Thursday, May 23, 2002

Judge agrees to seal record of Wehrung

Murder charge expunged

By Marie McCain,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Michael Wehrung won another victory Wednesday when a judge cleared his record of a murder charge.

        The Springfield Township man, 54, was acquitted in December of a second-degree charge. He had been accused in the 1963 killing of his then-girlfriend, Patricia Ann Rebholz.

        Both Mr. Wehrung and Patricia were 15 at the time of her death.

        Attorneys for Mr. Wehrung asked Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker to seal any court records of the case. Such expungements are typically granted to defendants who are exonerated.

        Mr. Wehrung's attorneys told the judge that an expungement would make it easier for him to obtain passports or credit-related documents. It also would protect his privacy and give added meaning to the verdict, they said.

        In a sworn statement, Mr. Wehrung said an expungement would be good for “my own piece of mind after 39 years of litigation tension.”

        Attorney James Perry cited two cases in which defendants found innocent of murder charges later were granted expungements.

        “This case is 39 years old and it's time to end it,” he said.

        Prosecutors did not fight the request.

        “It's an old case. The jury has spoken. The law allows it,” Judge Dinkelacker said. “I believe it is proper.”


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