Video: Murder Suspect Joseph Thomas Arraigned In Court
Thomas pleaded not guilty to the murder, rape, kidnapping and aggravated robbery of Annie McSween
Joseph Thomas, the man accused of murdering bartender Annie McSween, was arraigned Thursday afternoon in Lake County Court of Common Pleas.
Thomas, 26, was indicted earlier this week on 11 felony charges, including aggravated murder, rape, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and aggravated robbery. He faces the death penalty.
He pleaded not guilty to all the charges and Judge Joseph Gibson continued his bond at $1 million.
Thomas's defense attorney, Lake County Chief Assistant Public Defender Charles Grieshammer, and Lake County Assistant Prosecutors Charles Cichocki and Karen Kowall declined to comment after the hearing.
Several members of McSween's family, including her son Justin McSween, attended the court hearing but opted not to make a statement.
Annie McSween, 49, of Mentor, was found murdered Nov. 26 near Mario's Lakeway Lounge on Andrews Road.
McSween had tended bar at Lakeway Lounge the night she was murdered. She closed the bar, but never made it home.
Her body was found behind the house at 5612 Andrews Road, next to the bar, at 8:39 a.m. She had been beaten, strangled and repeatedly stabbed, Lake County Deputy Coroner Dr. Mark Komar said. She likely bled to death.
Thomas was identified as someone who used to be a regular patron at the bar.
At the time of Thomas's arrest, former Mentor-on-the-Lake Police Chief Joe Doran would neither confirm nor deny that Thomas was at the bar the night McSween was murdered.
Police arrested Thomas from the home where he was living on the 1300 block of Oldsmar Avenue in Madison Township.
According to various court documents, Thomas frequently changed addresses. He has lived in Madison Township, Perry Township and Fairport Harbor.
Thomas also used to live in Mentor-on-the-Lake, according to an arrest record from 2007.