More than 30 search warrants served in West Chester murder investigation

A Liberty Twp. man charged in the death of Ellen “Ellie” Weik, who was found dead in a Millikin Road field in August, is scheduled to be back in court this week where a trial date may be set.

Michael Strouse, of 6054 Bluffs Drive, was indicted in September for aggravated murder, murder, three counts of tampering with evidence, menacing by stalking, petty theft, abuse of a corpse, and gross abuse of a corpse. He is being held on $4 million bond set by Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Howard at arraignment.

Strouse was scheduled to be in court Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing. Since Strouse’s arraignment in September, the prosecution has prepared evidence that includes 600 pages of police reports and more that 30 search warrants, according to prosecutors and court documents.

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Last week Howard granted the prosecution’s motion to release 32 sealed search warrants to the defendant and his defense team.

“The search warrants have been sealed as part of an ongoing investigation, in which an indictment has been returned by the grand jury. In order to ensure defendant received a fair trail, defendant must get copies of these search warrants to prepare his case,” Assistant Butler County Prosecution Brad Burress wrote in the motion.

Burress said it is a large amount of search warrants for one case, but said many relate to media devices and their data. He declined any specifics.

Neither of Strouse’s attorneys, Kyle Rapier and Jeffery Bowling, could be reached for comment.

Earlier this month Rapier filed a motion to withdraw his request for a bill of particulars from the prosecution “at this time,” he told the Journal-News.

The bill of particulars often outlines the details of each crime included in the indictment.

Rapier declined to say why he withdrew his request.

Strouse had been stalking Weik since the beginning of the year, according to the grand jury indictment.

“On or about Jan. 1, 2018 through July 29, 2018 … Michael Strouse did by engaging in a pattern of conduct knowingly cause Ellen Christine Weik to believe the offender will cause physical harm … or cause mental distress,” the indictment states.

MORE: West Chester Twp. woman found dead reported ‘harassing text message’

Strouse is also accused of trespassing on the premises of where Weik “lives, is employed or attends school,” according to the indictment.

Weik filed a police report in February stating she had received a “harassing text message” from an unknown person, according to police. Police have not said if Strouse was a suspect in that incident.

West Chester Police say Strouse, 29, is responsible for the death of Weik at his Liberty Twp. home, located about one-quarter of a mile from the field where her body was found. Strouse was charged with murder on Aug. 25.

Weik, 23, went missing from her West Chester Twp. home on July 29. Her mother reported her missing Aug. 1, according to the West Chester Police missing person’s report.

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