ELYRIA — Drew Manns unsuccessfully argued Monday that he should remain free while he awaits trial on aggravated arson charges for allegedly starting a February 2009 fire that caused more than $8.4 million in damage to Lorain County Community College.
Manns’ mother, Wanda Campolo, called prosecutors last week and said she believed her son had fled the area even though he was free on bond.
“I wasn’t going to flee. I wasn’t going to run. I had $7,000 when they located me at Sunset Motel here in Lorain County. Now if somebody was going to run and never ever come back, he’s got $7,000 to go to any state he wants to,” Manns told Lorain County Magistrate Kim Meyers, who revoked Manns’ bond.
“ … Yeah, I may have some emotional problems. I may have some psychological issues, but that doesn’t qualify me to be locked up.”
Manns, 29, appeared in court dressed in a suicide-prevention gown from the Lorain County Jail.
Assistant County Prosecutor Laura Dezort argued that Manns was not only a danger to himself but also to the community.
She said prosecutors sought to revoke Manns’ $50,000 bond in the arson case after Campolo called her last week and said she had taken some pills away from him and he had fled her house. Campolo told Dezort that her son was distraught over the death of his own child earlier this year.
Campolo, who sent a letter to the court requesting to be removed as the signatory on her son’s bond, also reported that Manns had stolen $7,700 from her bank account. Dezort said that Manns recruited a woman to call up the bank and pose as Campolo so the money would be released to Manns, an allegation he denied in court Monday.
Manns, who suffered brain damage in the womb because his mother took the anti-acne drug Accutane while she was pregnant, acknowledged that Campolo is his legal guardian and all of his money has to go through her, but he said he didn’t do anything illegal.
“I didn’t impersonate nobody. I didn’t take nobody up there,” Manns said. “I called, I made the request, they put it on the card and that was it and the next thing I know my mom is charging me.”
Dezort said unconfirmed reports put Manns at an Oberlin bar Friday night wearing new clothes and flashing money around. Manns also told one drinking companion that he was in town from California for his brother’s wedding. Manns didn’t deny lying about his identity during what he described as a casual conversation at the bar. “He said, ‘Where you from?’ ” Manns said. “I didn’t want to say, ‘Oh, I’m from Ohio, my real name.’ ”
Manns was arrested Saturday at the Sunset Motel in New Russia Township on a theft charge in connection with the bank withdrawal after law enforcement received a tip about his location apparently based on him being spotted in Oberlin on Friday.
County sheriff’s Sgt. Josh Croston said Manns was arrested without incident after he left his hotel room to smoke a cigarette. Croston also said a preliminary report indicated that deputies seized $310 as well as suspected marijuana and heroin, which are being sent for testing.
County Prosecutor Dennis Will has said that Manns, who has a criminal record including convictions for escaping from the Lorain/Medina Community Based Correctional Facility and illegally trying to purchase a handgun, also is under investigation for his suspected involvement in the illegal processing of drug documents to obtain prescription drugs.