WILMINGTON - Vincent Doan will remain behind bars until his capital murder trial in July, when a jury will decide whether he's guilty of killing ex-girlfriend Carrie Culberson.
During a hearing Friday in Clinton County Common Pleas Court, Judge William McCracken denied bond for Mr. Doan, whose trial is set for July 14.
The 24-year-old Blanchester man had been set to go on trial Monday on kidnapping charges in connection with Ms. Culberson's August, 1996, disappearance. On Wednesday, a Clinton County grand jury handed up a murder indictment that included two counts: aggravated murder and aggravated murder in the commission of a felony (kidnapping), making him eligible for the death penalty - and four counts of kidnapping.
Mr. Doan pleaded not guilty to all the charges on Friday.
Before the judge denied bond, opposed by prosecutors, the exchange between the prosecuting and defense attorneys became heated. Mr. Doan's attorney, John Rion, insisted that these latest charges had no merit, and that they are simply part of a delay tactic.
"I seriously question the . . . sincerity of the allegations they (prosecutors) bring to court," he said.
He criticized investigators, saying they have not looked into the 30-plus sightings of either people who resemble Ms. Culberson or her 1989 red Honda CRX since she was reported missing Aug. 29. Clinton County Prosecutor Bill Peelle called Mr. Rion's statements "rhetoric" and said his case was solid.
According to court documents, Ms. Culberson may have been killed on Aug. 29 to keep her from testifying in an assault case she filed against Mr. Doan.
Ms. Culberson filed the misdemeanor assault charges in July, 1996 - a month before prosecutors allege she was kidnapped and killed.
After the 10-minute hearing, Mr. Doan, dressed in orange jail garb, was led out of the courthouse in shackles.
"I think they're not concerned in listening to my side of the case," Mr. Doan said, denying involvement in her disappearance and slaying.
Mr. Doan also said he knew nothing about threats that might have been made to witnesses in this case, as Prosecutor Peelle alleged during the court hearing. In fact, Mr. Doan said he has received death threats.
Asked about a witness' account of him punching Ms. Culberson in the face while arguing near his home the morning of her slaying, he said: "I have no comment."
As Mr. Doan was taken back to jail, the Doan and Culberson factions clustered outside the courtroom, taking questions from the media. While Carrie's mother, Debbie Culberson, praised the prosecution and investigators for their work, Mr. Doan's mother cried as she proclaimed her son's innocence.
"It's just hard, and I'll stand by my son no matter what," Priscilla Doan said.