LIMA — A Lima man acting as his own attorney will get the opportunity in just over two weeks to try out his litigation skills in front of a jury.
John Sanders appeared briefly in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Monday and rejected for the second time an offer from prosecutors that would make one of two felony counts against him go away. Instead, Sanders told Judge Jeffrey Reed he is preparing for his jury trial that is scheduled to begin July 6.
Sanders, 48, was indicted in December 2019 on a first-degree charge of kidnapping and a second-degree felony count of felonious assault. Each count includes three-year specifications for the use of a firearm.
Police and prosecutors allege Sanders placed a semi-automatic handgun in the mouth of his live-in girlfriend in September 2019 at a South Collett Street residence and later fired shots at her through a closed door. Investigators reportedly found two spent 9mm shell casings and two bullet holes in the front door, supporting the victim’s allegations and prompting Sanders’ arrest.
Sanders appeared in court in May and dismissed his attorney, saying he would represent himself going forward. During a pretrial hearing last month, prosecutors placed a formal offer on the record that called for Sanders to plead guilty to the felonious assault charge in exchange for the state’s reduction of the attached firearm specification to a one-year sentence. The remaining count of kidnapping would be dismissed upon Sanders’ plea.
Sanders rejected that offer last month and did so again on Monday. The offer was at that point pulled off the table by prosecutors.