Lebanon police detective accused of threatening to kill his wife pleads not guilty

Long-time Lebanon Police Officer John Wetzel is facing criminal charges in Warren County.
Long-time Lebanon Police Officer John Wetzel is facing criminal charges in Warren County.

Longtime Lebanon Police Detective John Wetzel pleaded not guilty in Warren County to charges of domestic violence, aggravated menacing and using a firearm while intoxicated, according to court records.

Wetzel, 41, was arrested on Aug. 11 after Clearcreek Twp. and Springboro police responded to a 911 call at 9:29 p.m. from his wife at their home.

His wife accused him of threatening to kill her and her boyfriend after she returned home from a weekend trip. Wetzel admitted to the wife’s accusations, according to the police report.

“He admitted to drinking most of the day and again he advised he was just mad and would not actually kill his wife or her boyfriend,” according to the report.

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Wetzel is to undergo in-patient treatment, while awaiting trial, according to an on-line court filing in the case. The entry indicates a monitor of his location and alcohol use is to be replaced when he comes out of treatment.

The type of treatment was not indicated. Court officials declined to elaborate since treatment is a medical issue.

Wetzel not-guilty plea was entered by attorney John Smith. He could not be reached.

Wetzel is scheduled to return Sept. 9 to Warren County Court to face the misdemeanor charges.

No one was injured during the incident. Police seized a shotgun Wetzel pulled from a dresser drawer, according to the report.

“At that point, Mr. Wetzel opened his top dresser drawer, pulled out a shotgun and racked a round into the chamber. Mrs. Wetzel stated that she has ‘never been so afraid in her life’ and she dialed 911,” according to the report.

Wetzel was booked into the county jail, but released Aug. 12 on a “signature bond.”

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A temporary protection order remains in effect. The Warren County Prosecutor’s Office declined to suggest a bond, indicating it would be seeking a special prosecutor.

Mason City Prosecutor Bethany Bennett is handling the prosecution. She was unsure about the treatment entry and declined further comment.

Lebanon Police Chief Jeff Mitchell said Wetzel, recognized as Officer of the Year in 2016 by the local Rotary Club, has been placed on administrative leave and relieved of his duties while the case is pending.