GIRARD - One of the three individuals accused of holding eight people, including a 4-year-old, hostage over a vehicle dispute in Liberty on Sunday pleaded not guilty during her jail arraignment.
Sandra M. Pavelko-Smith, 47, of 1670 Everett Ave., Youngs-town, is being held at the Trumbull County Jail. She was arraigned by video through Girard Municipal Court on Monday. She pleaded not guilty and her bond was set at $100,000 for the 18 felony counts and $25,000 for the six misdemeanor charges. The bonds are concurrent. She is facing numerous charges including felonious assault, kidnapping and drug possession.
Pretrial and preliminary hearings are scheduled for her in municipal court on Wednesday.
A second person arrested on Sunday, Kenneth Macek, 68, of 7773 E. Parkside Drive, Youngstown, was not arraigned Monday because he wanted his lawyer to be present for the proceeding, court officials said. They said they were trying to contact his attorney to schedule his initial court appearance.
He also was being held at the county jail and is facing similar charges.
Liberty police Chief Richard Tisone confirmed on Monday that an arrest warrant was being issued for Ralph W. Smith Jr., 35, of 234 Seneca St., Youngstown.
Police said they went to 3198 Hadley Ave. around 12:30 p.m. after receiving reports that a woman with a gun had forced her way into the residence, according to a Liberty police report. A female hiding in the basement told a Trumbull County 911 dispatcher that the armed woman and a man had taken the family eight people including a 4-year-old hostage by putting everyone into one room and holding them against their will.
Police chased a man they spotted running from the residence south through a wooded area. However, they were told the woman and a second male were still in the house.
Police said the hostages were released around 3:30 p.m. and two of their captors, identified as Pavelko-Smith and Macek, came out of the residence without incident. They were taken into custody, transported to the Liberty Police Department then later taken to the county jail.
Police said the initial investigation revealed that the incident resulted from a dispute over a car the three intruders claimed had been stolen from them.
The police report states that "it is alleged that Pavelko-Smith had pointed her gun" at all the residents' heads and that she had "threatened to kill all of them." The report also states that the intruders took all of the residents' cell phones so they could not call police and that Pavelko-Smith had struck one person, Rachelle L. Yurko, 40, in the head with the gun at least a dozen times. Yurko had bumps on her head, but did not require medical treatment, according to the report.
Pavelko-Smith suffered a dog bite while in the house and was transported to St. Elizabeth Health Center. Police said while she was at the hospital it was discovered she was in possession of heroin and crack cocaine.
No other injuries were reported.
Police said the car at the center of the dispute was located in the Plaza Donut parking lot and, along with Pavelko-Smith's car, was towed.
Police also took two of the residents, Dale Thompson Jr., 30, and Dale Thompson Sr., 55, into custody and took them to the county jail after learning they were wanted on outstanding warrants. The other residents, along with Yurko, involved have been identified as Nancy Thompson, 59, Megan Thompson, 28, homeowner Ronald McMasters, 70, Kristen Perkins, 32, and Chole Coonce, 4.
Police said they found a shoe and jacket believed to belong to Ralph Smith. They found a Glock .40 semi-automatic handgun with an extended magazine in the house. Tisone said the investigation is ongoing.
Liberty was assisted by police from Youngstown and Girard, as well as agents from the Mahoning Valley Violent Crimes Task Force and the FBI.