Father of missing boys agrees to extraditionWritten by Toledo Free Press Staff Writers | | firstname.lastname@example.org
John Skelton opted Dec. 14 against fighting extradition to Michigan, where he faces parental kidnapping charges in the case of his three missing sons, Andrew, Alexander and Tanner.
Appearing Dec. 14 in front of Judge Gary G. Cook in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, Skelton waived his right to an extradition hearing and agreed to be surrendered to Lenawee County authorities. Skelton’s court-appointed attorney, Merle R. Dech of Toledo, told the judge he had spoken with Skelton about his rights in fighting extradition, and Skelton had elected not to exercise them.
Skelton spoke little during the hearing, save to answer “yes” to the judge’s questions, but was seen laughing with his lawyer at a few points before the hearing began.
Cook agreed that Skelton had given a “knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver of his rights” and approved his extradition to Lenawee County.
Cook agreed to Lucas County assistant prosecutor Jeffrey Lingo’s request that the $3 million bond set for Skelton be continued.
Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Lingo said he was not surprised by Skelton changing his mind about fighting extradition.
“He was going back, in my opinion, one way or the other,” Lingo said.
What was surprising, Lingo said, was the speed with which the extradition paperwork went through the system. The process required a request from Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. In the past, Lingo said, he’s known the extradition process to take 90 days or longer.
“It’s the quickest one I’ve ever seen, to be honest with you,” he said. Morenci Police Chief Larry Weeks, who has been heading the investigation into the three missing Skelton brothers, was in court to testify if needed and to work on arrangements for transporting Skelton to Lenawee County.
Skelton’s bond has been set for $30 million, $10 million for each count.
The three missing boys have not been seen since Thanksgiving.