YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — If Ronald Paris wants to write any more letters, a judge told him Thursday to keep them to himself.
Judge Anthony D’Apolito told the 28-year-old Paris during a hearing in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that any more letters threatening him, defense counsel or prosecutors will not be tolerated.
“I don’t take kindly to you threatening people in this case,” Judge D’Apolito told Paris, who was appearing via video from the county jail. “It’s uncalled for, and it may be criminal. I’ll leave it to other folks to determine that.”
Paris, of Roy Street, was to go on trial Monday on a first-degree felony charge of rape for which he was indicted in November of 2019.
However, Judge D’Apolito continued the trial because of the rise of coronavirus cases. The judge said he did not want to expose anyone needlessly to the virus.
That did not sit well with Paris, who fired off a letter to the judge, asking for a new court-appointed lawyer, saying that he wanted to break the jaw of defense counsel James Wise. Paris continued and told the judge, “If you don’t get him off my case, I will have you shot and killed.”
Judge D’Apolito said an assistant prosecutor on the case had been threatened as well, but it is not clear when that threat was made.
Wise said his client apologized to him and he will stay on the case. Paris has already changed lawyers once, which delayed his case from being heard sooner. Wise said his client does have some mental health issues and has trouble expressing his anger.
Paris also apologized, although Judge D’Apolito said he was not interested in an apology. The judge said he was not worried about himself as much because there is always security at the courthouse, but more about the other people Paris has threatened.
Judge D’Apolito told Paris his case will be the first one he tries when he starts up jury trials again, and he set a trial date in the first week of March when the judge said he expects the virus to be hopefully on a downward trend.
As for anger issues, Judge D’Apolito told Paris the next time he feels like writing a letter to go ahead and write it out but wait a day before he decides to send it.
“Don’t send a letter like this to me, or your counsel, or the prosecutor or anyone else again,” Judge D’Apolito said.