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Guards in Dante Price killing take plea deal

Published: Friday, October 10, 2014 @ 1:04 PM
Updated: Friday, October 10, 2014 @ 7:04 PM


            Guards in Dante Price killing take plea deal

Two security guards who killed a man two years ago as he attempted to leave an apartment complex agreed to plea deals Friday afternoon that will guarantee they spend at least three years in prison.

Justin Wissinger, 26, and Christopher Tarbert, 34, were working as private security guards for Ranger Security at the Summit Square Apartment complex the night of March 12, 2012 when they encountered Dante Price in the parking lot. The 25-year-old father was trespassed from the property, and the guards ordered Price from his car at gunpoint. When he did not comply with their orders and attempted to drive away, Tarbert and Wissinger fired 17 rounds into the car, hitting Price three times and killing him.

On Friday, the men each entered guilty pleas to counts of involuntary manslaughter at a hearing in Montgomery County Common Pleas County. They also agreed to plead guilty to an abduction charge. In exchange, the Montgomery County Prosecutor's Office dropped the murder charges the two faced, along with the weapons specifications that would have added an additional mandatory three years to their sentences. The men also waived their right to appeal as part the agreement.

The deal guarantees the two men will face between 3 to 11 years in prison — significantly less than if they'd been convicted of murder. The case was set to go to trial on Oct. 21. If convicted, Tarbert and Wissinger would have faced 15 years to life in prison. The agreement was reached after defense attorneys approached prosecutors. The prosecutor talked with Dayton police and Price's family before agreeing to the deal, officials said.

Price's mother, Saprena Riley, said for two years she prayed for a deal because she knew she wouldn't be able to bare hearing and seeing the details surrounding her son's death in open court.

"If you're not a mother who had (your) child murdered the way I had my child murdered, and what that would look like with that many bullets, to endure them having to show you, nobody would want to see that," she said. "I want to remember him as he was."

Riley and other family members wept as Judge Timothy O'Connell read the charges and accepted Tarbert and Wissinger's pleas. While the time in prison will be less than what they could have faced, Riley said at least she knows her son is guaranteed justice.

"Even though I laid my son to rest two years ago, today I actually laid my son to rest. He can rest. I'm just so grateful to God. He answered my prayers," she said.

At the time Wissinger and Tarbert were arrested, county Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said they had exceeded their legal authority trying to detain Price, and by using deadly force to try to make him comply. Heck and Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl said Price's shooting was not a hate crime. Price was black. The two guards are white.

Ranger Security officials could not be reached for comments Friday, and Tarbert and Wissinger's attorneys reserved comment until sentencing.

The newspaper has reported that police reports show Tarbert had numerous encounters with Price in the six months before Price's death. Both Wissinger and Tarbert were permitted by the state Private Investigator Security Guard Services to carry handguns. Both had the required training.

According to state records, Wissinger had been with Preble County-based Ranger Security for several months prior to the shooting; Tarbert worked for the company off and on for several years.

Nine months before Price's shooting, the state moved to have the license for Ranger Security, owned by Ivan Burke, revoked because of thousands of violations. The company's attorney classified those violations as "clerical." The matter failed because the state did not follow all its procedures.

Tarbert and Wissinger are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 7 in O'Connell's courtroom.

Warren County trial opens in shooting that locked down area

Published: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 10:03 AM


            Warren County trial opens in shooting that locked down area

Prospective jurors are being seated this morning in the trial of Mohammed Laghaoui, the man charged in an active shooter incident last June in Warren County.

RELATED: Accused Warren County deputy shooter faces trial

Laghaoui, now 20, is accused of wounding his father and a sheriff’s deputy and shooting at another resident of the apartment complex and into a neighbor’s apartment before fleeing the scene.

Once the jury is selected, they are to be taken to the scene of the shooting at the Orchards of Landen.

RELATED: Defense suggests use of synthetic drugs triggered shooting

The trial is expected to run all week in Judge Timothy Tepe’s court.

Middletown police chief wants to charge addicts who OD in public

Published: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

Residents in one Butler County city who overdose on opioids in public should be arrested immediately, according to its police chief.

Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said the number of overdoses in the city delays police response times and sometimes induces panic, especially with more drug overdoses happening in fast-food restaurant bathrooms and retail parking lots.

“It’s like they’re getting a free pass,” he told the Journal-News. “The squad arrives on the scene, takes them to the emergency room, they live and they come out and do it again.”

Heroin ‘eating’ Middletown’s public safety services

Earlier this month after a woman was found passed out in the bathroom of a fast-food restaurant, two men were arrested for drug possession just hours later at the same restaurant.

“When someone overdoses in a store parking lot or a restaurant bathroom, it causes alarm to everyone there,” Muterspaw said. “There is no accountability. Jailing drug addicts isn’t the answer. Time to hold people more accountable. We have to force them into treatment.”

He would like to charge those people with inducing panic, then withdraw the charge if they’re treated for the drug addiction.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones agrees with Muterspaw that jail is not the answer for addicts.

“These people are not afraid of death,” Jones said. “The fear of jail will mean nothing to them.”

MORE: Drug overdoses remain leading cause of death in Butler County

While the heroin epidemic is a drain on law enforcement and emergency services, charging those who do not get treatment with a misdemeanor is just going to fill up the county jail with more drug addicts, Jones said.

“I don’t have space for all the violent criminals. I don’t need to fill the jail up with heroin users and people who smoke pot,” he said. “It won’t work. People get out of my jail and shoot up in the parking lot. Getting arrested just isn’t something they care about. I call it ‘happy talk.’ It may make people feel better, but it just doesn’t work.”

The sheriff said he believes catching potential users early and teaching them not to use is a better option.

“But there is no cure right now,” Jones said, adding that with enough people dying, the popularity of the drug and it’s abuse will hopefully wane.

Middletown City Manager Doug Adkins estimated as much as 90 percent of public safety services are connected to fighting heroin and that commitment takes away from police officers and firefighters completing other responsibilities.

“It’s eating our public safety services alive,” he said last week during the city’s ninth Heroin Summit.

MORE: ‘We have a rampant killer in our community,’ coroner says

Elsewhere in Southwest Ohio, residents who overdose on opioids may face drug possession charges if they don’t seek treatment, according to a new policy from the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office.

Prosecutor Andy Wilson and local law enforcement officials met last week to discuss how to combat the opioid epidemic, which has caused city and county EMS crews to respond to more than 325 overdoses this year as of March 6.

“It takes a toll on the system,” he said. “… We’ve got to do something to force these folks into treatment.”

The new policy will educate people who overdose on their requirements for immunity as part of the recently passed Good Samaritan Law.

Gov. John Kasich signed the 9-1-1 Good Samaritan law in September, which provides immunity to people seeking medical assistance for a drug overdose, allowing them to report or seek help without charges.

People who experienced a drug overdose or called for help for another person qualify for immunity under the law — if they seek a screening and received a referral for addiction treatment from a local provider.

Currently people who overdose can walk out of the emergency room with no future requirements for treatment, Wilson said.

“It’s just not working, ” he said. “You have people who are signing out against medical advice from the ER and they’re back within a day, two days or three days and they’re overdosing again … We can’t keep doing the same thing with no results.”

Muterspaw agreed a new option is needed and has started to meet with leaders in neighboring communities to discuss how they’re handling drug overdoses and how to reduce the number of repeat offenders.

“It’s like, ‘Groundhog Day’ around here,”Muterspaw said about the opioid epidemic, which has resulted in 185 arrests so far this year and 800 arrests last year in Middletown.

“We just keep doing the same thing over and over. There is a lot of frustration there,” he said.

Police: Gunman shoots 6, including 2 children, in Florida

Published: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 9:13 AM

Police: Gunman shoots 6, including 2 children, in Florida

Six people were shot early Monday in a Florida neighborhood, the Sanford Police Department said.

The shooting was reported shortly before 6:30 a.m. at a home on Hays Drive in Sanford, police said.

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Investigators said a gunman went to the home of someone he knows and shot two adults, an 8-year-old boy and a 7-year-old boy.

Posted by Jeff Levkulich WFTV on Monday, March 27, 2017

One adult died. The other adult and the two children were taken to a hospital in critical condition, investigators said.

Detectives said the gunman then fled the home and randomly shot two bystanders in the roadway, critically wounding them both.

An officer who was in the area was able to subdue the gunman, who was arrested, police said.

Authorities did not immediately identify the victims or the suspected gunman.

Investigators said the initial shooting appeared to be domestic in nature.

No other details were given.

Teen who threw newborn baby out window won't serve any jail time

Published: Monday, March 27, 2017 @ 6:20 AM

Teen who threw newborn baby out window won't serve any jail time

Antonia Lopez, a Nebraska teen who admitted to throwing her newborn baby out the window, won't be serving any jail timethe Omaha World-Herald reports.

On Friday, Douglas County Juvenile Court Judge Christopher Kelly ordered Lopez to be placed on probation, live in a group home, take part in individual and family therapy, delete her Facebook account and perform 50 hours of community service, according to the World-Herald.

In September, Lopez, 16, reportedly gave birth to a baby girl in her apartment, then threw the baby out the window. She then texted her boyfriend, “It was a girl by the way,” and admitted her crime to her mother, the World-Herald reported. She told police that she was unaware that she was pregnant and thought she was just having her period.

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An autopsy revealed that the infant, who later died, was still breathing at the time the blunt-force injuries were sustained. It also showed that Lopez had been pregnant for 25 to 28 weeks. 

“She’s coping the best she can,” Lopez’s defense attorney Rebecca McClung said, adding that her client thought the child was a stillborn. “The mother is coping the best she can. The grandmother is coping the best she can.”

Lopez was initially charged as an adult with felony child abuse resulting in death, which could have meant 20 years in prison. However, in February, her case was transferred to juvenile court after her mental state and lack of criminal record were considered, the World-Herald reported.

She reportedly was ordered to live in a group home because judges were concerned that she didn’t understand the severity of her actions. The Facebook deletion order stemmed from her receiving numerous negative comments on her page following her arrest, the World-Herald reported.