Dog mauling victim feared for her life

Published: Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 1:15 PM
Updated: Monday, February 10, 2014 @ 9:35 PM


            Andrew Nason, 28, and Julie Custer, 25, both of Dayton.
Andrew Nason, 28, and Julie Custer, 25, both of Dayton.

Klonda Richey, killed in a dog mauling Friday morning, regularly filed complaints about her next-door neighbors and their dogs and made numerous statements that she feared for her life.

"If you want to hurt me, shoot or stab me. Leave cats in peace," Richey apparently wrote in an undated letter to her neighbors Julie Custer, 25, and Andrew Nason, 28, 35 E. Bruce Ave. The letter was included in hundreds of pages of court documents, a civil complaint order and other complaints and dispatch logs from the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center and Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center.

The paper trail obtained by News Center 7 and the Dayton Daily News documents a consistent effort by Richey, 57, to call attention to what she considered threats to her safety. The dogs were never removed from the home as a result of her many complaints.

She was naked when her body was found in the snow Feb. 7 outside her home, 31 E. Bruce Ave., by a passer-by. When police arrived, two mixed-Mastiff breeds charged at them, prompting the officers to shoot and kill them.

Custer and Nason, owners of the dogs responsible for the mauling, were arrested Friday. They were released from jail Sunday evening.

"Due to the complex nature of the laws concerning animals, we just felt that at this point it would be better off to get our ducks in a row before we proceeded any further," Dayton Sgt. Richard Blommel said, explaining why Custer and Nason were released. "We're still investigating and we'll meet again with the prosecutors when they feel that we have enough to move forward for an indictment."

Meantime, detectives are trying to determine what led the dogs — identified by the county coroner's office as Cane Corsos, a breed in the Mastiff family — to fatally maul Richey.

News Center 7 and the Dayton Daily News have learned that Richey filed complaints with the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center and sought a civil stalking protection order denied by a magistrate in February 2013. Richey appealed, but was denied by Judge Michael Krumholtz in April 2013.

Custer and Nason, in the protection order, stated that Richey had been harassing them.

"At one point she also stated to Andrew Nason 'the world would be better off [if] you died,' Custer wrote in a letter to the court as part of the protection order documents.

Richey, who worked for Montgomery County's Job & Family Services, regularly called the regional dispatch center in the past two years with concerns about Custer and Nason and numerous complaints about the dogs running loose in the neighborhood. Many of the complaints, dating as far back as 2012, were called in by an anonymous female who said the dogs were loose and charged at her. Other complaints involved the dogs barking or not having adequate food.

In one report from March 16, 2013, a woman called the ARC to report that the mailman would not longer deliver mail to the street until a loose dog was taken care of.

"The dog has come after (the complainant) before and she states that now (the owner) will let his dog loose to go after her and her cats," the report states. The ARC employee who handled that report noted that ARC officials left a warning on the door of 35 E. Bruce after knocking and receiving no answer. They could hear a dog barking inside.

Friends of Richey described her as an animal lover and dedicated volunteer in Montgomery County's Republican Party.

Monday night, Ted Richey, of Indianapolis, said he tried for years to persuade his sister to move out of the neighborhood. He said his sister kept a large number of cats in her home, which brought her attention.

"She had a cat door, if they were outdoor cats they could come and go… Some neighbors, especially when houses are close together like that, don't appreciate that," Ted Richey said. "She had some run-ins with neighbors, but I certainly didn't expect anything like this to come of it.

"She considered it as much of the cat's house as it was hers. That was their home and there wasn't any reason she should leave just because some of the neighbors didn't like her cats. She could be stubborn in those kind of things," he said.

The autopsy on Klonda Richey was performed Saturday by the coroner's office, which said Monday that she died of blood loss.

"The injuries were severe and multiple," Coroner Kent Harshbarger said. "This is one of the worst that we've ever seen."

The crime lab is working to match dental impressions left on the body with the teeth of the two dogs. Their carcasses have been preserved as evidence.

"We want to be able to say without a doubt, these two animals were involved, and that both animals were involved and not just one," Harshbarger said.

The licensed dogs belonged to Custer, who lived at the single-family home at 35 E. Bruce Ave. with Nason, according to police.

Said Blommel of Nason: "He is just as responsible for them as she is."

Owners have the responsibility to make sure their dogs are confined and that they abide by licensing and restraining laws, said Blommel, who noted the fencing at 35 E. Bruce was not secure.

Tom Hagel, a professor with the University of Dayton School of Law, said fatal dog bite cases are rare and the prosecution is likely taking extra time to make sure they have the correct charges before proceeding. "The problem is, in cases that are based on reckless behavior, you as a prosecutor have to be able to prove that the defendants knew or had very good reason to know, in this case, that their dogs were a threat to the community and didn't take appropriate actions," he said.

Blommel said the nature of a call about an animal will determine who responds to the complaint.

"If it's an aggressive dog that's chasing people, the police will be sent," Blommel said. "But if it's just dogs barking, dogs running up and down the street, it can go either way. Some people call the Animal Resource Center, some call dispatch. Some they send to them (the center) and some they send to us (police)."

Woman evicted days before her 94th birthday, jailed when she refuses to leave, police say

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 9:21 AM

Woman Evicted and Jailed Days Before Her 94th Birthday, Police Say

93-year-old Eustis woman was in jail Wednesday night after being arrested for allegedly refusing to leave her home at National Church Residences’ Franklin House after being evicted, police said.

>> Read more trending news

Juanita Fitzgerald was jailed just days before her 94th birthday on Friday.

According to a Eustis Police Department arrest report, Fitzgerald had been “made well aware the day prior of her being evicted (Tuesday).”

She was being evicted after falling behind on her rent, police said.

When officers arrived at the senior living facility in the 2400 block of Kurt Street, Fitzgerald was in the lobby.

“After several times telling Juanita to get her belongings and leave, she refused officers’ commands and stated, ‘Unless you carry me out of here, I’m not going anywhere,’” the report said.

Fitzgerald was warned that she would be arrested if she did not leave, but continued to refuse to move.

“Juanita still did not listen and refused to leave, stating again to ‘carry me out of here,’” the report said.

The 5-foot-tall, 100-pound woman purposefully slid onto the floor as officers tried to escort her from the building and allegedly resisted officers’ attempts to lift her up, investigators said.

Fitzgerald was eventually escorted to an officer’s patrol vehicle and taken to the Lake County Jail.

The officer noted that due to her age and possibility of injury, Fitzgerald was not handcuffed.

The Eustice police report said that Franklin House staff offered to help her move, but she refused.

She also refused assistance from the Department of Children and Families, The Homeless Coalition, Department of Elder Affairs and eight other agencies, officers said.

Fitzgerald was being held at the Lake County Jail in lieu of a $500 bond on a charge of trespassing.

Bullets aimed at officers' chests stopped by vests, officials say

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 3:24 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 4:13 PM

St. Louis Police Officers Saved By Bulletproof Vests

A man opened fire on two police officers who were 15 feet away from him on Thursday morning, striking them with bullets that would have hit their chests if not for their bulletproof vests, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The vests might have saved the officers’ lives, KTVI reported. The pair was conscious and speaking Thursday after the shooting in Bellefontaine Neighbors, according to the news station. They were released from a hospital on Thursday afternoon after getting treatment for their injuries, St. Louis County police said.

Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Bob Doerr told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the injured officers were a 44-year-old male sergeant who has worked in law enforcement for “half his life” and a 25-year-old female police officer who was hired in 2014.

"They were wearing their bulletproof vests, so thank God," Doerr old the Post-Dispatch

The officers were injured around 7:30 a.m. after being called Thursday morning to a home in north St. Louis County where a man was suspected of having fired multiple shots on Wednesday night, KTVI reported. Police left the home Wednesday after finding no evidence to continue an investigation, St. Louis County police Sgt. Shawn McGuire told KMOV.

He told the news station that a neighbor called authorities Thursday morning after spotting the man who was suspected of firing the shots. Officers said they found the person walking in the area and tried to talk to him, but St. Louis County police said they were unsuccessful.

“Officers tried to take the suspect into custody, at which time the suspect resisted arrest,” police said. “One of the officers attempted to use a Taser to control the suspect, but was unsuccessful.”

Authorities said the man then pulled out a gun and fired shots at the officers’ chests.

One of the officers returned fire, but it was not immediately clear if the man was hit. He ran into a home, where he barricaded himself for hours before police officers were able to take him into custody Thursday afternoon.

Witness Steve Jones told KMOV he spotted police officers Thursday morning in the front yard of a home on Bellefontaine Road.

“All of a sudden, I (see) ... Bellefontaine officers trying to take this man to the ground, and the next thing I know, this man jumps up off the ground and I see pepper spray being deployed from the officers,” Jones told KMOV. “This man backs up about 15 feet and starts shooting.”

He said he heard several gunshots and saw the officers fall to the ground. He told KMOV he called 911.

Police did not immediately identify the man accused of firing shots at police or either of the injured officers.

Bullets aimed at officers' chests stopped by vests

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 6:35 PM
Updated: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 4:13 PM

Police officers work the scene where two St. Louis County officers were shot and a man barricaded himself inside a home on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in the St. Louis County town of Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo. Officers are trying to negotiate his surrender. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
Robert Cohen/AP
Police officers work the scene where two St. Louis County officers were shot and a man barricaded himself inside a home on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in the St. Louis County town of Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo. Officers are trying to negotiate his surrender. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)(Robert Cohen/AP)

A man opened fire on two police officers who were 15 feet away from him on Thursday morning, striking them with bullets that would have hit their chests if not for their bulletproof vests, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The vests might have saved the officers’ lives, KTVI reported. The pair was conscious and speaking Thursday after the shooting in Bellefontaine Neighbors, according to the news station. They were released from a hospital on Thursday afternoon after getting treatment for their injuries, St. Louis County police said.

Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Bob Doerr told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the injured officers were a 44-year-old male sergeant who has worked in law enforcement for “half his life” and a 25-year-old female police officer who was hired in 2014.

"They were wearing their bulletproof vests, so thank God," Doerr old the Post-Dispatch

The officers were injured around 7:30 a.m. after being called Thursday morning to a home in north St. Louis County where a man was suspected of having fired multiple shots on Wednesday night, KTVI reported. Police left the home Wednesday after finding no evidence to continue an investigation, St. Louis County police Sgt. Shawn McGuire told KMOV.

He told the news station that a neighbor called authorities Thursday morning after spotting the man who was suspected of firing the shots. Officers said they found the person walking in the area and tried to talk to him, but St. Louis County police said they were unsuccessful.

“Officers tried to take the suspect into custody, at which time the suspect resisted arrest,” police said. “One of the officers attempted to use a Taser to control the suspect, but was unsuccessful.”

Authorities said the man then pulled out a gun and fired shots at the officers’ chests.

One of the officers returned fire, but it was not immediately clear if the man was hit. He ran into a home, where he barricaded himself for hours before police officers were able to take him into custody Thursday afternoon.

Witness Steve Jones told KMOV he spotted police officers Thursday morning in the front yard of a home on Bellefontaine Road.

“All of a sudden, I (see) ... Bellefontaine officers trying to take this man to the ground, and the next thing I know, this man jumps up off the ground and I see pepper spray being deployed from the officers,” Jones told KMOV. “This man backs up about 15 feet and starts shooting.”

He said he heard several gunshots and saw the officers fall to the ground. He told KMOV he called 911.

Police did not immediately identify the man accused of firing shots at police or either of the injured officers.

WPAFB sex crime victim ‘thanks’ assailant; sentencing Dec. 27

Published: Thursday, December 14, 2017 @ 3:21 PM

Jordan contends that after a day drinking, he didn’t remember having sex with a woman who was unconscious.

The victim of a December 2015 sexual assault at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base mockingly thanked Kyle Jordan during Thursday’s sentencing hearing.

Jordan, 32, pleaded guilty 11 months ago in Dayton’s U.S. District Court to one count of sexual abuse for having sex with an unconscious woman he supervised at a Temporary Lodging Facility (TLF) during a gathering after both drank alcohol the day of a Christmas party two years ago.

RELATED: Sentencing delayed for Air Force reservist guilty of sex crime on base

U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice scheduled Jordan’s sentencing for Dec. 27.

The woman, younger than 21 at the time of the incident, thanked Jordan for her anxiety, major depression, voices in her head that won’t go away, suicidal thoughts and that she no longer likes Christmas parties.

“I was not as strong as what I am today,” said the woman, identified only by initials in court. “I’m glad I stood up and gave others the strength to stand up.”

PREVIOUS: Air Force reservist pleads guilty to sex crime on base

The woman said she wasn’t sure about going forward with charges because she didn’t want to ruin somebody’s life, but that little did she know her life had been changed forever.

“I want to thank my family more than anything,” she said, her voice shaky. “I’m very proud of everything I’ve done since this.”

The plea agreement Jordan has with prosecutors stipulates a sentence of up to 87 months (7¼ years) in exchange for other charges to be dismissed. The maximum sentence for committing this federal crime is up to life in prison.

RELATED: Air Force reservist accused of sex crime at base faces more charges

Defense attorney Brock Schoenlein said the government is trying to add enhancements that could allow Rice to add to Jordan’s sentence.

In a sentencing memorandum, prosecutors wrote that Jordan denied engaging in a sexual act, that Jordan asked a friend by text to lie by saying the friend stayed at the TLF that night and then asked him to delete the text.

“They have to show that the purpose of that was to misguide or obstruct the federal investigation,” Schoenlein said of his client, whose fiancé was a few weeks away from giving birth to their child. “If he sent the text messages to cover his social situations, that doesn’t make it.”

RELATED: Former corrections officer gets home detention in sex crime case

Prosecutors had written that Jordan had sex with a woman “who was incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct” after a night of heavy drinking during a Christmas party in December 2015.

Jordan, an Air Force veteran and reservist who served in Iraq and Korea and was a one-time Butler County corrections officer, said Thursday that he admitted the crime after prosecutors presented physical evidence.

“Once the government showed me proof of my DNA (inside the victim), I had no other choice,” Jordan said. “I have no reason to dispute what she said,” he said, adding that he decided to “accept the guilty plea because I do believe that is wrong.”

RELATED: Federal sex indictment stems from Christmas party

Schoenlein said his client “doesn’t remember what he is alleged to have done” and therefore he didn’t lie to investigators.

Thursday’s hearing included testimony from investigators from the Air Force and Federal Bureau of Investigation plus the victim’s statement.

Assistant U.S. attorney Amy Smith declined to comment but she said she and/or the victim’s family may make a statement after Jordan is formally sentenced.

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