Police Charge Man For Random Store Kid Punchings
The Columbus Dispatch via YellowBrix
March 13, 2010
COLUMBUS – The 68-year-old grandfather accused of punching random children in a Northwest Side Walmart remained in jail after his first court appearance yesterday.
Franklin County Municipal Judge Mark Hummer set bond for Ralph Conone of 5687 Shadowbrook Dr. at $150,000. Should Conone post bond, he is ordered to stay away from his victims and Walmart while the case proceeds.
Conone stood quietly in court, his hands cuffed in front of him. He is being held in the Jackson Pike jail.
Columbus police have charged Conone with two misdemeanor counts of assault, but they said they expect that additional accusers will come forward.
Hummer ordered the news media not to photograph Conone in court to protect the police investigation. Police said they hope other children who were punched can identify him.
Conone was held Wednesday night at the Walmart at 2700 Bethel Rd. after a 6-year-old boy complained to his mother that Conone had punched him in the back of the head. The woman followed Conone out of the store, grabbed his arm, led him back inside and notified security.
Police said a review of the store’s surveillance video not only confirmed the punching of the boy but also revealed blows to his 7-year-old brother and two other boys.
Sgt. Rich Weiner, a Police Division spokesman, said investigators have yet to identify the two other boys.
Conone told police he would put his keys between his fingers and strike the children when their parents weren’t looking. He said he’d been doing it since January because he liked the excitement of getting away with it.
His public defender said in court that Conone has mental-health issues.