A Columbus man entered not-guilty pleas in Franklin County Common Pleas Court July 10 to all charges against him in connection with the June murder of Reynoldsburg resident David A. Vollette.
Joel Smalls, 51, 4673 Refugee Road, Apt. 3G, was charged with felony counts of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary and two counts of murder – all of which include repeat violent offender specifications - and three felony counts of tampering with evidence.
According to the Franklin County Clerk of Courts Office, Smalls is still in custody at the Franklin County jail.
He has filed an affidavit claiming to be indigent and has asked for a court-appointed attorney.
Christy McCreary, public information officer for Prosecuting Attorney Ron O’Brien’s office, said a $1 million surety bond and a $20,000 recognizance bond have been set.
She said defendants typically have to come up with 10 percent of a surety bond to obtain release, if a judge agrees they can be released on bond, which has not happened in Smalls’ case.
She said Judge Kimberly Cocroft was assigned to the case for preliminary hearings.
“It will be several weeks probably before an initial trial date will go into the system,” McCreary said.
Reynoldsburg officers found Vollette’s body at 12:36 p.m. June 27 inside his residence at 7783 Pembrook Drive in Reynoldsburg during a well-being check after his mother called police when her son did not show up for work.
Detectives reported Vollette was found in his bed with a massive head wound, and a fabric-covered hammer was found nearby, according to court documents.
DNA evidence on the hammer and a search for Vollette’s missing 2005 Mercury Grand Prix led to Smalls’ arrest by Reynoldsburg and Columbus SWAT officers June 29 at his southeast Columbus home.
Vollette’s car was found the day before, abandoned at East Livingston Avenue near South Champion Avenue.
Smalls admitted to officers that he stole Vollette’s driver’s license and benefits card, and had handled the hammer, but said he had found him already dead in his bed, according to court documents.