The judge sent their cases to Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court.
If convicted, each is facing a maximum 11 years in prison on the food contamination charge. Any sentence imposed on the misdemeanors would likely be served at the same time as any sentence imposed for the felony, if a conviction occurs, Perlaky said.
Attorney David Hipp is representing Sharrock.