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Man accused in child-porn case pleads not guilty

A Clinton man accused of 41 counts of child pornography pleaded not guilty in Van Buren County Circuit Court on Monday.

Nicholas Derose, 42, has been charged with distribution/possessing/viewing matter depicting child sex. At Derose’s wife’s request, Judge Michael Maggio relaxed a no-contact order allowing his wife to initiate phone calls and visits with her husband.

Derose’s $250,000 bond was not changed and he currently remains at the Van Buren County Detention Center. Derose’s next court date was scheduled for April 21.

Also in court Monday:

• Robert Delay, 36, charged with third-degree battery and criminal mischief-second degree, asked for a trial in his case. A trial date was set for April 24.

• Fredrick W. Wieczorek Jr. pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender. He was sentenced to time served and three years probation. Wieczorek has been in the county jail since August 2013.

Asked if he understood the terms of probation, which Maggio calls the “keys to the jailhouse,” Wieczorek told his attorney Ralph Blagg, “You could explain them again.”

• Daniel Shae McCarver, 34, pleaded guilty to theft by receiving and was sentenced to 12 months in the county jail and another 12 months suspended. McCarver already has served 209 days. He told the court that he had taken a Kawasaki Mule.

• Melanie Gates, charged along with her ex-husband Jason Gates with theft of property, asked that her case be passed until late summer. A continuance was granted until Aug. 11 in both the cases. The two are accused of using funds that belonged to the Highway 110 Volunteer Fire Department.

• Crystal Bigelow was denied a reduction in bond and a request to have supervised visits with her child. Bigelow has been charged with kidnapping, terroristic threatening, endangering the welfare of a minor, criminal mischief and possession of a firearm by certain persons. Her bond has been set at $125,000. Blagg asked that bond be set at $35,000. Deputy Prosecutor Chad Brown said he was uncomfortable with that because Bigelow faces a lengthy prison sentence if convicted. Maggio left the bond intact and ordered Bigelow back in court on March 3 when results of a psychiatric examination should be available.

• Kevin Barnett pleaded guilty to domestic battery-third degree and aggravated cruelty to an animal, both D felonies. He was sentenced to 60 months of probation.

After a false start earlier in the session, Anthony Glenn Smith Jr. pleaded no contest to felony possession of firearms. When Smith first took the stand, he refused to say there was a firearm in the house where he lived that he could get to. He said he lived in his mother’s five-bedroom house downstairs and was in a wheelchair. Maggio couldn’t accept the no-contest plea and was about to set a trial date when Blagg, Smith’s attorney, asked that they come back to the case after he talked with his client.

In the afternoon session, Blagg explained there was a difference in owning a firearm and in possessing one and Smith entered the no-contest plea. He received a 36-month suspended sentence.

Among the cases that were continued until April 21 were:

• Timothy Lee Deason, 37, charged with sexual assault-second degree.

• Ricky St. John, charged with battery-second degree, battery-third degree, aggravated assault on a corrections/law enforcement officer, furnishing prohibited articles, and public intoxication. St. John said he is trying to hire an attorney.

• Marc Alan Jones, charged with leaving the scene of an accident, assault-second degree, criminal mischief and criminal trespass. Jones said he wants to hire a private attorney.

• Brian David Hardaway, charged with theft of property, and breaking or entering. He entered a not guilty plea and is being held without bond.

• Randall E. Passmore, charged with tampering with physical evidence and possession of firearms by certain persons. He entered a not guilty plea and remained free on a $7,500 bond.

• Eric Riggin, charged with theft of property, theft by receiving, residential burglary and forgery.

Several defendants sent word to the court that they could not make it to town Monday because of road conditions. Their cases were rescheduled for April 21.

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