LISBON - With his hands heavily bandaged, Mason M. Feisel, made his initial court appearance Thursday morning on the murder charge involving the Wednesday death of his girlfriend, Samantha Shasteen.
Feisel, 34, Afton Avenue, Boardman, appeared before Columbiana County Municipal Judge Mark Frost on closed-circuit television from the county jail. He answered several questions with "Yes sir," and was granted a public defender.
He faces between 15 years to life in prison if convicted in the death of the 32-year-old Shasteen.
County Prosecutor Robert Herron asked Frost for a high bond in the case using the arguments the charge is serious by nature and Feisel should be considered a flight risk. Herron said Feisel only leases a residence in Mahoning County and has no local relatives, the nearest family reportedly being in western Ohio with others as far away as Texas.
Additionally, Herron said Feisel should be considered a danger to himself.
"The bandages on his arms are from what we believe to be self-inflicted wounds," Herron said.
Bond was set at $1 million cash or surety. The preliminary hearing was set for the afternoon of June 17. It will be Feisel's next scheduled appearance.
According to the affidavit filed at Municipal Court by Detective David Talbert of the Salem Police Department, Shasteen's father discovered both Feisel and his daughter's body inside the locked residence. Feisel and Shasteen had been involved in a failing relationship.
The court documents said police found Shasteen dead with visible head trauma. Feisel was found hiding in the bushes and trees of a neighboring yard, where he had fled after Shasteen's father found him.
According to court documents, Feisel told police he was with Shasteen from the previous evening until the time she was found, but declined to provide any information regarding her death. Additionally, he indicated he intended to harm himself.
Herron said Feisel was found relatively quickly after police were called by Shasteen's father. Feisel was treated at Salem Community Hospital for his injuries and he was taken to the county jail. Additional help was called to the scene which included some members of the county's Homicide Task Force.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Information and Investigation processed the crime scene on Oak Street and along with other investigators canvassed the neighborhood, looking for evidence and speaking to neighbors. Herron said neighbors did not report hearing an argument between the couple.
Shasteen and Feisel's 4-year-old daughter was at her grandparents' home during the night her mother's death occurred, according to Herron.
Talbert was not in court on Wednesday. Instead, he attended the autopsy conducted at the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office. He said no information is being released on the cause of death or the manner of death, but confirmed the cause has been determined.
However, Talbert said he needs to do further interviews before the cause of death is released.
He also would not reveal what Feisel told him when they talked Wednesday.
"We're still doing interviews and obtaining records," Talbert said.
The Ohio BCII and Salem police gathered evidence, but they need to determine what they will be sending to the crime lab for analysis, he explained.
Staff writer Mary Ann Greier contributed to this report.