November 1, 2011
The Delaware man accused of killing his roommate last March faces different charges after a Friday reindictment and a Monday arraignment.
Joel E. Sellers, 25, now is charged with murder with a firearm specification, a felony; involuntary manslaughter with a firearm specification, a first-degree felony; two counts of having weapons under disability, third-degree felonies; and illegal cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana and illegal possession of drug paraphernalia, all misdemeanors.
Sellers was previously indicted and arraigned on a single murder charge. On Monday, he pleaded not guilty to the new charges.
In Monday’s arraignment, Common Pleas Court Judge Everett H. Krueger reset Sellers’ bond for $500,000. Sellers allegedly shot and killed George McArthur V, 24, in their townhouse on Liberty Road.
“Further investigation provided further reason to add the additional charges to the original murder indictment,” Traci Whittaker, spokeswoman for the Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office, said in an email.
The case, originally scheduled for a Sept. 12 trial date, has been delayed primarily over a defense expert that will testify that Sellers, who served in Iraq in the United States Army, has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Prosecutors have challenged whether the Cleveland-area forensic psychologist should be allowed in court. They have also countered with lining up their own expert to examine Sellers.
It was decided Monday to allow both mental health experts to testify in court, said defense attorney John Cornely.
“Both should be in court for trial,” Cornely said.
Sellers’ attorneys are not contesting that he killed his roommate, George McArthur V, 24, on March 14. Rather, they plan to argue that Sellers suffers from PTSD to bolster a self-defense claim.
In mid-August, Cornely told the Gazette that there had been no discussions about a plea bargain. Although the trial is expected to go forward on Dec. 12, a plea bargain is now being discussed, Cornely said Monday.
Sellers wore an orange Delaware County jumpsuit and handcuffs and appeared with his defense attorney, Cornely. Sellers did not speak other than to tell Krueger he didn’t have any questions.
Both Sellers’ and McArthur’s family members sat in the gallery during the arraignment. Several of the victim’s relatives wore buttons with McArthur’s face on them. McArthur died on March 14 after Sellers shot him once in the throat following an argument over McArthur’s guests, according to court filings and police.