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Death penalty upheld for man in Fairfield murder, killing of witness

Published: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 @ 12:20 PM


            Calvin McKelton, right, talks with his attorney Greg Howard during trial proceedings in 2010 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton, Ohio. McKelton is accused of killing Missy Allen, a Fairfield attorney, as well as a witness. FILE PHOTO/STAFF
            Staff photo by Nick Daggy
Calvin McKelton, right, talks with his attorney Greg Howard during trial proceedings in 2010 in Butler County Common Pleas Court in Hamilton, Ohio. McKelton is accused of killing Missy Allen, a Fairfield attorney, as well as a witness. FILE PHOTO/STAFF(Staff photo by Nick Daggy)

The death penalty for a Cincinnati man convicted of killing a Fairfield attorney and a witness to her fatal strangulation has been upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court.

In 2010, Calvin McKelton, now 39, was convicted of the 2008 murder of Margaret “Missy” Allen, his girlfriend and criminal defense attorney who previously represented him, and of the 2009 murder of Germaine “Mick” Evans. McKelton received the death penalty after being convicted of the specification that he murdered Evans to prevent his testimony at trial.

Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger wrote the majority opinion finding evidence showed that McKelton was properly convicted of murdering a friend who helped him cover up a murder and that the aggravating circumstances supporting the death penalty outweighed the mitigating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice William M. O’Neill wrote that McKelton’s death sentence should be dismissed and that he should receive a new mitigation hearing because his attorneys did not hire a mitigation expert to present McKelton’s case for sentencing him to life in prison.

According to facts of the case, Allen’s body was found July 27, 2008, in a wooded area of Schmidt Field Park in Cincinnati. The Hamilton County Coroner’s Office ruled the 37-year-old died of asphyxiation by strangulation.

A piece of plastic resembling a shower-curtain liner was around Allen’s thighs and a bag of counterfeit drugs lay near her body. A coroner’s report found that she died from strangulation, and when police searched her home, they found a long piece of weed-cutter cord on the floor. The shower curtain was on a hallway floor with no sign of a liner.

Allen was last seen July 24, 2008, by her childhood friend and law partner Rodney Harris, three days before her body was found in a decomposed state. Then Hamilton County coroner’s Coroner Dr. O’Dell Owens said he relied on dental records, tattoos and surgical scars to determine the body’s identity.

McKelton was living with Allen and her two nieces at the time of her death, and the girls testified the couple had physically violent arguments. Allen also kept a handwritten notebook and a computer document that chronicled her physical abuse.

Fairfield police interviewed McKelton, who refused to answer most of their questions, and they took fingerprints, DNA samples and fingernail scrapings. The DNA samples were not consistent with the DNA collected from Allen’s fingernails.

Months later, police learned that Evans was a possible eyewitness. A friend of Evans testified that Evans told him he was at Allen’s house when he heard Allen and McKelton fighting in another room and then saw McKelton choking Allen. When she became unresponsive, the men tried to stage a robbery scene and set fire to the house. The two then wrapped up Allen’s body and drove to a wooded area to dispose of it.

Evans’ body was later found in a city park, and a coroner’s report determined that he was killed with a single gunshot wound to the back of the head, possibly two or three days earlier.

Along with friends of Evans, three informants charged with other offenses testified that McKelton admitted to the murders.

The defense did not present any witnesses during the first phase of the trial, and the jury convicted McKelton of all but the charge of intimidation of a witness.

After the mitigation stage and the jury recommendation, the trial court sentenced McKelton to death for the aggravated murder of Evans, 15 years to life in prison for the murder of Allen, and 25 years for the remaining convictions.

McKelton appealed his conviction and sentence, claiming his state and U.S. constitution rights were violated because he was deprived of a fair trial. He maintained the violations included the state’s nondisclosure of eight witnesses until the evening before the trial, which left his defense attorneys unprepared for effective cross-examination. He also argued that his counsel provided ineffective assistance during the trial and mitigation stages.

The majority of the supreme court justices disagreed, and MeKelton’s conviction as well as sentence has been upheld.

Neighbors heartbroken over 2-month-old boy’s death

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 2:03 PM
Updated: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 11:30 PM

Dayton 2-month-old found dead in home

In what appears to be a tragic accident, a Dayton family is grieving the loss of a 2-month-old boy.

“To hear something like that is real said,” said D.J. Hopgood. He knew something was wrong Saturday morning after he looked out the window of his Bowen Street home.

“Looked outside and I see about two to three cruisers up the street, which is kind of odd for this neighborhood,” he said.

Police and medics rushed to a home in the 600 block of Bowen Street around 8:30 a.m.; the baby’s grandmother called 911 immediately after she found him unresponsive. He was pronounced dead at 8:37 a.m. by Dayton medics. His body was then taken to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, where his cause of death is pending.

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“It’s a shame, it’s a big surprise,” said another neighbor, Todd Pedicord. As a father, he said it’s difficult to hear that news from just up the street.

“It’s terrible. I can’t Imagine what the parents are going through,” he said.

The baby’s mother told police when she returned home from work at midnight, Silas already was asleep on a love seat so she lay down on a couch to sleep. She checked him at 3 a.m., and he was fine. But when Silas’ grandmother got up to check on him at 8:30 a.m., she found him on his belly. She rolled him over, but he was cold to the touch, according to a Dayton police report.

The infant’s mother and grandmother said he had no illnesses or known health issues.

An investigator with the coroner’s office said an autopsy has not been performed, and that a preliminary cause of death was not available.

Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.

Police: Florida man drives through bedroom with 3 children inside

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 1:50 PM

The wreckage is seen after a Florida man allegedly plowed through a bedroom with three children inside early Saturday, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
WFTV
The wreckage is seen after a Florida man allegedly plowed through a bedroom with three children inside early Saturday, the Florida Highway Patrol said.(WFTV)

A Florida man is facing a charge of reckless driving after plowing through a bedroom with three children inside early Saturday, the Florida Highway Patrol said. 

Johnny Woodberry, 44, was driving a 2005 Cadillac in Cocoa around 2 a.m. when he lost control of the vehicle and drove into the house, troopers told WFTV
>> Read more trending news 

The three children were asleep inside the bedroom when the car drove through it, but troopers said they only sustained minor injuries.

Troopers said the children were transported to Wuestoff Hospital and later released, WFTV reported. 

Trenton police search for Fifth Third Bank robber

Published: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 1:40 PM
Updated: Saturday, December 16, 2017 @ 2:08 PM

Man reportedly robbed Fifth Third Bank on Saturday

Trenton police are searching for a man who robbed the Fifth Third Bank on Saturday morning.

Police said the suspect in the robbery reported just after 10:20 a.m. is a white man with a gray jacket, sunglasses and an orange Titleist ball hat. The bank is located at 805 State St.

MORE: Man in van tried to lure Hamilton kids with promise of ice cream, residents tell police

The man was reported to have fled on foot westbound behind the Lee’s Famous Recipe and possibly got into a vehicle near Hathaway Drive.

Police are continuing their investigation. Anyone with information about the robbery is urged to call the Trenton Police Department at 513-988-6341 or call Detective Sean Gill at 513-428-0129.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

OVI check: Passenger zooms off in car, crashes as driver takes sobriety tests

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 10:47 PM

Dayton OVI crash

A passenger in a car detained at an OVI checkpoint Friday night hopped in the driver’s seat, took off and crashed into a pole while the driver was taking a sobriety test.

The driver was held for testing around 10 p.m. at a Montgomery County OVI Task Force check in the area of Salem and Hillcrest avenues in Dayton.

That’s when one of his two passengers got in the driver’s seat and drove off, Sgt. Matt Robinson of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Dayton Post said.

The four-door sedan then crashed into a pole in the 3300 block of North Main Street. The car glanced off the pole into the middle of the street, blocking the southbound lanes of North Main Street, which was covered in debris.

The two occupants bailed and evaded capture. However, the detained driver provided police with their names.

Law enforcement that responded to the scene included the highway patrol, Dayton police and Montgomery County deputies.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com.