Bonnie Grewe's accusations of police corruption, which were followed by her arrest and then exoneration, have drawn so much attention to the criminal case of her son, Cory Henry, that Henry's attorney wants his trial to be relocated.
Circuit Judge David Sims on Tuesday denied defense attorney Mike Alberty's motion for a change of venue. Sims told Alberty the court must first attempt to seat a jury in Ohio County before moving the proceedings elsewhere. The trial is scheduled for Jan. 6.
"If you bring a jury in and you ask them the questions, we'll find out what they know about the case and what they don't," Sims said.
Henry, 29, of Wheeling was indicted in September on charges of abduction with intent to defile and second-degree sexual assault. Prosecutors say he abducted a woman from a local bar last year and sexually assaulted her at his mother's home in Elm Grove.
Following Henry's arrest, his mother, Bonnie Grewe, publicly announced her indignation toward the Wheeling Police Department, saying officers arrested her son on false allegations from the alleged victim.
Grewe herself was arrested days later on a misdemeanor theft charge.
Prosecutors, however, dismissed the charge against Grewe after another woman confessed to the crime.
On Tuesday, Alberty complained to Sims about what he said was a Wheeling Police Department-operated website, on which the public can post comments. He asked Sims to "close" that website due to numerous comments about Grewe and Henry.
"It's my understanding that comments are out there like 'Don't settle with the mother because she'll take the money and buy a defense for her criminal son,'" Alberty said.
Grewe has met with a plaintiff attorney, James Villanova, out of Pittsburgh, to pursue false arrest charges against the police department. Villanova declined to comment on the case Tuesday.
Added Alberty, "I think these kind of things lingering out on the Internet on official websites is a problem - other racist comments like 'You give those people an inch, they'll take a mile.'"
Alberty said he has never seen the site, but "numerous sources" have told him about it.
"I can't shut down an Internet website," Sims told Alberty. "I don't have control over what the press does. I can't tell them not to do that."
The police department said the only site they operate is www.wheelingpd.com, which is not open to public comments.