Plain City man accused of repeatedly raping boy held on $1 million bond

By Andrea Chaffin -

A Plain City man accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting a boy over seven years is being held on a rare $1 million bond.

Gary Zornes, 52, of 230 North Ave. Apt. B, was arraigned Thursday in Madison County Common Pleas Court. He’s facing 34 charges related to the alleged sexual assault of the child, which began when the boy was 11 years old.

The alleged assault took place from 2008 to 2015, according to an investigation by the Madison County Sheriff’s Office. Zornes knew the boy.

If convicted, he could face life in prison.

Due to the sensitivity of the case, the court modified its protocols. The front two rows of seats were roped off, creating a bigger barrier between the crowd of citizens in attendance and the defendant. Zornes also attended the hearing from his seat in the jury box, rather than walking to the defendant’s table.

Judge Eamon Costello opened the hearing by warning of the sensitive nature, calling it a “highly emotional” case.

It took several minutes for the clerk to read the list of indictments, which includes six counts of first-felony rape, 22 counts of gross sexual imposition, three counts of sexual battery, two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, and one count of first-felony kidnapping.

The alleged kidnapping took place over two days in May 2015, according to the indictment. Details of the incident were not immediately available.

A number of the charges include a sexually violent predator specification.

Zornes remained stoic as each charge was read, staring straight ahead.

Angela Canepa of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case. She requested the $1 million bond due to a high flight risk.

Zornes has previously served a prison sentence, and told others that he would kill himself before returning to prison, Canepa said. Since learning of the charges, Zornes has also offered the victim and his mother an apology, she said.

Costello approved the bond. He also appointed Fred Ballam and Mike Murray to serve as Zornes’ defense attorneys. His next court date is scheduled for March 15.

Prosecutors have indicated Zornes may have other victims. Anyone with information is urged to call the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

Also in court Thursday:

• Barbara Robinson, 46, 0f Delaware, was granted judicial release after serving more than six months of her one-year sentence.

Robinson pleaded guilty to failure to comply, a third-degree felony, last July. Her attorney cited Robinson’s good behavior, community service and participation in addition programs.

Costello granted the release and put Robinson on three years community control. She will also have to complete a mental health evaluation.

If Robinson violates her community control, she will be sent back to prison for a year.

• Kohl Krick, 22, of Ashville, was arraigned on a fourth-degree felonious failure to appear charge. He was indicted on a drug possession charge last September, but never showed up for his informal pretrial hearing last Nov. 2.

Bond for Krick was set at $15,000. He will appear in court again March 15 for his informal pretrial hearing. Shannon Treynor was appointed to represent him.

• Robert Akins, 67, of Chillicothe, was arraigned on a single charge of complicity to illegal conveyance of drugs, a third-degree felony.

Akins was an inmate at London Correctional Institution when a former inmate mailed him Suboxone.

Akins, who was set to be released from prison this month, has an extensive criminal history dating back to 1968.

Bond was set at $50,000. He will appear in court again March 15 for his informal pretrial hearing.

• Ashley Kilgore, 30, of South Charleston, was sentenced to 12 months community control. She pleaded guilty to fifth-degree felonious theft.

Kilgore was employed at a pawn ship when she allegedly created four fake item slips and paid herself $1,500.

She must pay back the money.

• Philip Taylor Hayes, 28, of Columbus, was sentenced to nine months behind bars and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $390 to the victim.

Hayes pleaded guilty to one charge of grand theft, a fourth-degree felony, and one charge theft, a fifth-degree felony, last December.

Hayes was staying with his victim, a friend, when he took off in her car with her credit card. Hayes was heading towards Columbus to buy heroin when he was pulled over. He was later charged with an OVI.

Hayes’ attorney requested drug treatment in lieu of prison time, explaining that Hayes had already raised the money to pay for restitution. Hayes apologized to the victim, who told the court that the incident has ruined her ability to trust others.

Hayes has a substantial criminal history.

“I’m confident that if you weren’t dealing with drug addiction, none of that three to four page criminal history would be there. But it is,” Costello said.

By Andrea Chaffin

Reach Andrea Chaffin at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619, and on Twitter @AndeeWrites.

Reach Andrea Chaffin at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619, and on Twitter @AndeeWrites.