The defense attorney for a Galion man accused of killing his father filed a motion Monday morning to dismiss kidnapping and murder charges against him.

The motion on behalf of Frederick Lee Saunders, Jr. was filed by defense attorney Adam Stone in Crawford County Common Pleas Court.

According to a press release issued by Stone Monday afternoon, the motion provides that the prosecution’s authorization for the destruction of the alleged victim’s body, prior to examination by a defense expert and after it had notice that cause of death was an issue in the case violates due process and Saunders’ right to fair trial and defense.

Saunders and his wife are charged with kidnapping and conspiring to kill his father, Frederick Saunders, Sr.

According to Stone, Galion Community Hospital ruled the death a massive heart attack at the time of the death.

“Several days later, the Lucas County Coroner’s Office ruled the death a homicide,” he said in the press release. “Despite the differing medical opinions and without affording the defense the opportunity to independently examine the body, the prosecution released Mr. Saunders’ remains for cremation, destroying the evidence for all time.”

According to the release, Stone’s motion cites state and federal constitutional provisions, the Ohio Revised Code and case law which support the presumption that state had a duty to preserve the alleged victim’s remains for independent analysis – especially when it was on notice of the differing medical opinions as to cause of death; and that the state’s failure to preserve this evidence permanently and forever deprives his and his client’s wife’s right to a fair trial.

Stone’s motion will be set for hearing prior to the jury trial scheduled in the case for July. He added that a separate motion will be filed for his wife, who faces a separate trial.

By Chris Pugh

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