Miami County husband accused in wife’s death drops bid for property

A Miami County man dropped his request for return of property seized by investigators so he could hire a private lawyer to represent him in a case accusing him of his wife’s Jan. 12 murder.

Randy Freels, 57, of Union Twp., said he needed the proceeds from the property to pay for his defense. He has been represented by county public defenders since his arrest in the death of Samantha Freels, 52. She died of a single gunshot wound.

Public defender Steve King told Judge Jeannine Pratt on Tuesday that Freels thought more property was taken than listed on a search warrant inventory. He decided to drop the request when he learned what was seized. Pratt approved withdrawing the request.

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The case will proceed with public defenders representing Freels, King said. A jury trial was set last week for April 17 in county Common Pleas Court.

Samantha Freels’ body was found in her car, which had gone off Ohio 55 near West Milton during an afternoon snow storm. Investigators initially thought the death could be from a weather-related accident until a fresh bullet hole was found in the car.

Freels has pleaded not guilty to grand jury indictments for tampering with evidence, improper discharge of a firearm, murder and felonious assault. He also faces three firearms specifications.

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Sheriff Dave Duchak said after the arrest that investigators seized a number of weapons during search of the Freels’ property on South Rangeline Road. A search warrant and inventory outlining what was taken was sealed by court order.

Freels is being held in lieu of $1.5 million bail.

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