Man convicted of “racially motivated” double murder gets new trial

Published: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 @ 3:05 PM
Updated: Wednesday, January 02, 2013 @ 3:05 PM

A Jefferson Twp. man sentenced to 38 years to life in prison for the slaying of two men who offered to help him after a drug ripoff will get a new trial.

The Ohio 2nd District Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of Gregory Leet, agreeing with Leet that the trial court erred when it overruled Leet’s motion to suppress. The decision was handed down Friday.

At issue are statements that Leet made to Montgomery County Sheriff’s investigators in March 2010. The decision, written by Judge Mary E. Donovan and joined by Judge Thomas J. Grady, states that questioning should have broken off immediately when he asked for a lawyer during his second conversation with detectives. The decision also states that the record shows that Leet’s initial waiver, before his first conversation, was not made in a knowing, intelligent and voluntary fashion, as required by law. Therefore, all of those statements should have been excluded from the trial.

Judge Jeffrey E. Froelich concurred that the questioning should have stopped during the second conversation, but did not agree that the statements from the first conversation should be suppressed.

“I’ll be back in two years because I’m innocent,” Leet told Judge Mary Katherine Huffman at his June 7, 2011 sentencing, promising he would be out of prison within five years.

Huffman told Leet that the slayings were “so racially motivated.” Leet, 29, is white. Victims Nathan E. Gay and Harvey Sims Jr. were black. So was the man who ripped off Leet, and another man Leet beat up after his money was taken.

The bodies of Gay and Sims were found Feb. 26, 2010, along a bank of Bear Creek in Jefferson Twp.

A jury convicted Leet on May 27, 2011 of two counts of purposeful murder, two counts of felony murder, four counts of felonious assault and one count of tampering with evidence. He was exonerated on one count of aggravated robbery.

Leet’s friend Tylor Blevins and Blevins’ cousin Kenneth Bailey testified they saw Leet shoot Gay and Sims. The defense contended Bailey was the killer and Blevins was helping frame Leet.

Blevins testified that he, Bailey and Leet had left Hammerjax nightclub, 111 E. Fourth St., when Leet approached a man to purchase cocaine. That man, Abdul Jihad, testified he took Leet into the Wilkinson Apartments on West Fifth Street, took Leet’s money then ran off.

Unable to find Jihad, Leet then attacked an elderly man who was walking on the sidewalk, according to trial testimony.

Blevins said that Gay, 49, and Sims, 54, approached and said they knew who had taken the money.

Leet offered them each $100 to find the man, but said he’d have to go to his house in Jefferson Twp., according to witness testimony.

Witnesses said the victims got in Leet’s SUV, and the five men drove to Leet’s house. After stopping at the house, Leet drove to an area near 2701 Germantown-Liberty Road, according to trial testimony. Leet and the two victims got out of the vehicle, and Leet fired several shots, according to witness testimony. Blevins said he heard one of the men begging for his life.

Girl survives car crash, is shot to death moments later

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 12:03 PM
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 6:24 PM


            Girl survives car crash, is shot to death moments later

A Texas 8-year-old who escaped harm in a car accident early Saturday was shot and killed just moments later, police say.

De'Maree Adkins was asleep in the back seat of her mother’s car around 1 a.m. Saturday as they drove through southwest Houston. The Houston Chronicle reported that mother and daughter were just five minutes from home when a Pontiac Grand Prix blew through an intersection and collided with the Honda driven by De’Maree’s mother, Toyia Thomas.

Thomas’ first instinct was to be sure her daughter was OK.

“I called her name and I said, ‘Are you OK?’” Thomas told the Chronicle. “(She said) ‘Yeah, I’m OK. What happened, mama?’”

Thomas said that was when a third vehicle, a four-door sedan, pulled up next to her Honda. A woman got out of the car and opened fire on Thomas and her daughter.

“I don’t know who it was and I don’t know why she was shooting,” Thomas said.

She said she didn’t realize that De’Maree had been hit until she tried to get her daughter out of the car. That’s when she saw the blood.

“I told her to stay with me, stay with me,” Thomas told the Chronicle, breaking down in tears. “Her body just went limp.”

De’Maree was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

My Godchild is gone to soon because of senseless violence.  Please keep Toyia Jarmon and family in your prayers, and donate to the GoFundMe account that has been set up for De'Maree's Memorialization.  🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽

Posted by Anzel Jennings on Sunday, February 26, 2017

Investigators said between five and seven shots were fired, though it is not yet clear if the shooter was targeting Thomas’ vehicle or someone in the Grand Prix involved in the crash.

“We don't know if they were firing at each other and struck the vehicle, or if once the accident happened, they got angry, jumped out and they shot the vehicle,” Detective David Stark told the newspaper. “We just don’t know.”

>> Read more trending stories

As detectives looked for those responsible for De’Maree’s death, her family remembered her short life and mourned the milestones they won’t see her achieve. The MacGregor Elementary School honor student had recently started learning the violin.

Soliciting prayers for the family of De'Maree Adkins, one of our MacGregor babies and Frederick McBride's 3rd grade...

Posted by Stephanie York Blue on Sunday, February 26, 2017

Her grandfather, Melvin Jarmon, told KPRC 2 in Houston that De’Maree, who he called “the boss,” enjoyed making him toe the line. De’Maree’s older cousin recalled the last time she spoke to the little girl.

“Before the accident, she FaceTimed me and she told me that she loved me,” Victoria Jarmon said.

Thomas was struggling to understand her daughter’s death.

“She was a good girl, an honor roll student. Full of life,” Thomas told KPRC. “They took my baby away from me. Why? She didn’t deserve this. She was only 8.”

Police said that the driver of the Pontiac that was involved in the crash got into the sedan with the shooter and they fled together. No suspects had been publicly identified as of Monday morning.

Houston’s Crime Stoppers is offering a $5,000 reward for information in the case. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has added an additional $10,000 to that reward.

“Cecilia and I send our deepest sympathies to De'Maree’s family during this unimaginably difficult time,” Abbott said in a statement. “There is no place for heinous acts like this in Texas. We urge anyone who has any information to contact Houston Crime Stoppers immediately to bring those involved to justice.”

Anyone with information on De’Maree’s slaying can call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-8477, visit crime-stoppers.org or text a tip and “TIP610” to 274637. 

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Trotwood apartment fatal shooting victim ID’d, suspect in custody

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 12:44 PM
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 12:42 PM

TROTWOOD — The man shot to death at a Trotwood apartment on Monday has been identified as Charles McDonald Jr., according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.

MORE CRIME NEWS:  Dayton police investigate Dennison Ave. shooting 

McDonald and the suspected gunman have children by the same woman, said Trotwood Police Chief Erik Wilson. 

The children were inside the apartment when the shooting occurred. An adult female who is related to the children’s mother was also there, according to police said.

Police are still working to determine what led to the shooting.

Further details have not been released. 

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Troopers: Huber Heights man fled moving car, died in drainage pipe

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 5:01 PM

A Huber Heights man’s vehicle was still rolling when he fled the scene of a rural southeast Ohio crash, hid in a drainage culvert and died, Ohio State Highway Patrol said Monday.

Chuck Dickens Jr., 26, of Huber Heights, died Sunday in Belmont County, Ohio, near West Virginia, after refusing to come out of the drainage culvert where police discovered him, OSP Lt. James Faunda said.

There are few details on why Dickens, who formerly attended Chaminade-Julienne High School, ran from the car. An investigation into Dickens’ social media accounts — including a series of Facebook posts made on his personal page around the time of the crash — is ongoing, Faunda said.

MORE: Read more crime stories

“The only thing we know is his family thought he was in Cleveland for the weekend,” Faunda said. “There was no reason for him to be here.”

Dickens side-swiped another vehicle Sunday morning on Interstate 70 near mile marker 211, jumped from the vehicle before it came to a stop and ran across the highway and down a steep hill to a drainage culvert, police said.

Troopers tried to find Dickens using an airplane and additional police backup. It wasn’t until a trooper suggested calling for Dickens in a drainage culvert they discovered he crawled 200-300 feet inside. Dickens responded to police at first, but eventually stopped communicating.

MORE: Huber home linked to prosecutor’s theft

Police sent a robot with a video camera into the culvert and discovered him face down in water, Faunda said. A West Virginia dive squad removed his body and he was declared dead on scene. His body was taken to Licking County for a medical examination and toxicology screen. OSP is conducting its own blood tests, as well.

Faunda, a 24-year veteran of the state patrol, said Dickens appeared to be an “outstanding citizen” with no criminal history aside from a traffic violation.

“I’ve never seen anything like this where a person didn’t have a reason to run,” he said.

Air Force pays $140,000 to settle base sex discrimination suit

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 4:27 PM
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 5:50 PM

The United States Air Force paid Bridget E. Lyons $140,000 to settle a federal job discrimination lawsuit in which she alleged she wasn’t properly promoted at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, according to court documents obtained by this news organization.

Lyons was an attorney in the Air Force Materiel Command Law Office Acquisition Division. She worked full-time starting in 2000 on weapons systems contracts she said were worth billions of dollars.

“It was the upshot of 10 years of sex discrimination and reprisal against me by the management of the law office,” Lyons said Monday. “So I feel quite vindicated for having received the settlement and gotten the long process over with.”

Lyons claimed gender discrimination, retaliation, and a hostile work environment stemming from her unsuccessful attempts for promotion to leadership positions, according to court documents.

Her complaint said that during two May 2007 meetings, then-supervisor Peter Ditalia told Lyons he would see her “finished in the office.” The complaint said the only witness to that statement was then Colonel Thomas Doyon, who said in a memo three years later that the statement “could have been made,” but that Doyon blamed Lyons for what occurred.

In September 2009, Col. Doyon denied Lyons a promotion, Lyons’ complaint alleges. She said Doyon “pre-selected a man, accelerated his promotion, created after-the-fact criteria, which he did not meet, and then provided varying reasons to Lyons for her non-selection.”

“I went up for promotion multiple times, five or six times in a two-year time period, and got passed over every time for men,” Lyons said. “It was a glass ceiling kind of situation. No woman had been promoted in that division in that office. Ever.”

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose granted the Air Force summary judgment in December 2014, and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals found that there was no hostile work environment. But in 2016, the appellate court sent back the rest of the case. That led to mediation and settlement talks.

The settlement “shall not be in any way construed as an admission by the AF that it has acted wrongfully with respect to (Lyons),” according to the 4-page agreement filed in Dayton’s U.S. District Court.

The Air Force Public Affairs office did not respond to a message seeking comment. A Wright-Patterson Air Force Base spokesman referred to the public affairs office in Washington, D.C.

Lyons said she worked in the biggest division (30 to 40 employees) out of the 70-person law office. She said she was surprised to see sexism at the base: “The very lawyers that are supposed to be making sure that the military doesn’t do this kind of stuff are the very people doing it.”

Lyons continued to work there until January 2016 because she loved the work and didn’t want to leave her family. She now commutes during the week to Washington, D.C. and returns on weekends.

Lyons and her husband Ed — a Huber Heights city council member — said they wanted to go public to make a point.

“I think, in that office, all the women are in the same situation,” Lyons said. “People need to know that sex discrimination and reprisal is happening right here, and it’s in the local area.

“It’s not just some pie-in-the-sky thing. It happens to your very neighbor. It happens to the woman down the street or the woman that you see in the grocery store.”

The Air Force has another lawsuit against it alleging discrimination at Wright-Patt. Dr. Margaret C. DePalma said in a complaint that she was discriminated against in her job as a historian in the Air Force Research Laboratory History Office.