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Thomas

JEFFERSON — More details of Sunday’s murder-suicide came to the surface Wednesday, including that Wesley Thomas removed his GPS anklet before going to the New Lyme Wildlife Area.

Thomas, 34, and a 31-year-old woman, both of Orwell, were found lying on the ground next to the woman’s minivan and a firearm Sunday at the New Lyme Wildlife Area, according to the Ashtabula County Coroner’s Investigator, Keith Stewart.

“The ankle bracelet was cut off and thrown in a yard behind Mr. Hero in Orwell,” Stewart said. “Someone turned it over to the Orwell Police Department.”

Stewart previously thought the GPS device was cut off his ankle at the scene, he said.

The investigating agency, the Ohio State Highway Patrol, suspects it was a murder-suicide but will not release any additional information at this time because the case is under investigation, OHP Sgt. Ray Santiago said via email on Wednesday.

In June, Thomas was indicted on four counts of first-degree felony rape, court records show. At his arraignment, a magistrate set bond at $75,000 cash surety 10 percent.

Shortly thereafter, the child and sibling were removed from the home by Ashtabula County Children ervices.

The female shooting victim was a relative of the alleged rape victim and her name is being withheld to protect the victim, who was 7 years old at the time of the alleged crime, according to prosecutors.

On June 30, Thomas’ attorney asked the court to modify the bond, and the request was refused, court records show.

The court set a jury trial for Aug. 23 in Common Pleas Judge Thomas Harris’ courtroom, according to court records.

“I was fully prepared to try the case Aug. 23,” Harris said Wednesday.

On Aug. 18, prosecutors requested a continuance because they were not ready to go to trial, court records show.

That same day, prosecutors and a defense attorney agreed that Thomas was a low risk re-offender because the child had been removed from the home, County Prosecutor Colleen O’Toole said.

Together, they requested Thomas be released on a $75,000 personal recognizance bond, with 24/7 GPS monitoring and orders to have no contact with the alleged victim or her immediate family. Harris added that Thomas remain housebound at his sister’s apartment in Orwell.

After the GPS was placed on his ankle, Thomas was released from jail on Aug. 19.

Ashtabula County Adult Probation oversees it’s own GPS tracking, but would not talk about whether they were alerted to the removal and/or location of the GPS monitor.

Harris said no one is going to comment until OHP is finished with its investigation.

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