Friday, December 01, 2000

Priest stabbing case still on hold

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Butler County Prosecutor Dan Gattermeyer said Thursday he doesn't plan to pre- sent the controversial case of Marcus Finefrock, who is accused of stabbing the Rev. Charles Mentrup, to the grand jury.

        But Mr. Gattermeyer, who will leave office at the end of the year, said that doesn't mean the case is closed.

        “At some point, someone may make a decision to present it to the grand jury,” he said.

        Robin Piper, who defeated Mr. Gattermeyer in the Nov. 7 election, will take over the prosecutor's office Jan. 1.

        A hearing on a defense motion had been scheduled Thursday before Common Pleas Judge Keith Spaeth but was postponed indefinitely when Mr. Finefrock's attorney, Clyde Bennett II, withdrew the motion Thursday morning.

        The hearing would have concerned a motion to exclude statements Father Mentrup made to police and others about the incident.

        Father Mentrup, Fenwick High School principal, has refused to testify in the case because he was hearing Mr. Finefrock's confession at the time of the stabbing. Mr. Finefrock is a former student of Father Mentrup's.

        Mr. Bennett has argued that statements made to a priest during confession are privileged and should not be admitted as evidence.

        Father Mentrup was stabbed in the abdomen at 1:30 a.m. May 5 at his Middletown home.

        Mr. Finefrock, a 25-year-old law school graduate, was charged with felonious assault.

        The charge was dropped in June. Authorities said the case required more investigation. Then-Prosecutor John F. Holcomb, who died in July, said charges might be refiled. But none have been.


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