No charges against trooper in Celina shooting death

Published: Sunday, November 29, 2015 @ 3:55 AM
Updated: Monday, May 02, 2016 @ 3:15 PM

A Mercer County grand jury declined to indicate a state trooper in the shooting death of a Celina man Nov. 29, 2015. The man killed was shot after ordering an Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper out of his cruiser and pointing a gun at him. The trooper has since returned to duty.

KEY POINTS

  • Justin McHenry, 22, was shot, killed
  • Trooper Brandon Chaney not indicted
  • Patrol: McHenry pointed gun at trooper
  • Court records: McHenry had prior OVI arrests

UPDATE @ 3:08 p.m. (May 2)

A Mercer County grand jury April 28 chose not to indict Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Brandon M. Chaney in the fatal shooting of Justin McHenry last November.

“After considering the testimony of the witness and the evidence presented, the grand jury found and held that the action of Justin D. McHenry towards Trooper Brandon M. Chaney presented the imminent threat of serious physical harm or death toward Trooper Brandon M. Chaney,” reads a press release from Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.

UPDATE @ 8:35 a.m. (Dec. 17)

The Ohio Highway Patrol said Trooper Brandon Chaney has returned to his position at the Wapakoneta post following the fatal shooting he was involved in last month.

UPDATE @ 2:12 p.m. (Dec. 2)

NewsCenter 7’s Steve Baker has Trooper Brandon Chaney’s personnel file in hand and will have more starting at 5 p.m. today on WHIO.

Highlights from the trooper’s personnel file include performance evaluations since he started as a trooper Feb. 8, 2013 to present.

In August 2013, Chaney was commended for having demonstrated patience when dealing with violators and the motoring public, according to the file.

But Chaney was told Feb. 20, 2014, that he “does not always analyze or evaluate the situation at hand to come to the best solution.”

Chaney was involved in an injury crash in a cruiser that resulted from him driving too fast and not knowing the geographic area he was responding to, according to the file.

“Trooper Chaney needs to make sure he is aware of the consequences for any bad decision making,” the file reads.

By January 2015, Chaney was commended for establishing himself as a leader at the Wapakoneta post and working toward the goals set by the Wapakoneta post and OSP division.

UPDATE @ 10:41 a.m. (Nov. 30)

Trooper Brandon Chaney is the officer who fatally shot Justin McHenry early Sunday morning, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Chaney, a trooper since Feb. 8, 2013, remains on paid administrative leave.

UPDATE @ 3 p.m. (Nov. 29)

The Celina man who confronted a trooper and pulled a gun on him before he was fatally shot Saturday morning had run-ins with troopers in the past.

Justin McHenry, 22, was charged with operating a vehicle under the influence by the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Sept. 7, 2014, Celina Municipal Court records show. He pleaded no contest to the charge and was found guilty. It was his second OVI conviction — he was found guilty in 2012 for drunken driving in a case also involving a trooper, according to records.

Coldwater police arrested McHenry for assault and underage alcohol charges in 2013, and in 2011, a trooper issued him a speeding ticket, according to online court records.

The highway patrol said today that the trooper involved in the fatal shooting had no known prior contact with McHenry, and was not working on any cases that involved him.

UPDATE @ Noon (Nov. 29)

We now know a trooper involved in a fatal shooting this morning in Celina fired his weapon at least four times.

There were four or five bullet holes in the front window of the Celina Fire Station on North Main Street. The Ohio State Highway Patrol said the bullets came from the trooper’s gun and that it’s unclear whether the man shot after pointing a gun at the trooper fired any shots.

The fire station was across from where the patrol car was parked when the suspect, 22-year-old Justin McHenry of Celina, allegedly confronted the trooper.

UPDATE @ 11:30 a.m. (Nov. 29)

The scene of the fatal shooting involving a state trooper is clear and Main Street is back open between Market and East Fulton streets. The trooper involved is removed from road patrol pending the investigation, which is policy for officer-involved shootings, the patrol said. The trooper’s name will likely be released in one to two days, according to the patrol.

UPDATE @ 9:45 a.m. (Nov. 29)

A Celina man who was shot early today after pointing a gun at a trooper has died, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The gunshot victim was identified as 22-year-old Justin D. McHenry. The trooper involved in the fatal shooting was not identified.

The trooper said he was inside his patrol cruiser parked on Main Street near Livingston Street around 1:30 a.m. working on paperwork from a previous incident when McHenry parked his 1991 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck across the street and walked to the cruiser, according to the highway patrol. McHenry, who had no contact with the trooper before this incident, became confrontational with the trooper and ordered him out of his patrol car, the patrol said.

After the trooper got out of his cruiser, the trooper said McHenry pulled out a 9mm handgun and pointed it at the trooper, who said he tried to disarm McHenry but was unsuccessful. The trooper broke contact with McHenry and shots were fired. McHenry was stuck by rounds from the troopers handgun, according to the highway patrol.

The trooper, who was not hurt, and officers from the Celina Police Department, who responded after hearing the shots, rendered first aid until medics arrived. McHenry was taken to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater and was transferred by medical helicopter to St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, where he succumbed to his injuries, the patrol said.

Main Street between Market and East Fulton streets will remain closed while police process evidence in the ongoing investigation.

The patrol did not say whether McHenry fired any shots at the trooper, and it’s not clear what led McHenry to confront the trooper with a gun.

UPDATE @ 5:24 a.m. (Nov. 29)

The man who was shot was initially transported to Coldwater Hospital before being taken to St. Rita Hospital in Lima via careflight, said Piqua District Highway Patrol Capt. Daniel Springs. North Main Street is closed while officials carry out their investigation.

FIRST REPORT (Nov. 29)

According to a statement, a state trooper from the Wapakoneta Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol was issuing a citation to a person for OVI at the Celina Police Department at 202 North Main Street Sunday morning.

The trooper was then approached by a person not involved in the citation who displayed a weapon. Shots were fired by both the subject and the trooper, with the subject receiving several gunshot wounds. The state trooper involved was not hit.

The condition of the person shot is being withheld at this time.

Steve Baker is heading to the scene and we will update this page when new information is available.

Judge sets bond for mom accused of fatally shooting her children

Published: Thursday, May 18, 2017 @ 10:40 AM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 5:30 AM

A Dayton woman is jailed after she allegedly shot her two children, who succumbed to their injuries and died at the hospital.

>>PHOTOS: Police respond to the scene, neighbors react

>>MORE: Mom had faced earlier child endangering allegations

Two children were shot in the head just before 10 a.m. May 18 on Lori Sue Avenue in Dayton.

  • The children, ages 6 and 8, died as a result of their injuries
  • Dayton police booked the mother on attempted murder charges
  • A third child was unharmed inside the home

UPDATE @ 1:53 p.m. (May 22)

The mother accused of fatally shooting her two children appeared today in Dayton Municipal Court.

The judge set bond at $1 million for Claudena Helton, 30, who is being held in the Montgomery County Jail on multiple charges.

Claudena was initially held on attempted murder charges but those charges are expected to be upgraded after her two children, Khmorra and Kaiden Helton, ages 8 and 6, succumbed to their injuries Sunday at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

The judge said after the hearing that the suspect may not realize that her children are dead.

UPDATE @5:30 a.m. (May 19):

Two children shot in the head remain in critical condition at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Khmorra Helton, 8, and Kaiden Helton, 6, suffered life-threatening injuries.

Their mother, Claudena Helton, remains in the Montgomery County Jail on two counts of felonious assault.

UPDATE @ 3:57 p.m. (May 18):

Two children — an 8-year-old female Khmorra Helton and 6-year-old male Kaiden Helton — were shot in the head and critically injured on Lori Sue Avenue Thursday morning, according to Dayton police chief. Their injuries are life threatening, police said.

The mother Claudena Helton, whom lives at the Lori Sue Avenue address, has been booked into Montgomery County Jail on two counts of felonious assault, police said. A handgun was recovered at the home.

Claudena Helton has prior child endangering charges in Dayton.

>>VIDEO: Neighbor creates memorial

An 11-year-old girl was not injured.

Dayton Children’s confirmed the two injured children were both in critical condition this afternoon. 

Dayton Police did not release the names of the two children who were shot today on Lori Sue Avenue, but the children’s names were part of police incident reports connected to the same address.

The three children involved are not current students of Dayton Public Schools, according to the district.

UPDATE @ 2:55 p.m. (May 18):

Police are expected to give an update on today’s shooting involving two children during a press conference at 4 p.m., officials said.

A neighbor living across the street from where the children,  both under the age of 10, were shot said a woman was outside the home naked when she saw police responding.

“She just stared at me,” the neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said. “I yelled to the neighbor to give me a sheet and I covered her up.”

RELATED: 6 recent times children have been gunshot victims

UPDATE @ 2:47 p.m. (May 18):

Police and detectives have cleared the scene of a shooting that left two children injured on Lori Sue Avenue.

UPDATE @ 12:27 p.m. (May 18):

Dayton police Major Eric Henderson said responding officers discovered two young children, both under the age of 10, suffering from gunshot wounds. A third child is safe. The condition of the children is unknown at this time, Henderson said.

Henderson said police are interviewing someone who was at the scene at the time of the shooting. Police found the children in the front yard of the property.

“It’s an unfortunate incident,” Henderson said.

Police urge witnesses and citizens with any information about the incident to call 937-333-COPS.

One woman who lives in the neighborhood reacted to the shooting of the two children. 

“I was completely devastated. I was heartbroken. I was crying. I was emotional,” said Deona Terry, who has four children. “My friend called me hysterical because someone called her and told her, and then as I pulled up I heard the news, and then I found out it was some kids who graduated from the same school as my daughter.”

UPDATE @ 12:15 p.m. (May 18):

People were seen attempting life-saving measures on the two children who were found wounded in the front yard from a shooting in Dayton.

A graduation event was going on at the school nearby. That school was on lockdown for about half an hour, and then the lockdown was lifted.

The two children were taken to Dayton Children's Hospital. Police did not have additional information on the gender or the ages of the children. Police have one person that they are questioning.

UPDATE @ 11:58 a.m. (May 18):

Two children were shot this morning and police have not released information on their conditions.

Three children were in the home at the time of the shooting and the third child was not injured.

The injured children were transported to Dayton Children’s Hospital.

UPDATE @ 10:55 a.m. (May 18):

At least one child was reportedly shot on Lori Sue Avenue this morning, according to dispatch records.

News Center 7’s Mike Campbell reports a police cruiser left with an individual inside, however it is unclear who that person is or their possible involvement in this case.

According to a 911 call, the child involved in the shooting may be 6-years-old, however police have not released any information yet on the child’s age.

We’re working to learn the child’s condition.

INITIAL REPORT:

Approximately eight police cruisers and crime scene tape are blocking the area of the 3800 block of Lori Sue Avenue this morning.

The police activity was reported around 10:40 a.m. and initial reports indicated that Rosa Parks Early Learning Center may have been placed on lock down.

Investigators appeared to be centering their investigation in front of a house on Lori Sue Avenue.

Initial dispatch records indicated police and medics were dispatched on a report of a child not breathing, however we are working to learn if that is what officials discovered when they arrived on the scene.

We’re working to learn more.

Police: Mother shot kids to ‘save them from the evils of the world’

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 9:53 AM

The Dayton mother accused of shooting her children in the head said she did it to “save them from the evils of the world,” according to court documents.

Khmorra Helton, 8, and Kaiden Helton, 6, died Sunday at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Investigators from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office will perform autopsies today.

PHOTOS: Police respond to shooting scene, neighbors react

Claudena Marie Helton, 30, was interviewed by Dayton police detectives Thursday at the Safety Building. According to the affidavit and statement of facts written by Dayton police Det. Rod Roberts, “Ms. Helton made admissions to shooting the children to save them from the evils of the world.”

The affidavit indicated Helton asked her oldest child, an 11-year-old, to assist her in removing the children from the home at 3821 Lori Sue Ave. The girl was taken from the home and interviewed.

RELATED: Dayton chief after 2 kids shot in head: ‘This is one of the toughest’

Helton is scheduled to be arraigned today in Dayton Municipal Court. The charges of attempted murder and felonious assault filed last week likely will be updated to reflect the children’s death.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Mark Gokavi on Facebook and Twitter

Khmorra’s father is listed as Lynntonio S. Watson, according to birth records.

Watson, 30, less than three years ago was convicted of murder and felonious assault in the shooting death of 19-year-old Martell Gray. In September 2013, he fired gunshots that killed Gray and injured two others near Dayton’s Whitney Young Estates.

Kaiden’s father is listed as Stephen J. Fletcher, the records show.

RELATED: Dayton mom who police say shot her children had volatile relationships

On May 23, 2010, Trotwood police arrested Fletcher for allegedly threatening Claudena Helton’s life, punching her in the face and choking her until she nearly fainted, according to a police report. Fletcher was charged with misdemeanor counts of aggravated menacing and domestic violence. He was found guilty of one of the counts and sentenced to 123 days in jail.

RELATED: 6 recent times children have been gunshot victims

Fatal shootings involving young child victims are rare.

In Montgomery County, one child under the age of 10 was killed by gun shots in both 2015 and 2016, according to preliminary data by Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.

Between 2014 and 2016, there have been 126 Montgomery County residents who died from gun shots and nine were under the age of 18, the data show.

Teen testifies in trial of Fairfield teacher accused of sex crimes

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 2:14 PM


            Tyler Conrad, the Fairfield High School teacher charged with two counts of sexual battery, sexual imposition, and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a minor, appears with his attorney Christopher Pagan in Butler County court. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

A 16-year-old Fairfield High School student testified today for more than 90 minutes that teacher Tyler Conrad touched her inappropriately in his classroom and at a Ross Twp. home.

Conrad, 27, of Hamilton, is charged with two counts of sexual battery, sexual imposition and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His bench trial began this morning.

FIRST REPORT: Trial begins for Fairfield teacher accused of sex with student

Conrad and the girl exchanged more than 2,000 text messages and 70 calls during an inappropriate relationship in 2016, according to Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Heile.

Defense attorney Christopher Pagan said there was no inappropriate relationship involving the teen and his client and grilled the girl on her statement to investigators versus her testimony today in court.

The girl said she told told a church youth leader about the incidents with Conrad after attending a church program in the fall of 2016. That leader reported the incidents and the investigation began.

MORE: Fairfield teacher Tyler Conrad accused of sex crimes waives jury trial

The teen said at first Conrad would rub her shoulder and her leg. When the end of the school year came, Conrad put his number in the girl’s cell phone, saying that she could call him on his birthday.

“He said, ‘I don’t know how I am going to go the whole summer without you,’ ” the girl testified.

Conrad constantly asked to pick her up, she said, and finally she agreed.

The girl said in the summer of 2016, Conrad picked her up from the pool and took her to a house in Ross Twp.

EXCLUSIVE: Evidence questioned in Fairfield teacher Tyler Conrad’s alleged sex crime

“He kissed me on the couch, then carried me into the bedroom,” the teen said.

The girl said Conrad touched her on the outside of her private area. She was uncomfortable and he stopped, she said.

Twice during the 2016 school year, the teen said Conrad put his hand in her private area, making penetration, the teen said.

“He always knew when I was uncomfortable with something and stopped,” the girl said.

MORE: Fairfield moves toward firing Tyler Conrad, teacher accused of sex with student

During cross-examination, Pagan sifted through transcripts from the girl’s interview with police and social workers in which she did not give the same details.

Pagan pointed out the teen is an “excellent student” and asked her if she could remember any dates of the incidents or even a range of dates.

She could not.

The girl said at first she did not tell police the whole truth.

“It wasn’t necessarily that I was lying. I was scared to tell the truth,” the teen said.

3-day drug binge allegedly ended in attempted murder

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 1:36 PM


            Larry J. Fields, 38, of Salem Twp., faces attempted murder and felonious assault charges.Michelle Hofmann, 33, of Blanchester, is charged as a co-defendant with tampering with evidence.

A Warren County man is charged with attempting to murder a man who was staying with him after three days awake on methamphetamine, according to court records.

MORE: Methamphetamine allegedly mailed in DVR boxes

Larry J. Fields, 38, of Salem Twp., also faces two counts of felonious assault, according to indictments filed Monday in Warren County.

Michelle Hofmann, 33, of Blanchester, is charged as a co-defendant with tampering with evidence.

MORE: Lebanon man indicted for methamphetamine trafficking, other charges

They are charged in connection with the alleged attempted murder of Charles Burke, according to an affidavit filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

The affidavit is part of a search warrant filed as part of an investigation of the April 22 incident.

RELATED: SWAT team arrests two after Warren County shooting

“Burke said Fields had been using methamphetamine and has been awake for approximately three days,” according to the warrant filed by Detective Jay Henning of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

MORE: Who are Miami Valley’s Most Wanted?

Burke was shot in the neck and back with a handgun during an argument, according to the court documents.

Hofmann was indicted on one count of tampering with evidence.

SOCIAL MEDIA:Follow Lawrence Budd on Twitter

Burke was taken to Bethesda North Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, deputies said on April 22.

Fields and Hofmann were arrested after members of the Warren County Tactical Response Unit forced entry into Fields’ home on Ohio 123.

Two others in the home were arrested on outstanding warrants, according to reports in April.

Fields and Hofmann are scheduled for arraignment at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Warren County Common Pleas Court.