Doctor in starvation death case withdraws plea

Published: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 @ 9:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 @ 5:00 PM

A doctor involved in the case of a teen who died of starvation withdrew her no contest plea in court Wednesday morning.

Margaret Edwards was supposed to be sentenced Wednesday on three misdemeanor counts of failure to provide for a functionally impaired person to which she pleaded no contest April 12. Instead she retained a new lawyer and said she wished to withdraw her plea.

Edwards, 51, of Trotwood, is the last of five people to be criminally prosecuted in connection with the 14-year-old’s starvation death.

Makayla Norman, who had cerebral palsy, could not speak, move, or feed herself. She weighed 28 pounds when she died March 1, 2011.

Norman’s mother and her nurse are already serving prison terms. Two other nurses who were to supervise her care have also been convicted of felonies.

Fight over parking spot turns into deadly shooting in Florida, police say

Published: Monday, May 29, 2017 @ 5:49 PM

Stock photo of a parking lot in South Beach, Florida.
Jane Sweeney/Getty Images

A shooting in Miami Beach on Sunday night left two dead and one injured in what allegedly started as a fight over a parking spot. 

Two men were shot around 10:30 p.m. on a street in South Beach by suspects in a white BMW, the Miami Herald reported. One of the victims succumbed to his injuries at a local hospital on Monday. 

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The four suspects in the BMW fled the scene and led Miami police on a brief pursuit until they crashed at an intersection, damaging two police cars, police said. 

Police said they then had an altercation with the suspects, and one of the four suspects was shot by an officer. The suspect later died at a local hospital.

Officers arrested the suspects, who have been identified as New York residents, the Herald reports. Police have not released the names of those involved.

Miami police are investigating the incident as a homicide, according to the Herald. Police said that two Miami Beach police officers involved in the shooting have been put on administrative leave. 

Attorney: Asbestos lawsuit doesn’t really involve garden center owners

Published: Monday, May 29, 2017 @ 11:35 AM


            The lawsuit against the owners of the North Dayton Garden Center involving asbestos doesn’t really involve them, according to their attorney.
            STAFF/File

The lawsuit against the owners of the North Dayton Garden Center involving asbestos doesn’t really involve them, according to their attorney.

The lawsuit filed by Dan Powers Construction in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court names Shirley and Peter Kossoudji, Kossoudji Enterprises, EZ Transport LLC and various John and Jane Does as defendants.

RELATED: Company sues garden center owners for $10 million in asbestos dispute

The attorney for Dan Powers has alleged that the Kossoudjis didn’t disclose that asbestos was included in debris the construction company hauled away. The company has asked for $10 million in damages, alleging that Powers’ business is now banned from multiple dump sites.

But the property where the ground-up asbestos was — a different site than where the North Dayton Garden Center is now — was in the process of being sold. Kossoudji’s attorney said Mured Shakhpndarov, the new prospective owner, is the one who contracted with Powers.

“Mured (Shakhpndarov) and his company contracted with Dan Powers to basically scrape the top couple inches off and haul it away, so there was no contract ever between Dan Powers and Kossoudji,” attorney Matthew Sorg said. “It was between the subsequent buyer and Dan Powers.”

RELATED: Story behind North Dayton Garden Center’s legendary jingle

The property in question at 1927 Troy St. in Dayton was the site of part of the garden center a half-century ago, but a third party ground up a greenhouse that included some asbestos.

Sorg said Shakhpndarov signed the contract to have it cleaned up before he closed on buying the property, which he was going to use to park semis.

“He didn’t wait one week, even though the contract hadn’t gone under closing yet, that’s why the Kossoudji’s were still in it, technically, even though they had nothing to do with the contracts,” Sorg said. “He just kind of jumped the gun.”

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Powers’ attorney Harrison Green has asked to amend his complaint, but the Kossoudjis are still included as defendants. Sorg declined to comment on the record about that decision.

The amended complaint lists Ramiz Ukhtiyayev as the statutory agent for EZ Transport LLC.

Sorg said the property on Troy Street has been remediated according to Regional Air Pollution Control Agency standards. Sorg said he will try to get the lawsuit dismissed.

No arrest in Springfield shooting, victim recovering in hospital

Published: Monday, May 29, 2017 @ 11:30 AM


            No arrest has been made in a Saturday night shooting that caused a 21-year-old to be transported to Miami Valley Hospital and Springfield police continue to investigate it.

No arrest has been made in a Saturday night shooting that caused a 21-year-old to be transported to Miami Valley Hospital and Springfield police continue to investigate it.

A police report indicates authorities were called to the 1700 block of Rutland Avenue about 8:30 p.m. because gunshots were heard. They said they learned when they arrived at the scene that someone had been shot and was taken to the Springfield Regional Medical Center by his father.

RELATED: Man shot in hand, leg during large fight in Springfield

The gunshot wound was serious, police said, and the victim, Joe Gohl, was later transported to Miami Valley Regional Hospital.

“(The father) stated he saw (the suspect) holding a small black handgun that had a chrome ejection port,” the police report says. “(The father) watched the (suspect) shoot the firearm four times while standing in the street at Gohl, striking him in the right hand and his upper right thigh causing serious injury.”

MORE CRIME: One dead in Springfield shooting, police continue investigation

The report says when questioned by police, Gohl refused to cooperate. He was listed in fair condition Monday morning, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

MORE CRIME: 9-1-1 call in fatal Springfield shooting details sister finding victim

A warrant has been requested for the suspect, according to the police report, but as of Tuesday morning, no one had been arrested.

Oxford court may move or be shut down

Published: Saturday, May 27, 2017 @ 7:00 AM

Area I Court in Oxford would be moved to Hamilton or abolished under a proposal by county prosecutor Michael Gmoser (pictured). GREG LYNCH/STAFF

Area I Court in Oxford would be moved to Hamilton or abolished under a proposal by Buter County prosecutor Michael Gmoser, which would force the city into a difficult decision about how and where to have cases tried.

That issue still remains in the future, but a more immediate one also has been raised by Gmoser, who informed city officials his staff would no longer prosecute cases cited under city ordinance beginning in July.

City Manager Doug Elliott told City Council about the prosecutor’s letter at the May 2 meeting and then spoke again on the topic at the May 16 meeting.

“As of July 1, he said his staff would no longer prosecute (offenses charged under) our ordinances. He feels he has no obligation to prosecute them,” Elliott said. “We could cite under state code, not city ordinance but we would lose money. We get half now and it would cost about $40,000 to $50,000 per year. We’re going to need to work this out.”

Gmoser told this news outlet, through research of the current area court system his staff determined “not only do I not have the obligation, we do not have the jurisdiction to prosecute cases under city ordinances.”

He said a consolidation of the area court system would be a cost savings that he has been exploring for a couple years. Gmoser added Oxford is unique because of its collage population that may warrant a municipal or even a mayors court to hear city cases.

In his follow-up report May 16, the city manager told Council he was recommending the city cite offenses under state code where possible which would allow the county prosecutor’s staff to handle Oxford cases but the bigger issue remains of Gmoser’s plan to go to a municipal court scenario and do away with the part-time area courts.

Gmoser’s April 25 letter cited an Ohio Revised Code provision he says prohibits him from prosecuting municipal ordinance cases in area court.

“If Oxford had a municipal court, I could do so by contract. Because Oxford has no municipal court, a remedy by a contract is not available under this statute,” Gmoser wrote to Elliott, saying it would take effect in July. “If this does go into effect, violations will have to be charged under the state code where I do have jurisdiction and the requirement to prosecute and the consequential financial loss to the city.”

The letter outlines a proposal to abolish all three area courts in the county and to establish two municipal courts, one on the east side of the county and the other on the west side of Hamilton, to which Oxford cases could be sent. The city would also have the option — and expense — of establishing its own municipal court.

Elliott told Council merging into that Hamilton court would still have costs and also would require police officers to go there to testify.

Forming a court in Oxford could be an expensive proposition, too, as it likely would require a new location rather than using the Courthouse building on West High Street. Ohio Supreme Court requirements for court security likely would demand that.

Gmoser’s letter also noted the city could return to a mayor’s court as it had for many years before an agreement to have Area I Court hear city cases.

“(W)ith the move to Hamilton, you may wish to consider establishing a mayor’s court to handle all of your ordinance violations leaving the Area court to handle felony cases, domestic violence cases and second-offense OVI cases which cannot be heard in a mayor’s court. A magistrate, clerk staff and your law director acting as prosecutor will be necessary for the operation of that court, but you will have the facility you now rent to the county,” the letter said. “You may also adopt a diversion program. Presently, my diversion program for the Area I Court receives program fees in excess of $80,000 per year with very little administrative expense.”

Gmoser also noted Miami University is a “renewable resource” for that diversion program and that money would help defray the expense of a mayor’s court or municipal court and that the Ohio Supreme Court will share the cost of a part- or full-time municipal court judge, but not a mayor’s court.

Mayor Kate Rousmaniere responded to Elliott’s May 2 comments saying the city first needed to deal with the July 1 deadline for handling prosecution of cases cited under city ordinance and then face the greater question.

“There are reasons to have a municipal court,” she said. “We need to look at that.”

On May 16, the city manager said he would like to see the county’s proposal for changes to the court system and decide from there. Gmoser’s suggestion of merging the area courts was originally made two years ago, Elliott explained but came up again in the April 25 letter he received from the prosecutor.

“(The proposal for a municipal court) is based on savings to the county, but at the expense of the City of Oxford,” Elliott told Council May 16.