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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.

Thief unwittingly leaves wallet, photo ID at crime scene

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 11:00 PM

A thief unwittingly turned himself in after leaving his wallet behind after leaving a Dayton store.

Police said they were dispatched to Dollar General on 2312 N. Main St. in Dayton around 8 a.m. Saturday, and found a wallet left behind by one of the suspects. Police found several items with the suspect’s name on them, including a photo ID. 

The second suspect was identified as a heavyset man between 30 and 40, wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt. The suspect ran away on foot south through the nearby alley, appearing to have several items hidden under his sweatshirt. 

According to reports, police found hangers with five children’s outfits near the wallet, as well as three packs of Ivory soap and a Halloween mask.

Dayton K-9 unit searching for armed robbery suspect

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 9:32 AM
Updated: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 10:31 AM

UPDATE @ 10:32 a.m.

Police continue to search for the suspect in a reported armed robbery at a Dayton Dollar General Saturday morning.

Dispatchers said police have yet to find a person matching the description of the suspect.

INITIAL REPORT

Dayton police are searching for a man who reportedly robbed a South Gettysburg business at gunpoint Saturday morning, according to dispatchers. 

Crews were dispatched to the Dollar General at 888 South Gettysburg Avenue around 9:12 on a reported armed robbery. 

Initial reports indicate a man in a black ball cap robbed the store and left on foot in an unknown direction. 

Dispatchers reported police are using a K-9 unit to search for the suspect in the area. 

We will continue to follow updates in this developing story.

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

Florida man arrested after bombs, ammo, school maps found in home

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 9:55 PM

Bombs, Ammo, School Maps Found In Florida Home, Man Arrested

A Florida man was arrested after homemade bombs, an AK-47 assault rifle, ammunition and school maps were discovered inside his bedroom. 

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said in a news conference Thursday that deputies were set to search the home Randall Drake, 24, of Dunedin, Florida, shared with his parents for a child pornography investigation.

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During a search of Drake’s bedroom on Wednesday, authorities said detectives found explosives and numerous firearms in a locked closet, The Associated Press reported.

The weapons included the following:

  • An AK-47 rifle with a 60-round clip
  • A .308-caliber rifle
  • A .50-caliber pistol
  • A 12-gauge shotgun
  • Numerous other handguns
  • About 15 knives
  • A baseball bat with protruding nails in it 
  • A crossbow
  • Brass knuckles
  • A container of gunpowder
  • More than 2,300 rounds of ammunition
  • Three incendiary devices
  • A homemade silencer
  • Tactical vests

Detectives also said they found a map and aerial images of an elementary and middle school in Tampa, Florida, as well as the Hillsborough County Water Treatment Plant. According to deputies, journals and a handwritten letter that talked about revenge were also discovered.

In this undated photo released by the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, a weapons cache is shown in the home of Randall Drake.(Pinellas County Sheriff's Office via AP/AP)

Gualtieri said his office is trying to figure out why Drake had the incendiary devices and what he was going to do with them.

Drake has since posted $20,000 bond. He faces two charges of unlawfully making, possessing or attempting to make a destructive device.

Dayton thief drops T-bone steaks down his shorts

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 4:37 AM

Police are searching for a man who dropped three T-bone steaks down his shorts.

Officers were dispatched at 8:40 p.m. Friday to Groceryland, 1451 Troy St. in Dayton to a report of a theft.

The store manager told police he was walking down the meat aisle when he became suspicious by the behavior of a man talking to another customer. The manager later saw the man run out the front entrance. He ran after him, but lost sight of him after he went behind the store, according to a Dayton police report.

The manager showed police surveillance video footage, which shows the thief grab three T-bone steaks, which each cost between $10 and $20. Then, in a different aisle, the suspect places the steaks down his shorts, the report stated.

No arrests have been made.