Muskingum County Prosecutor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 6, 2023
Muskingum County Prosecutor's Office begins new year with back-to-back guilty verdicts
The Muskingum County Prosecutor’s Office began the new year with back-to-back guilty verdicts this week under the lead of Assistant Prosecutor Gerald Anderson.
On Tuesday, members of the jury found William Coriell guilty of domestic violence, a fourth-degree felony, and intimidation of a witness, a third-degree felony.
During testimony, jurors learned how Zanesville police arrested the defendant as he exited municipal court on a prior domestic violence case. While Coriell was in the courtroom, his victim reported to police in the lobby that prior to arriving at the municipal building, the defendant asked the victim to lie for him in court. When the victim did not agree, Coriell grabbed the victim by the arm and throat and threatened to kill the victim.
While in the jail now awaiting felony charges for domestic violence and intimidating a witness, Coriell continued to manipulate the victim to lie for him or plead the fifth.
The more contact Coriell had with the victim, the less cooperative the victim became with the investigation – a common theme in domestic violence cases.
Coriell could be heard on jail call recordings asking the victim to cover for him so he wouldn’t go to prison.
Because a person cannot use the Fifth Amendment to refuse to testify unless the testimony would incriminate that person, the victim was ordered to testify honestly to the jury after being called as a Court’s witness.
A Court’s witness is used when the State or Defense cannot ensure the witness will give honest testimony on the stand.
Fortunately, the victim chose to tell the truth at trial and prevent Corriel from committing further acts of harm.
The jurors listened and convicted Coriell on both counts.
Coriell faces a prison sentence of up to four and a half years in prison.
“In many domestic violence cases, we see the abuser cycle through apologizing, blaming and intimidating the victim in an effort to manipulate the victim. Mr. Coriell attempted all of these on recorded phone calls to the victim,” Assistant Prosecutor Anderson said. “Thankfully, the jury was able to hear about what Mr. Coriell asked the victim to do in court, and then see that the victim attempted all of those things, before finally testifying truthfully about the assaults and threats that Mr. Coriell committed.”
On Thursday, Assistant Prosecutor Anderson returned to the courtroom for the trial of Gregory Ratliff, who chose to represent himself.
Jurors convicted Ratliff on one third-degree felony count of having weapons while under disability and one first-degree misdemeanor count of failure to stop after an accident.
In mid-October, the Zanesville Police Department received a report from a woman stating that she was the passenger in a car driven by Ratliff when the defendant crashed into a telephone pole and fled the scene.
According to the witness, Ratliff became angry because she refused to pawn a firearm for him out of fear that the gun may have been stolen.
As police investigated, they learned Ratliff had a prior felony for burglary, which prohibits him from possessing a gun.
Police located and arrested Ratliff, who then decided to take the case to trial himself.
“Many defendants who represent themselves at trial attempt to seek sympathy from the jury, hoping the jury will simply disregard the law,” Assistant Prosecutor Anderson said. “Mr. Ratliff presented a sympathetic story to the jury, though he admitted to committing the crimes he was charged with when he testified. The jurors fulfilled their duty of setting aside sympathy and determining guilt or innocence.”
Ratliff now faces up to thirty-six months in prison following his conviction.
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