ATTORNEY: pastor, wife’s foster son’s death an accident

Published: Monday, April 17, 2017 @ 7:02 AM
Updated: Monday, April 17, 2017 @ 5:04 PM

Pastor's foster son had 20 head injuries: autopsy

DAYTON — A Montgomery County deputy coroner was the first state’s witness on Monday in the criminal trial for a Dayton minister and his wife accused in the death of their 2-year-old foster son.  

  • Emergency crews were sent to King of Glory Church in Dayton on a report of a toddler not breathing on November 18, 2015.
  • Stanley Karl Thomas III, age 2, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
  • Foster parents Torace Weaver, 38, and his wife Shureka are now on trial stemming from the child’s death. 

During opening statements, an assistant prosecutor told jurors foster parents Torace and Shureka Weaver should be convicted of the charges filed against them because of the evidence, which indicates Thomas suffered a fractured skull, scars and a large burn.

Weaver “failed to protect a toddler,” the assistant prosecutor, Kelly Madzey, told the Common Pleas jury.

Defense attorney Anthony Van Noy, in his opening statement, called the tragedy an accident.

Van Noy admitted to the jury that Weaver’s story to investigators — that the child fell off a table — was false.

Van Noy told the jury the evidence will show that the child died after he slipped from his foster father’s grasp as the two were playing “Superman.” Weaver lost his balance and the child smashed his head against a wall at the church, the attorney said.

The Weavers are being tried together. Testimony is to resume Tuesday.

EARLIER REPORT

Opening arguments are expected this afternoon in the trial of Torace and Shureka Weaver, who have been charged after the Nov. 18, 2015 death of Stanley Karl Thomas III, who died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Torace Weaver, 38, was indicted on counts of murder, reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, endangering children and obstructing official business. 

Shureka Weaver, 40, was indicted on one count of endangering children, a third-degree felony.  

Shureka Weaver’s count relates to evidence of first- and second-degree burns on Thomas’ body that should have resulted in medical attention but did not, according to court documents.  

The couple was licensed to be foster parents in August 2015. The boy’s death was ruled a homicide in March 2016.  

On Nov. 18, 2015, emergency first responders were called to King of Glory Church, 5001 Genesee Ave., in Dayton, where Weaver was pastor, on a report of a toddler not breathing. The child was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

EARLIER REPORT 

A trial for a former Dayton pastor and his wife who are accused in the murder of their 2-year-old foster son is scheduled to start today in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, according to court documents. 

Weaver was taken into custody by U.S. Marshals in August. His wife was indicted in November on charges related to Thomas’ death. 

RELATED: Wife of foster father accused in child’s death now in custody

Thomas died on November 18, 2015 of blunt force trauma to the head, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. His death was ruled a homicide in March 2016.

RELATED: Pastor accused of murder gave conflicting statements in 911 call

Eight days before Stanley’s death, Weaver called Dayton police to report his biological son had run away again. A police report said, “Weaver could not provide an answer as to why he waited until (Nov. 10)” to report the boy missing.

High Court: Sentencing for youthful offenders guilty in adult court stays in adult court

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 6:07 PM

Kylen Gregory, 16,  will be tried as an adult in the fatal shooting of Fairmont High School junior Ronnie Bowers last summer in Kettering.
Kylen Gregory, 16, will be tried as an adult in the fatal shooting of Fairmont High School junior Ronnie Bowers last summer in Kettering.

Youthful offenders found guilty in adult court for certain offenses now will have all convictions sentenced in adult court, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today.

Today’s ruling reverses a 2014 decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeals. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office appealed that ruling, and the High Court sided with the county, according to a news release from the prosecutor’s office.

RELATED: Teen accused of killing Fairmont student to be tried as adult

“This ruling makes sense in that the adult court judge is in the best position to sentence the defendant,” Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. stated. "Today’s ruling will help to streamline the administration of justice and provide finality for crime victims.”

RELATED: Dayton teen to be tried as adult in carjacking case

The ruling applies to juveniles convicted whose crimes were subject to a mandatory transfer to adult court. The appeals court ruling that was overturned ordered all other charges that were not subject to a mandatory transfer had to go back to juvenile court.

Teen girl pleads for help in first 911 text call in Miami County

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 9:11 PM

Matthew Weigel
Matthew Weigel

When a teenage girl texted 911 last week to say she was in the car with a 20-year-old man headed down Interstate 75 to buy heroin, it was Miami County Communications Center’s first such call.

It also was exactly the type of situation the text to 911 technology was intended to address, center Director Jeff Busch said Tuesday. The county announced earlier this month it was able to handle texts to 911.

READ: Tipp City drug ring suspect reports theft in Florida, is arrested

A transcript of the communication on July 22 between the girl, who was a passenger in the car, outlined the back and forth communication as the 16-year-old pleaded for help.

She described the situation and provided information as she traveled in the vehicle driven by Matthew Weigel from Miami County into Harrison Twp.a drug buy and their return up the interstate before being stopped near Tipp City.

"He's on a house arrest bracelet and he's trying to take me to Dayton with him to get heroin … cannot call on the phone," the girl texted. She also reported Weigel said he would lead police on a high-speed chase and wreck the vehicle, if necessary. 

READ: Former high school referee pleads not guilty to rape involving minor

The teen said the man thought she was texting his mother, though later in the transcript she texted he called her a "snitch." 

The interaction lasted around 30 minutes. The vehicle was stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Tipp City police. Weigel was apprehended without incident. He is in the Miami County Jail on suspicion of a probation violation. 

Miami County commissioners mentioned the successful resolution of the incident during their Tuesday morning meeting. 

MORE: Investigators may never know how Troy teen drowned, police say

Busch earlier told commissioners the technology would be beneficial in certain circumstances, such as when someone was in a house or another situation in which a phone call could endanger the caller. Voice calls are preferred when possible, he said. 

"Obtaining and verifying information can be done more quickly through a voice call. Furthermore, telecommunicators can gain valuable insight into situations by hearing the tone of the caller's voice and listening to background noises through voice calls," Busch said on July 23 when he announced the new technology.

Former high school referee pleads not guilty to rape; judge reduces bond

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 5:21 PM

Henry Lucas (Courtesy/Miami County Sheriff's Office)
Henry Lucas (Courtesy/Miami County Sheriff's Office)

TROY – A Troy man and former Ohio High School Athletic Association referee pleaded not guilty today to felony rape in Miami County Common Pleas Court.

Henry A. Lucas, 52, also saw his bail reduced, as requested, following a review by Judge Christopher Gee of a bond check report ordered during the morning arraignment hearing. 

Lucas is accused of sexual conduct involving a teenage girl in Troy in March and attempting to alter evidence against him. He pleaded not guilty to rape and tamping with evidence during arraignment via video from the county jail. 

More than 20 supporters of Lucas were in the courtroom for the hearing. 

Defense lawyer Andy Pratt asked Gee to consider a request for the recognizance bond or to “substantially reduce” Lucas’ bail of $400,000. Pratt said Lucas was a lifelong local resident and would live with his mother, if released. 

“He has tremendous support within the community,” Pratt said, pointing to those attending the hearing. 

Janna Parker, assistant county prosecutor, said prosecutors would request a cash bond for Lucas. She pointed out Lucas has a felony record and spent time in prison. He was convicted of a drug-related offense in 2010. 

Gee signed a bond order Thursday afternoon reducing the bail to $100,000, which can be posted at 10 percent cash or surety. 

Among conditions of the bail, if posted, were that Lucas have no contact with the minor victim, the minor victim's mother and have no unsupervised conduct with minors. 

The bond check was conducted by the adult probation office. 

Lucas was a long-time official for the OHSAA. His license was suspended following his arrest.

1,100 ecstasy tablets seized, 1 jailed in Kettering drug raid

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 2:06 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

UPDATE @ 7 p.m.

Detectives seized around 1,100 ecstasy tablets and several ounces of powder of the psychoactive drug during a raid this morning at a Kettering apartment complex.

Kameron Curran, 21, was arrested at the apartments in the 2000 block of Lakewood Drive on suspicion of drug possession, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. He was booked into the Montgomery County Jail, where he awaits formal charges.

Kameron Curran(MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL)

The raid ended a drug trafficking investigation conducted by the Regional Agencies Narcotics & Gun Enforcement Task Force along with agents from Homeland Security Investigations, according to the sheriff’s office.

The incident remains under investigation.

The task force urges anyone with information on drug activity to make a confidential call to the narcotics hotline at 937-225-6272.

FIRST REPORT

A man was escorted out of an apartment complex in handcuffs this morning on Lakewood Drive in Kettering during an apparent raid.

The circumstances surrounding the raid were not immediately known, however heavily armed undercover sheriff’s deputies were seen with the man, whose name has not been released.

OTHER NEWS: Woman overdoses in parking lot of Shelby County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies were on the scene around noon Thursday.

We’re working to learn additional details on this incident.