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5 firms want to study embattled Montgomery County Jail

Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 6:51 AM
Updated: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 1:34 PM

Montgomery Co. Jail Incident Highlighted

Five firms submitted proposals to study operations of the Montgomery County Jail, the focus of a number of lawsuits by former inmates claiming mistreatment already costing the county more than $1 million.

The study is being commissioned by the independent Justice Advisory Committee, tasked with making jail policy, procedural and facility recommendations to the Board of Montgomery County Commissioners.

“We hope that this outside, objective jail consultant will be able to guide us in understanding in more depth than we are able to do on our own all the workings of the jail, all the processes and systems within the jail, so that we can have a clear idea of the recommendations we want to make,” said Rabbi Bernard Barsky, co-chair of justice committee.

RELATED: County spending on jail lawsuits tops $1M

The companies that submitted proposals by the deadline last week are:

- Brandstetter Carroll Inc., Cincinnati

- CGL Companies, Lexington, Ky.

- Federal Engineering, Fairfax, Va.

- KPMG, Denver, Colo.

- Pulitzer/Bogard & Associates, Lido Beach, N.Y.

Joe Spitler, Montgomery County’s criminal justice director, said about a dozen firms attended a mandatory pre-proposal meeting in October. It’s yet unclear how much the county may spend on the report.

Four lawsuits have been settled since August, pushing settlements and legal fees above $1 million. Six others are pending against the jail, including one involving Robert Richardson, who died May 19, 2012. Richardson’s lawsuit alleges several jail employees handcuffed and subdued him on his stomach outside a cell door while he was having a medical emergency.

RELATED: County jail deaths add sense of urgency to advisory group’s review

“We have to end up with significantly fewer lawsuits because taxpayers are paying a lot of money – too much money – to resolve these cases,” Montgomery County Commission President Dan Foley said last month.

Barsky said the committee has yet to review the five proposals. The 10-member justice committee was formed in March to quell calls for a federal civil rights investigation as the number of civil lawsuits against the jail climbed.

SPECIAL REPORT: Justice in the Jailhouse: Lawsuits, accusations plague county jails in the region

Committee members agreed in August to pursue the services of a professional consulting firm to help identify potential problems at the jail and offer possible remedies in a report to the committee before the group makes final recommendations to county commissioners.

The Justice Committee will select the winning proposal, which then must be reviewed by the county administrator and other county offices to find a funding source before any final contract is voted on by the county commission, likely sometime in January, Spitler said.

Montgomery County Jail book-ins number about 26,000 annually. The jail has a capacity of 914 beds, of which approximately 843 are occupied on any given day at a cost of $61.75 per inmate. The female population of the jail averages from 18 to 22 percent of the total population and has been as high as 25 percent, according to sheriff’s department figures.

RELATED: Montgomery County creates jail oversight committee

Montgomery County Jail lawsuit settlements

Four lawsuits of at least 10 cases filed against Montgomery County Jail staff have been settled out of court.

Amber Swink: $375,000, August 2017

Marsha Pate-Strickland: $75,000, Octber 2017

Darryl Wallace: $58,000, November 2017

Emily Evans: $380,000, November 2017

NEW DETAILS: Witness saw husband, wife before her death, sheriff says

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:45 PM

NEW DETAILS: Witness saw husband, wife before her death, sheriff says

Investigators believe they have witnesses who can place a husband at the scene where his wife was found dead in a car, Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said Tuesday.

Randy Freels faces a charge of one count of murder in the death of his wife, Samantha Freels, 52, who was found in a wrecked car with a gunshot wound Friday.

Bail for Randy Freels, 57, was set at $1.5 million Tuesday in Miami County Municipal Court. He pleaded not guilty.

EARLIER: Miami County woman found dead, husband held

Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell asked Judge Gary Nasal to set “a substantial cash bond as high as the court is willing to give. This is based on his conduct and the charge itself.”

Duchak said a check of available department records to 2010 did not show any sheriff’s office calls to the Freels’ residence.

WATCH: Husband gets $1.5M bond in death of Samantha Freels. Randy Freels has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of his wife who was found inside her car last Friday.

One of the witnesses told investigators she stopped on Ohio 55 around 2:50 p.m. Jan. 12 to ask a man and woman in the road if they needed assistance, then heard “six to eight popping sounds” a short time later after pulling into her nearby driveway, according to a sheriff’s office report.

The witness said the woman “appeared nervous and the male did not make eye contact with her and did not speak,” according to the report. The witness, after viewing a photograph, said she believed the woman was Samantha Freels of Union Twp.

MORE: Suspect in 30-hour standoff demanded ‘thousands’ in cash from 10-year-old boy’s mother

Emergency crews were called just after 3 p.m. Friday for a report of a car into a creek in the area of Ohio 55 and Elleman Road — near where the woman had encountered the couple earlier.

Investigators initially thought the driver, Samantha Freels, died because of the crash but later found she had a gunshot wound.

A sheriff’s investigator at the scene noticed a “fresh bullet hole” on the vehicle’s trunk lid.

Randy Freels was arrested Friday evening at the couple’s home on South Rangeline Road.

Duchak said Tuesday that the investigation continues after a search of a car driven by Samantha Freels, a truck also found near the crash scene and registered to Samantha Freels and the Rangeline Road, Ludlow Falls, residence.

The sheriff said numerous weapons were found in the search of the home, including long rifles and pistols. He did not have an exact number but said it would be “in excess of 40.”

“We have several witnesses we believe will place him at the scene,” Duchak said Tuesday.

Samantha Freels was employed as a digital sales specialist for Cox Media Group Ohio, the parent company of WHIO-TV and Dayton Daily News.

Philadelphia Eagles fan punches horse, police officer after ejected from game

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 2:50 PM

Taylor Hendricks, 22, faces multiple charges after he was ejected from Saturday's Philadelphia Eagles game and punched a police horse and mounted officer.
Philadelphia Police Department
Taylor Hendricks, 22, faces multiple charges after he was ejected from Saturday's Philadelphia Eagles game and punched a police horse and mounted officer.(Philadelphia Police Department)

A Philadelphia Eagles fan attacked a horse after being ejected from the Eagles-Falcons playoff game in Philadelphia on Saturday.

>> Read more trending news 

According to WPVI, police said 22-year-old Taylor Hendricks was ejected from the game and became violent as we was leaving. WTXF reported Hendricks struck a mounted police officer in the legs and repeatedly hit the horse in the face and neck.

Police said Hendricks has been charged with aggravated assault, illegally taunting a police horse, simple assault and defiant trespass. He may also face animal cruelty charges.

Manager pleads guilty in Franklin strip club case

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 6:27 PM


            Michael Reese, 37, of Miamisburg, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine, two counts of permitting drug abuse, and illegally operating a sexually oriented business.
Michael Reese, 37, of Miamisburg, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine, two counts of permitting drug abuse, and illegally operating a sexually oriented business.

The manager of a Franklin strip club pleaded guilty on Tuesday to trafficking in cocaine, possession of cocaine, two counts of permitting drug abuse, and illegally operating a sexually oriented business.

Judge Timothy Tepe is to sentence Michael Reese, 37, of Miamisburg on March 9 in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

In January 2017, Reese, a night manager at the New York, New York strip club in Franklin, was observed by plain-clothes law enforcement officers on multiple occasions handing cocaine to a co-defendant in the case, Courtney A. Rogers, a dancer with the stage name “Giselle,” according to a press release issued Tuesday by the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office.

RELATED: Strip club, employees indicted on drug trafficking charges

Rogers , would then allegedly sell the cocaine to customers. Reese told officers that the dancers received a portion of the proceeds from the drug transactions, according to the release. Reese was also allowing nude dancing to occur past midnight, in violation of the law, the release said.

“Today’s guilty plea by the manager of New York, New York conclusively demonstrates that the club, its management, and its dancers engaged in numerous instances of drug trafficking and other illegal activity that law enforcement and Franklin city officials had long suspected was regularly occurring at the club,” said Warren County Prosecutor David P. Fornshell in the press release.

MORE: Franklin strip club’s liquor license challenged

“Our office will continue to proceed with the prosecution of the related cases in order to hold to account the club and the remaining defendants for their role in perpetuating this criminal enterprise,” Fornshell added.

Rogers is scheduled for a hearing on a treatment in lieu of conviction plea hearing on Feb. 7.

Police: Juvenile shot in mouth, investigated as accidental shooting

Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 12:23 AM

SCENE: Juvenile shot in mouth in Dayton

Update@6:18 p.m. (Jan. 16):

The the 14-year-old boy was shot in the mouth as he and his 13-year-old brother were playing with a gun and they didn’t know it was loaded, police said. 

The older boy is expected to fully recover.

The younger brother was being held in juvenile detention Tuesday evening, and will remain there until his court hearing next week.

Officers have not said who owns the gun. 

First report: 

A juvenile was shot in the mouth late Sunday night by another juvenile relative at a Dayton home, police said.

The incident was reported around 11:50 p.m. in the 500 block of Brightwood Avenue.

The victim was rushed by medics to a local hospital. 

The minor’s age, gender, and condition were not immediately available, however, the individual shot was able to walk to the ambulance themselves and is expected to be okay, per officials. 

According to initial reports, the individuals involved may be siblings.

>> Man who holds child hostage in 30-hour standoff released from prison in July

Dayton police said the shooting is accidental, but will continue to investigate.

We will continue to update this story as we learn more information.