YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Bond was lowered Wednesday for one of two suspects in the Sept. 20 torture and kidnapping of a woman who was found on the East Side.
Magistrate Meghan Brundege agreed to a request by defense counsel in municipal court to lower the $750,000 bond of Farren McClendon, 41, as he waived a preliminary hearing on charges of kidnapping and three counts of complicity to felonious assault, to $50,000.
The case will now be presented to a Mahoning County grand jury.
McClendon will be on house arrest if he posts his bond but will be allowed to have work release privileges. His attorney, David Betras, had asked for a similar bond last week when his client was arraigned, saying his client has a good job and wants to keep it.
Assistant City Prosecutor James Vivo did not say in court why he agreed to a lower bond; however, last week at the arraignment, he said he believes McClendon is “less culpable” than the co-defendant, Janarvis Roberts, 26.
Roberts was to have a preliminary hearing Monday, but his attorneys continued the hearing until Oct. 25.
The pair are accused of taking a woman from a home on East Judson Avenue, taking her to a remote area of the East Side, beating her and then leaving her. The woman managed to find a home and call for help.
Detectives served two search warrants at South Side homes in the 500 block of Cambridge Avenue and the 100 block of East Judson Avenue as part of their investigation and seized several bags of evidence while also taking two pieces of paneling and a rolled up carpet from the trash.
Roberts was taken into custody at the Cambridge Avenue home and arrested after he was questioned by detectives.
As part of his bond, McClendon was ordered to have no contact with the victim. Betras said that would not be a problem, saying, “as long as she doesn’t break into his [McClendon’s] anymore I agree with that.”
That prompted the lead investigator on the case, Detective Sgt. Jessica Shields, to say, “there’s no proof to that.”
Betras again repeated that the victim broke into McClendon’s home before the subject was dropped.