CLOSINGS AND DELAYS:

BSF Dayton Day Women, Care-A-Lot Preschool-Botkins, Central Christian Church-Kettering, Dayton Public Schools, Developmental Disabilities Clark Co., Greater Love Christian Church, Piqua Baptist Church, RT Industries, Rehab Center & Neuro Devel, S.H.I. Integrative Med. Massage Sc., Second Harvest Food Bank, Shelby Hills E.C.C, St. Andrew United Methodist Church, St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Tipp Monroe Community Services,

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.

Standoff suspect demanded ‘thousands’ in cash from hostage boy’s mother

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 10:29 AM

Liberty Twp. standoff suspect arraigned

A 30-hour standoff that involved a 10-year-old boy being held against his will at an apartment complex in Liberty Twp. began with the door being opened for the suspect.

Donald Tobias Gazaway, 31, was let into the apartment late Friday night by residents of the apartment in the 700 block of East Hamilton Place, according to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.

» READ MORE: 7 things to know about the 30-hour hostage standoff in Liberty Twp.

“This was not a home invasion, this was a ‘come on in,’” Jones told this news organization today.

Once inside, Gazaway demanded cash, according to what the boy’s mother told officials.

“He demanded thousands,” Jones said.

According to the mother, she did not have that kind of money.

“There was an argument and she said he pulled out a gun,” Jones said.

Jones said statements from the mother about how she knew Gazaway are conflicting.

» READ MORE: Man in 30-hour police standoff released from prison in July

“She said (she knew him a) couple weeks and that he was a friend of the family,” Jones said.

But there is evidence Gazaway had stayed at the residence before.

“He pulled the gun and it appeared it was every man and women for themselves, except the child,” Jones said.

Gazaway remained in the residence with the boy until a police vehicle drove up to the door. Then he took the boy and fled to a car in the garage, where he remained until surrendering Sunday morning.

During the standoff, Gazaway raised the garage door up and down and turned the car lights on and off.

“And occasionally he shot at us,” Sheriff said.

About 20 shots were reported fired during the incident.

Jones said the mother was at the scene during most of the incident, “in an area sleeping with a blanket over her.”

The sheriff’s office will be recommending Butler County Children Services open a case concerning the family.

The boy was returned to his mother and taken to the hospital to be checked out. He is reportedly doing well, according to Jones.

Immediately after securing the boy, he was taken to a safe place and kept warm by deputies, who provided a coat and doughnuts.

An official at the scene described the boy as wearing “Snoopy” pajamas during the ordeal and being very interested in the box of doughnuts they provided, eating them as fast as he could.

Gazaway just got out of prison in July after serving four years for felonious assault in Hamilton County. He shot a gun into a crowd of 30 people at a party, according to court documents

NEW INFO: Bond set for husband accused of killing wife in Miami County

Published: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 3:28 PM
Updated: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 8:47 AM

WATCH: Husband gets $1.5M bond in death of Samantha Freels. Randy Freels has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of his wife who was found inside her car last Friday.

UPDATE @ 9:22 a.m. (Jan. 16):

Bond was set at $1.5 million for Randy Freels, 57, who is accused in the shooting death and crash involving his wife Samantha Freels, 52.

Randy Freels appeared for his initial arraignment via video in Miami County Municipal Court Tuesday.

UPDATE @ 8:40 a.m. (Jan. 15):

A man is charged with murder and other charges after deputies said he was involved in the shooting death and crash involving his wife Friday afternoon. 

Randy A. Freels, 57, was booked into the Miami County Jail after special response teams from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, Troy police and Piqua police took him into custody around 10:30 p.m. at his home on South Rangeline Road in Union Twp. 

>> Man found in Piqua home; police investigating circumstances as suspicious

Samantha Freels, 52, of Union Twp., was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest in in a vehicle that was crashed in a creek in the area of Ohio 55 and Elleman Road around 3 p.m. Friday. 

Deputies believe Samantha Freels was shot to death in her vehicle very close to where she crashed, officials said. Deputies also said a blue Dodge pickup registered to Randy Freels went off the road near the crash scene.

“While processing what we now believed was a crime scene we received information that…Randy A. Freels…had made comments that afternoon to a third party that he expected to be in some type of shoot-out with law enforcement,” Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said in a prepared statement. 

Duchak said the special response teams responded to the Freels’ residence on South Rangeline, where Randy Freels was taken into custody without incident. 

“We believe Mr. Freels to be a suspect and do not have any evidence to indicate there were others involved. As this is an active homicide investigation we are conferring daily with Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell and his staff,” Duchak said. 

LOCAL NEWS: Miamisburg man identified in fatal crash in West Carrollton

Randy Feels remained in the Miami County Jail Monday morning on charges of murder, leaving the scene of a crash and inducing panic, jail records showed. He’s expected to appear in court Tuesday. 

Search warrants were used to search both vehicles and the Freels’ home on South Rangeline.

Samantha Freels was employed as a digital sales specialist for Cox Media Group Ohio, the parent company of WHIO-TV and Dayton Daily News. 

SAMANTHA FREELS

“Samantha (Sam) was a talented, dedicated, and beloved member of our advertising team. We are incredibly saddened by this tragedy and our hearts and prayers go out to her family”, said Rob Rohr, Ohio Market Vice President and General Manager of Cox. 

Funeral services for Samantha Freels will be held Wednesday at Hale-Sarver Funeral Home, 284 N. Miami St., in West Milton at 10:30 a.m. The family also will receive friends from 4 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home Tuesday.

Anyone who may have been in the area of Ohio 55 and Elleman Friday between 3 and 3:30 p.m. and may have seen or heard anything is asked to contact the Miami County Sheriff’s Office at 937-440-9911.

UPDATE @ 3:45 p.m.

Randy Albert Freels, 57, is charged with murder in the death of his wife, the Miami County Sheriff’s Office said.

The body of 52-year-old Samantha Freels was found inside a car Friday afternoon that crashed into a creek on Ohio 55. Freels died of a gunshot wound to the chest, deputies said.

Randy Freels has been held at the Miami County Jail since Friday night.

UPDATE @ 1:55 p.m.

A 52-year-old Ludlow Falls woman found dead inside a car Friday afternoon died of a single gunshot to the chest, according to the Miami County Sheriff’s Office.

Samantha Freels’ husband, 57-year-old Randy Albert Freels, has been held in the Miami County Jail since Friday night on two misdemeanor charges of inducing panic and for a hit-and-run crash.

>> Man found in Piqua home; police investigating circumstances as suspicious

Samantha Freels was employed as a digital sales specialist for Cox Media Group Ohio, the parent company of WHIO-TV and Dayton Daily News.

“Samantha (Sam) was a talented, dedicated, and beloved member of our advertising team. We are incredibly saddened by this tragedy and our hearts and prayers go out to her family”, said Rob Rohr, Ohio Market Vice President and General Manager of Cox. 

Person of interest in custody in death of woman found at Ohio 55 crash scene

EARLIER REPORT

Crews were dispatched around 3:10 p.m. Friday to Ohio 55 at Elleman Road around on reports of a vehicle that crashed into a creek. Evidence at the scene, however, led officials to believe Freels’ death was suspicious and more than just a crash.

The Miami County Sheriff's Office Special Response Team, along with SRTs from the Troy and Piqua police departments, went to her home on Rangeline Road, where Randy Freels was found and taken into custody without incident. 

Further investigation revealed Freels was shot to death. 

Randy Freels’ charges may change pending autopsy results, officials said.

Report: Local theft victim believes suspect is posing as driveway shoveler

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 10:16 AM

An Amazon package theft on Monday afternoon has prompted the victim to believe there is a person following mail trucks to commit thefts according to a Dayton Police report. 

RELATED: See more trending stories on WHIO.com

The package was stolen from a residence in the 100 block of High Street and according to the victim the package contained two computer cables. 

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The neighborhood where the theft occurred has a google account set up to communicate safety information and they believe the suspect is acting like he wants to shovel residences before he steals packages. 

If you have any more information on this theft you are asked to call Dayton Police at 937-333-2677. 

Dayton man killed in Moraine police shooting died of multiple wounds

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 10:24 AM


            Jamarco McShann
Jamarco McShann

A Dayton man killed in a shooting involving two Moraine police officers in October died of several gunshot wounds, according to the coroner’s office final report.

The cause and manner of Jamarco McShann’s Oct. 20 death was “multiple shotgun and gunshot wounds,” the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office said this morning. He could not specify how many wounds McShann sustained or where they were located.

RELATED: Group rallies for man shot, killed by Moraine police

The case involving the 23-year-old’s death closed Jan. 9 and has been ruled a homicide, said Mike Fox, an administrative assistant in the coroner’s office.

A homicide is defined as the killing of a human being and is not necessarily a crime.

Fox said the office could not release the final report — including results of the toxicology report — on McShann because the case remains under criminal investigation.

MORE: No time frame set for return of officers in fatal shooting

The day of the shooting, the Moraine Police Division placed on the officers involved in the shooting - John Howard and Jerry Knight – on paid administrative leave, as standard protocol. It also asked the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation oversee the case, and that investigation continues.

Howard and Knight returned to administrative duty Nov. 20 and were re-activated to “full duty” in early December, according to Moraine Police Chief Craig Richardson.

-MORE COVERAGE OF THIS ISSUE:

RELATED: An in-depth look at Moraine officers in fatal shooting

RELATED: Young officer won praise before deadly shooting

RELATED: Officer-involved shooting fatality a first for Moraine

RELATED: Moraine police shooting: Man died after multiple gunshot wounds

RELATED: Moraine police shooting: What we know now

RELATED: Moraine police shooting: Suspect’s gun was loaded with high-capacity magazine

RELATED: Moraine police shooting: Who is Jamarco McShann?