2008-05-17 / News

Cortez friend arrested

By Scott Rawdon

BUCKEYE LAKE- Noel Joyce, a Glenford resident and former business partner of John Cortez, was arrested without incident Wednesday afternoon. Licking County Sheriff Randy Thorp said Joyce was located "at a relative's house in Columbus." Joyce will have an arraignment hearing Monday morning, close to 8 a.m., said Thorp, at the Licking County Justice Center.

Licking County detective Chris Slayman said Joyce, 38, was wanted for third degree felonious perjury and fifth degree felonious obstruction of justice. Slayman said the charges stem from Joyce's alleged cooperation with former Buckeye Lake Village Council member John Cortez' flight from justice. Cortez was eventually apprehended in Myrtle Beach, SC.

As of Monday morning, Joyce was considered a fugitive from justice when he failed to attend an arraignment hearing.

To review, Cortez, 42, is charged with 23 counts of unlawful sexual contact with minors, one count of providing cocaine to three minors, and a felonious weapons charge. Police raided Cortez' home Nov. 8 and found that Cortez, as a convicted felon, illegally possessed weapons. At that time, Cortez had no additional charges and was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. Cortez fled Nov. 29 after being indicted on the 23 sexual conduct charges and the drug charge. He was apprehended Feb. 13 in Myrtle Beach. Cortez is being held without bail in Licking County Jail where he awaits trial.

Slayman said authorities believe Joyce lied to a grand jury when he was questioned about "aiding and abetting" Cortez during his flight from justice; authorities believe Joyce provided Cortez with money and supplies while he was a fugitive.

Licking County Assistant Prosecutor Tracy Van Winkle said the perjury charge carries a maximum five-year jail term and the obstruction of justice charge carries a one-year maximum for a total of six years of potential jail time, if convicted.

Joyce claimed in a May 12 email that he only learned of his indictment after receiving an emailed media report. His email read: "Well, this is nice. I can't believe no one has mailed me about it. All the detectives that have questioned me have all of my numbers and no one has contacted myself or my lawyer about this. Now how did that slip by, it's not like I've been hiding out. I can't even be left alone because of this heart thing."

The current charges against Joyce are not related to Cortez' claim that Joyce forged a power of attorney to seize control of Cortez' home and commercial properties when Cortez fled. Cortez' mother now has control of those properties.

Thorp said Wednesday that the investigation regarding the Cortez case continues.

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