Trials involving two separate murders that took place in Upper Arlington last year are scheduled for September.

According to Franklin County Common Pleas Court documents, the trial for Mohamed Abdullahi is slated to begin Sept. 9, and the trial for Jeffrey B. Harrison is scheduled for Sept. 23.

Abdullahi, 28, of Gainsborough Court in Columbus, is charged with felony counts of aggravated murder, two counts of murder, tampering with evidence, arson, abuse of a corpse and two counts of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

The charges, except for the OVI counts, stem from the death of 23-year-old Bobbi Simpson of Columbus, whose body was found Oct. 14, 2018, in a suitcase that had been set on fire in Upper Arlington's Burbank Park.

Eight days later, Abdullahi was arrested for drunken driving following a stop by Upper Arlington police near the intersection of Kenny Road and North Broadway. According to the Franklin County Prosecutor's Office, he was linked to Simpson's death after his DNA matched evidence found on the victim's hand.

As of May 23, Abdullahi remained in the Franklin County jail. The Franklin County Common Pleas Court clerk's office said he passed on bond at arraignment.

"No way in the world is he ever going to have a bond that he could ever consider making," his attorney, Sam Shamansky, said at a Nov. 2, 2018, hearing.

Shamansky did not respond to a request for comment last week.

Harrison is facing two felony counts of murder and, as of May 23, he remained in the Franklin County jail on a $1 million bond.

Harrison, 48, of Perdue Avenue in Columbus is accused of fatally stabbing 31-year-old Charles McCoy of Columbus outside China Dynasty, 1689 W. Lane Ave., on June 11, 2018.

Harrison turned himself in to Columbus Division of Police officers June 20, 2018, one day after police found his vehicle and five days after Upper Arlington police asked for the public's help in finding him.

According to court records, McCoy and Tina Patrick, Harrison's girlfriend, worked at China Dynasty and had argued. Patrick admitted to police she called her boyfriend and told him about the incident with McCoy, but denied telling him to come to the restaurant

Prosecutors said Harrison came to China Dynasty and fought with McCoy outside before fatally stabbing him.

"I don't think a thing has changed since day 1," said Harrison's attorney, W. Jeffrey Moore. "It's somewhere between a self-defense and a reckless homicide, and I'm not sure what a jury will decide to find.

"I think (the prosecution) has a version of the case and we've got a version of the case. It's an unfortunate situation."

Case settled

A third case that made news in Upper Arlington last year was ended Oct. 3, 2018.

Melvin K. Williams, 21, whose address previously was listed as of 2244 Woodstock Road, Upper Arlington, had been slated to go to trial Aug. 14 this year on felony charges of burglary, vandalism, assault, obstruction of justice and inducing panic. He also faced a misdemeanor charge of inducing panic.

Those charges stemmed from an April 18, 2018, incident in which Williams allegedly broke into a home in the 3700 block of Pevensey Drive and caused an estimated $27,050 in damages, including to several paintings valued together at $21,000.

Williams then ran onto field at Hastings Middle School during a soccer game wearing nothing but boxer shorts and shoes.

He was apprehended by Upper Arlington police on the field after he allegedly punched and tried to choke a woman and assaulted a police officer.

According to court documents, Williams pleaded guilty to an amended felony charge of trespassing into a habitation, in addition to felony charges of vandalism and obstruction of official business.

He also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge, but prosecutors agreed to drop the felony assault and inducing panic charges against him.

As a result, Williams avoided prison time, but was sentenced to three years of community control under basic supervision that includes undergoing a mental-health evaluation and completion of any recommended treatment, submitting to random drug tests, obtaining and maintaining "full-time, verifiable employment" and avoiding any new criminal convictions.

Williams also was ordered to pay court costs and reimburse the victims $1,000.

If Williams violates the terms of his community control, he faces a one-year prison term.

The Columbus Dispatch reporter John Futty contributed to this story.

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