Thursday, July 15, 2004

2 Butler County rape suspects skip court dates



By Janice Morse
Enquirer staff writer

HAMILTON - Some people trusted Brian T. Stepp and George David Grubb enough to post bond so they didn't have to stay in jail awaiting separate, unrelated trials.

But both rape suspects missed their Butler County trial dates this week, triggering repercussions for the men and those who posted their bail. The situations have also caused aggravation for court officials, would-be jurors and witnesses.

"It really doesn't happen all that often, but it does cause us considerable expense and inconvenience when it does," said Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper.

Joe Statzer, Piper's office administrator, said, "Twice in a week? Nobody can remember that ever happening."

Warrants for the arrests of Stepp, 30, of Liberty Township, and Grubb, 44, of Hamilton, have been broadcast nationally. Bond was revoked. And authorities said they are trying to collect $21,600 remaining on Stepp's $24,000 bond - and to foreclose on two homes posted as collateral to cover Grubb's $50,000 bond.

Judge Matthew Crehan in November 2003 considered two property bonds sufficient to cover Grubb's bond. Larry Marcum and Harst W. Horn of Hamilton posted the bonds, court records say, but the records don't reveal the men's connection to Grubb.

Bonnie Stepp of Liberty Township posted 10 percent of a $24,000 bond for Brian Stepp. Records that are available online do not say whether Bonnie Stepp enlisted a bondsman for that service and also do not list her relationship to Brian Stepp. Bonnie Stepp declined comment Wednesday night.

The costs extend to the county, too. Prosecutors paid for witnesses to be flown from out-of-state and housed in a hotel for four days in Grubbs' case. Pipe estimated the loss at about $10,000.

Grubb faces five counts of rape - three involving a girl under the age of 13 - and one count of gross sexual imposition. The alleged incidents occurred from 1997 to 2003.

Stepp is accused of 10 charges: three counts of rape, three counts of kidnapping and three counts of impersonating a peace officer, plus a count of sexual battery. Authorities say the crimes happened late last year.

E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com




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