Standoff Suspect: Bond Is Too High

WHEELING-John Lough believes his $20,000 bond on two misdemeanor brandishing charges is a bit excessive, despite his five-hour standoff with police Thursday night in Elm Grove.

The standoff started at 8:45 p.m. Thursday and ended peacefully when Lough, 44, of 421 Kruger St., surrendered at 1:30 a.m. Friday.

Multiple police units, including Wheeling’s SWAT and crisis negotiation teams, responded to a call at Lough’s Kruger Street home regarding an ongoing domestic dispute involving a gun. A criminal complaint states that as officers approached they saw several people running around the neighborhood screaming, “Get down there, he has a gun.” Another person yelled, “He has a shotgun to her head, he is going to kill her.”

According to the report, police spoke with a woman and two juveniles who told them the children were playing in the neighborhood when they attempted to enter the Lough home, but could not gain access through the front door.

The report states they entered through a rear door and discovered the front door had been barricaded with a wooden wedge. They also saw a shotgun on the bed shared by Lough and his wife.

A woman told police she sent the children to her house and began searching for Lough’s wife before finding her and a 5-year-old near the Rite Aid store at Kruger Street and National Road.

The woman said Mrs. Lough did not call police and took off running toward her home.

Witnesses said they then saw Lough’s wife lying in a neighbor’s yard as though she were hiding from someone, and they saw Lough standing at his front door holding a shotgun.

According to the report, two juveniles made eye contact with Lough and he pointed the shotgun in their direction. They fled until they saw police arriving.

Wheeling police Detective Matt Taylor said members of the crisis negotiation team could not contact Lough by telephone during the standoff.

“They used a bullhorn and talked him out,” Taylor said. “He surrendered peacefully.”

In West Virginia, brandishing is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $50 to $1,000 and up to one year in jail for each count. During a video arraignment Friday morning, Ohio County Magistrate Joe Roxby set a cash bond of $10,000 each on the the two counts of brandishing.

“If there are no felony charges involved here, why is the bond so high?” he asked Roxby.

The magistrate explained that bond amounts are based on two factors-risk of flight and threat to the community.

“I have lived here all my life,” Lough said. “How am I a flight risk?”

“Circumstances surrounding this case clearly indicate you are a threat to the community, Roxby said. “That, and the fact that you had a felony burglary charge in 1998.”

After Lough told Roxby the burglary charges had been reduced to a lesser offense, Roxby told Lough he could seek a bond reduction hearing after he gets an attorney.