July 25, 2014

Elyria
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test

Daniel Petric seeks father’s ministry

ELYRIA — The son of a Wellington pastor who allegedly shot and killed his mother and wounded his father has asked that his father be allowed to visit him — as his minister.

If Daniel Petric’s motion is granted by county Common Pleas Judge James Burge, it will allow the teen to have private conversations with the Rev. Mark Petric without prosecutors being able to make the elder Petric testify about what his son said.

BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE
Daniel Petric listens as his attorney, James Kersey, talks during his hearing Friday in Judge James Burge’s courtroom in County Common Pleas Court.

Mark Petric is a pastor at New Life Assembly of God.

“There’s a privilege between clergy and someone who’s their parishioner,” county Prosecutor Dennis Will said, adding that his office will oppose the request.

Daniel’s attorney, James Kersey, also asked Burge to allow Daniel to have a “contact visit” with family members, who have said they have forgiven Daniel for the Oct. 20 shootings. Visitors to the county jail typically talk with inmates over a video phone system; even attorneys rarely have contact with their clients, meeting with them in special rooms partitioned by thick glass.

Daniel’s family members have visited him several times since the shooting, Kersey told Burge during a brief hearing Friday.

In his motion asking for the visits, Kersey said Daniel is incarcerated with violent repeat offenders who could have a negative impact on the 16-year-old, who is being tried as an adult. Kersey also said the other inmates could “prey” on juvenile inmates such as Daniel, although he hasn’t had any problems yet.

“He seems to be getting along well there,” Kersey said at the hearing.

Will said the jail does its best to keep juvenile inmates separate, or at least protected, from older and dangerous prisoners.

Daniel’s family — including Mark Petric, who still bears the scars from the surgery to save his life after he was shot — declined comment as they left the county Justice Center after the hearing.

Mark Petric spent about a month in the hospital after the shooting, which took place shortly before his daughter and son-in-law arrived at the family’s Brighton Township home to watch a baseball game. The couple forced their way inside and found Susan Petric dead and Mark Petric wounded.

Daniel fled the scene, but was arrested a short time later by Wellington police. He reportedly has confessed to shooting his parents.

Kersey also asked Burge to reduce Daniel’s $1 million bond.

“We’re just asking for a reasonable bond,” he said.

Will said his office will oppose that request, too, and acknowledged that the family is in a tough spot having to balance caring for Daniel and that they are victims in the case.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.