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Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 1:04 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 2:06 PM
WARREN COUNTY — Arguments previously stricken by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II from the defense motion to move the Brooke Skylar Richardson case out of the county are now part of the case file.
The un-redacted document was filed Monday in which defense attorneys Charles H. and Charles M. Rittgers say a “premature and completely false opinion by the state’s expert forensic anthropologist that Brooke Skylar Richardson’s baby Annabelle was burned before burial ignited a media and social media firestorm.”
The defense team says the damage is done and a fair trial for the Carlisle teen in Warren County is not possible.
“What started as an 18-year-old high school girl who was frightened and saddened because of giving birth to a stillborn baby whom she named Annabelle and then telling her doctor of the stillbirth and burial in the backyard turned into something sinister and grotesque because of the inaccurate and false opinion by the state’s forensic anthropologist. Although this false opinion was subsequently retracted, the damage remains” the defense team states in the motion.
The defense says the county prosecutor, relying on inaccurate information given to him at the time he presented their case to a grand jury, held a press conference shortly after indictment where remarks about Richardson burning the baby were made.
Included in the court document are several media reports in which Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell talks about the burning.
The defense team said when the prosecutor made the statements, he did not know the “facts regarding Skylar’s mental health, eating disorders and fears.”
According to the defense, a state’s forensic anthropologist retracted the first opinion and then the prosecution sought a second opinion.
“The second forensic anthropologist, who was retained by the prosecutor’s office, confirmed that Annabelle was not burned and confirmed there were ‘no signs of burning’ and no trauma ‘that could be related to the cause of death of this individual,’” the defense wrote in the motion. The second forensic anthropologist consulted is Dr. Krista Latham.
Oda has denied the motion for change of venue, ruling voir dire of the potential jurors will have to take place to determine if pre-trial publicity has had any impact on the jury pool.
“Only after the voir dire process will the court and the parties be able to determine the impact, if any, of pretrial publicity. This issue will be revisited in the event a jury cannot be seated,” Oda wrote.
Oda previously issued a gag order stopping public comments by attorneys and parties involved in the case, but that ruling was overturned last week by the 12th District Court of Appeals.
Richardson remains free on a $50,000 bond and under court-ordered house arrest that was a condition of her release. Her trial is scheduled to begin in April.
Published: Monday, February 26, 2018 @ 4:34 PM
— A Dayton man pleaded guilty Monday to aggravated vehicular homicide in the 2016 crash of two vehicles fleeing separate attempted traffic stops.
Benny Jewett IV, 23, was to go on trial on six counts related to the May 7, 2016 death of Tyler Cross, 22, of Dayton. Cross was a passenger in a vehicle driven by Steven Swain.
Instead, Jewett pleaded guilty to three counts — vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer — in exchange for three counts being dismissed.
Jewett is scheduled to be sentenced March 20.
Heroin was found in both vehicles, one of which was stolen, according to police accounts. A handgun also was found in one vehicle. The crash happened at Ruth and Jerome avenues.
Dayton Maj. Matt Carper said in 2016 that out of concern for public safety, officers did not pursue either vehicle after they sped away from separate, attempted traffic stops.
The first attempted traffic stop was of a silver Toyota reported stolen out of Harrison Twp.
Carper said the Toyota nearly struck a police cruiser. The officer tried to stop the vehicle but it sped away and the officer did not pursue.
Around the same time in a separate incident, police attempted to stop a gray Chrysler for minor traffic violations and it sped away. Carper said the officer did not pursue the Chrysler, which was a rental car with New York license plates.
The two cars collided when the Chrysler, heading north on Ruth Avenue, T-boned the silver Toyota, which was traveling at a high rate of speed eastbound on Jerome Avenue, Carper said then.
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 2:17 PM
California’s attorney general responded to Brock Turner’s appeal effort in a filing made public Monday, arguing the Ohio sex offender was not deprived of due process or victim to prosecutorial misconduct during his 2016 trial.
In the 95-page court brief reviewed by the Dayton Daily News, the state’s attorney said Turner’s “claims of error all lack merit” and “could not — separately or together — infringe” on the Oakwood High School graduate’s legal rights.
Turner’s new attorney, Eric Multhaup, filed a 172-page appeal in December seeking to clear his client of a conviction stemming from the January 2015 assault of a 22-year-old woman while Turner was a student and swimmer at Stanford University.
The appeal argued Turner was deprived of due process and alleged prosecutorial misconduct — in part by the use of the word “dumpster” in describing the location of the assault — as reasons he should receive a new trial. Multhaup did not respond to a request for comment Monday.
A jury found Turner guilty on three felony counts: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person, and penetration of an unconscious person. Turner was sentenced by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky to six months in jail, but served three months of the sentence.
The case — and Turner’s sentence — sparked a nationwide controversy and wide-ranging discussions about sexual assaults on college campuses.
The state argues there was “substantial evidence from which a rational jury could find appellant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of all three charges.”
“That evidence included testimony by two independent eyewitnesses who saw appellant ‘thrusting’ on top of the victim half-naked and as she lay unresponsive on the ground,” the state’s brief said.
Turner’s attorney argued his client “was deprived of due process, a fair trial, and his right to present a defense” when the judge restricted testimony from four individuals with Dayton-area ties: Turner’s friend, an ex-girlfriend and two swim coaches.
Multhaup argued the court erroneously restricted the testimony of the four “to the trait of sexual non-aggression relevant to his conduct at the time of the offense … and excluded it as to appellant’s honesty and veracity.”
California’s response disputes Multhaup’s claim, arguing Turner’s “reputation for veracity among those who knew and liked him in high school was not the primary, or even a relevant, issue in the case.”
Multhaup also claimed prosecutors “malevolently” used the phrase “behind-the-dumpster” to describe the location of the incident because it implied Turner wanted to shield the incident from view and because “it implied moral depravity, callousness, and culpability on the appellant’s part…”
The state again disputed Multhaup’s claim, arguing Turner himself said the encounter occurred behind a dumpster.
California Deputy Attorney General Alisha Carlile filed the state’s brief Friday in California’s 6th Appellate District Court.
An Oakwood native, Turner is serving a three-year probation. He now lives in Greene County and is a Tier III sex offender, according to Ohio’s sex offender registry. The designation means he is required to register with the county every 90 days.
Read more stories from the Dayton Daily News:
Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 9:20 AM
Updated: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 10:36 AM
UPDATE @ 10:20 a.m.: Patrick O’Donnell, the former Indian Lake superintendent who pleaded to a count of gross sexual imposition, will spend more than four years in prison.
He was sentenced today to 54 months in prison. He also will have to register as a Tier Two sex offender upon his release from prison.
FIRST POST: The former Indian Lake superintendent who pleaded to a count of gross sexual imposition will be sentenced this morning.
Patrick O’Donnell who was found guilty after entering an Alford plea just before opening arguments in the trial against him were to begin last month.
He faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He will also have to register as a sex offender for 25 years.
An Alford plea isn’t an admission of guilt, defense attorney Sam Shamansky said, but a plea that accepts its punishment.
O’Donnell had faced 14 child-sex related charges, including rape, gross sexual imposition and sexual battery. He entered the Alford plea to one count of gross sexual imposition and the rest of the charges were dismissed as part of a plea deal.
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Published: Monday, March 19, 2018 @ 3:14 PM
MIDDLETOWN — A 29-year-old Middletown man is accused of forging 26 checks and making cash withdrawals from a 93-year-old neighbor’s account worth $8,500 in late 2015 and early 2016.
A list issued today by the Warren County Prosecutor’s office indicates Shawn M. Hill was indicted on two counts of theft from a person in a protected class and 26 counts of forgery.
County Prosecutor David Fornshell said Hill also asked to borrow money while awaiting a settlement from a dog-bite case, “providing forged documentation indicating he was going to receive significant settlement proceeds.”
The neighbor loaned him $34,000, only to learn “there never was a dog-bite settlement” and was never repaid, Fornshell added in a text message.
Fornshell said the loan problem was discovered first, the other allegations later after further investigation.