Miami County murder trial for man accused of killing wife continued

A Miami County judge has continued the trial of a Union Twp. man charged with murder in the January shooting of his wife to allow more time for forensic and competency evaluations.

The trial for Randy Freels, 57, in the death of his wife, Samantha Freels, 52, was scheduled to begin April 17 in Miami County Common Pleas Court. Defense lawyer Jack Hemm filed a motion March 28 to continue the trial, citing Pratt's earlier order for evaluation of Freels by the Forensic Psychiatric Center for Western Ohio in Dayton.

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The new trial date was set last week by Judge Jeannine Pratt to begin June 12 and last four days.

Samantha Freels' body was found in her car, which had gone off Ohio 55 near West Milton during an afternoon snow storm Jan. 12. Investigators initially thought the death could be from a weather-related accident until a fresh bullet hole was found in the car.

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Randy Freels was transferred March 17 to a behavioral health center in Columbus for treatment and stabilization at the request of county prosecutors and the sheriff's department. Prosecutors said Freels' condition and security risk was beyond what could be managed in the jail.

Once Freels is stabilized, he will be returned to the jail, according to the transfer order signed by Judge William McGregor Dixon Jr. of the Common Pleas Court Juvenile and Probate Division.

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