CUYAHOGA FALLS — After spending five days in Summit County Jail following his Aug. 24 arrest on a felony assault charge, the owner of the State Road East of Chicago pizza restaurant was released Wednesday.
According to Stow Municipal Court records, 52-year-old Center Avenue resident Jeffrey A. Straughan was released Wednesday after his bond was reduced from 10 percent of $100,000 to 10 percent of $25,000. Straughan’s case was also sent to a Summit County grand jury via the court’s direct indictment program, with a Sept. 14 arraignment tentatively scheduled pending an indictment.
Straughan is charged with second-degree felony assault in connection with an allegation that he fired a gun on State Road after chasing a man who allegedly stole $1 from his nearby pizza restaurant on Aug. 14.
The charge was filed Aug. 24 after the city’s law department reviewed the matter, police said, and Straughan turned himself in at the police department. He did not enter a plea to the charge at his arraignment that same day.
"I think it’s pretty straightforward," said Straughan’s attorney, John Chapman. "A man has a right to defend himself."
Police said Straughan confronted a 38-year-old Akron man in the parking lot of an Arby’s restaurant at 2685 State Road at about 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14 after the Akron man allegedly stole $1 from Straughan’s East of Chicago Pizza franchise about a block away. The Akron man, who was charged with first-degree misdemeanor theft, said Straughan pulled out a gun and fired it in the Akron man’s direction. Police said the weapon was a .45-caliber handgun and no one was injured in the altercation.
Chapman said Straughan felt justified and that he believes he will be vindicated.
"I think the evidence will most certainly show that he was defending himself when this happened," Chapman said.
Straughan, a Marine Corps veteran, was honored along with his wife in 2015 when Broad Boulevard was temporarily renamed in their honor for work they have done in the community to help people in need, including donating toys and other supplies, feeding the homeless in the restaurant and providing help to other veterans.
Editor’s note: Reporter Steve Wiandt contributed to this story.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at 330-541-9431, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JeffSaunders_RP.