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Dayton Daily News (Ohio)
LEBANON — The judge handling the criminal case against the former treasurer of the Springboro Clearcreek Baseball Association told her on Tuesday that the bond would remain at $750,000 due to continued doubts about her health claims and concerns she might flee prosecution.
"Nothing I heard today moves the needle," Judge Donald Oda II said during a bond reduction hearing in his court in Lebanon. "Something in this case just does not smell right."
Despite efforts by Rene K. Nichols' lawyer, Oda left Nichols' bond at $750,000, pending a Nov. 26 pretrial hearing.
Oda expressed doubt about the series of events that ended in Nichols checking herself into a hospital where she had been taken from the Warren County jail.
"I still have serious doubts as to whether you even needed to be at the hospital," the judge said.
During the hearing, lawyer Laura Woodruff emphasized Nichols never left Bethesda North Hospital after checking herself out and urged Oda to set a "reasonable bond."
Nichols, 65, of Springboro, is charged with aggravated theft of more than $150,000 from the youth baseball league and tampering with records.
Nichols's bond was set on Oct. 16 after she signed herself out and was taken back to the jail, about 30 minutes after court staff had set her up with an electronic monitor she was to wear while in the hospital, according to the testimony in the hearing.
Oda also rejected Woodruff's claims that she could see to it that Nichols would show up for court, now that she had hired the Mulligan & Associates firm to represent her in the criminal case.
The judge also explained to Nichols that he didn't want her to make bail with money she would otherwise use to reimburse the nonprofit.
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