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New court hearing set for man accused of setting cat on fire

Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 9:19 AM

            Kevin L. Sullivan BUTLER COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE

A Middletown man facing a felony charge of animal cruelty for allegedly setting a cat on fire will be back in court later this month.

The pre-trial hearing for Kevin L. Sullivan, 32, of Howard Avenue, was continued today in Butler County Common Pleas Court until March 20 by Judge Charles Pater. Sullivan is free on $50,000 bond.

PREVIOUS REPORT: High bond set for man accused of setting cat on fire

Middletown police and Butler County Deputy Dog Warden Jamie Hearlihy were dispatched Sept. 18 to Howard Avenue near Arlington Avenue, where the fire department had put out the cat that was ablaze.

A police officer shot the cat to put it out of its misery, according to a police report.

Samples taken from the cat and the blanket used to smother the fire indicated that lighter fluid was used, according to court records.

Police said Sullivan initially lied to them about his involvement, but an investigation by Middletown police and the dog warden’s office led back to him as a suspect.

Sullivan was indicted by a Butler County grand jury in January on the fifth-degree felony. His case is one of three felony animal cruelty cases pending in the county.

A Middletown woman was charged with felony animal cruelty last month after several dead animals were found in her backyard.

The county dog warden’s office received information last week advising that there were dead dogs in the yard at the residence in the 13oo block of Oxford State Road.

Four dogs were observed by the humane officers when they arrived on Feb. 16. Two of the dogs were found in dog houses and another one was found in a black plastic tote along with a decapitated dog’s head, according to the sheriff’s office. The owner, Tina Marie Jackson, said she ran out of dog food and she never provided bedding in the dog houses to keep the dogs warm. She did not offer an explanation for the decapitated dog.

FULL REPORT: Middletown woman charged with felony animal cruelty after dogs starve, with one decapitated

The charge of cruelty to a companion animal had been a first-degree misdemeanor for years, with a maximum sentence of 180 days. Now classified as a felony, the charge carries a sentence of up to 12 months in prison in some cases. The law changed in September 2016.

Jackson’s case was bound over to a Butler County grand jury for consideration last week.

In January, Melissa Damico, 46, of St. Clair Twp. was arrested on multiple charges after allegedly neglecting dogs in the bitter cold weather.

Earlier this month, Damico was indicted by a Butler County grand jury on three felony and four misdemeanor charges after allegedly neglecting dogs in the cold January weather.

Damico was arrested Jan. 7 after a welfare check was conducted at 3700 Morganthaler Road in St. Clair Twp. by county humane officers, who found three dogs deceased due to neglect and cold weather, while four other dogs were found alive but severely malnourished. She is scheduled to be arraigned next week on the indicted charges. She is also free on bond.

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Clark County lawyers: Deputy ‘reasonably’ thought photographer had gun

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 11:23 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 12:58 PM

Watch as body cam video shows when a deputy fires his weapon and shoots Andy Grimm, a photographer for the New Carlisle News.

It reasonably appeared to Clark County Deputy Jacob Shaw that a news photographer he shot in September had a gun and was a potential danger to the public, lawyers for Clark County allege in their response to a lawsuit.

PREVIOUSLY: News photographer shot by Clark County deputy sues

Photographer Andy Grimm sued the deputy, Clark County and the city of New Carlisle in December, seeking damages for what he called “excessive use of force and violation of Mr. Grimm’s constitutional and common law rights.”

Grimm, a photographer for the New Carlisle News, was shot by Shaw on Sept. 4 on Main Street in New Carlisle while preparing to take photos of the deputy at a traffic stop. Shaw can be heard on body camera footage obtained by the Springfield News-Sun apologizing to Grimm and saying he believed his camera to be a weapon.

“Defendants aver that it reasonably appeared to Deputy Shaw that Andrew Grimm possessed a firearm under the conditions facing him, in the course and scope of his employment, and in good faith, to make a split-second decision to discharge his weapon in order to protect the public and himself from perceived deadly harm,” the response from the county’s lawyers says.

EXTRA: Top stories of 2017: Andy Grimm shot by Clark County deputy

Much of the county’s response is denying several of the allegations in the lawsuit. Grimm’s actions that night might have played a role in the shooting, the county’s response says.

“Plaintiff Andrew Grimm’s own contributory and or comparative negligence and/or assumption of the risk may have caused or contributed to cause the injuries and damages of which he complains,” the response says.

Grimm declined to comment on Tuesday and the county’s attorneys haven’t responded to requests for comment.

RELATED: Clark County deputy shooting of news photographer heads to grand jury

In the lawsuit, Grimm says he suffered serious injuries and financial suffering that he believes the county is responsible for.

“The nature of the injury has caused plaintiff to lose wages for time taken off to heal from the injury,” it says. “The loss of wages suffered by Andrew Grimm is serious and of a nature that no reasonable person could be expected to endure.”

The lawsuit also alleges Grimm’s wife, Melanie Grimm and KBA News LLC, which publishes the New Carlisle News, have suffered due to the shooting.

“Plantiff KBA News, LLC asserts loss of business profits as local law enforcement agencies have retaliated against the business in response to the events of Sept. 4,” the lawsuit says.

In a statement sent to the Springfield News-Sun previously, attorney’s for the county said the defendants aren’t responsible.

“We cannot comment regarding claims against Deputy Shaw because there is an ongoing investigation,” a statement released by the attorneys says. “Clark County and the city of New Carlisle deny all claims against them.”

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations is handling the investigation into the deputy-involved shooting. That investigation likely will head to a grand jury soon, spokesman Dan Tierney said. He declined further comment.

The sheriff’s office has said it will do an internal investigation into Shaw’s actions after the state’s investigation is completed. Shaw returned to duty in October, reassigned then to the jail.

3 related stories:

Photographer shot by Clark County deputy claims lost wages, pain

Staying with the story

The Springfield News-Sun has closely tracked developments since first breaking the news of the deputy-involved shooting on Sept. 4, including stories about what the body camera shows and the standards for officer-involved shootings.

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Austin package explosions: Sixth blast not related to serial bombings, police say

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 8:38 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 8:38 PM

Package Explodes At FedEx Facility In Shertz,Texas

Authorities responded to another explosion Tuesday night in south Austin at a Goodwill store that left one person injured, but police said it’s not related to a string of serial bombings that have rocked the city over the past few weeks.

Earlier Tuesday investigators linked a fifth bomb blast overnight Tuesday at a FedEx ground delivery facility northeast of San Antonio to the deadly package bombs in Austin. 

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Convicted Greene County child rapist gets 108-year prison sentence

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 3:03 PM

Convicted Greene County child rapist gets 108-year prison sentence

A convicted Greene County sex offender today was sentenced to the maximum term in prison, a total of 108 years, for rape charges involving a child younger than 13.

Anthony R. Moore must serve a mandatory of 83 years in prison after being convicted of multiple counts of rape of a child under 13, rape by force and gross sexual imposition, according to proceedings today in Greene County Common Pleas Court.

EARLIER: Prosecutor: Child sex victim testifies to years of abuse in Xenia

Moore had no reaction to the sentence in court.

Moore hung his head low as the victim read her statement prior to the sentence being delivered. 

Anthony R. Moore

“I thought he cared about me as a stepdaughter and I thought he loved me. He knew what he was doing and he knew it was wrong. That's all I have to say," The victim said.

The victim's father also addressed the court, stating that his daughter “has a promising future.”

"She's been through a lot of emotional, psychological things due to the defendant and we're going to overcome it,” he said. “No child should have to suffer like this. As you can see all the family is always there for her. Everybody's been through it … It ain't right and there's never any excuse for it.”

Judge Michael Buckwalter called the defendant's actions "repugnant.” 

"Immediately upon taking residence with (the mother) and her children the defendant began grooming 11-year-old (victim) for abuse,” Buckwalter said. “The defendant subjected her to a deliberate and repetitive pattern of gross sexual imposition that quickly escalated to a regular pattern of rape. He was a constant predator presence in her life to the point that she could not even enjoy a single night's sleep without fear or threat of the defendant sneaking in her room to abuse and defile her while robbing her of her innocence and the safety of her home and family … It is the court's intention and responsibility to ensure that Anthony Moore never again be alone in the presence of a child." 

Greene County Assistant Prosecutor Alice DeWine said she is grateful that the judge agreed with her recommendation to sentence Moore to the maximum possible penalty. 

“There's no reason for this defendant to ever get out of prison,” DeWine said. “Because of the heinous acts that he committed against a child, it's appropriate not only for justice for this victim, but so that no other victim has to go through this.”

DeWine said the trial was difficult for everyone, including the jury, who heard more than four hours of emotional testimony from the victim. 

"Upon the conclusion of the trial and the guilty verdicts, they were very emotional,” she said of the jury. “You hear on the news that something like this happens, but it's very different to hear it from a child who is only 14 years old."

The crimes were reported first in June 2017 when the mother of the victim, who was known to the defendant, contacted Xenia police, according to court records.

The mother told police she was sleeping on the couch and her daughter was sleeping in her bed when the defendant got in bed with her daughter, according to the detective’s statement that led to Moore’s arrest on July 2, 2017.

DeWine said that incident was “count 19,” and investigators eventually learned that the abuse had been going on since the girl was 11.

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West Chester man sentenced for child pornography charges: ‘I am ashamed’

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 12:53 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 2:23 PM

Larry Staley has been placed on probation and will be classified as a Tier II sex offender after pleading guilty to charges involving child pornography.

A West Chester Twp. man has been placed on probation and classified as a Tier II sex offender after pleading guilty to charges involving child pornography.

Larry Dale Staley, 58, of the 8300 block of Birchstone Court, was indicted in October by a Butler County grand jury on 20 charges. In February, he entered guilty pleas to six counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, a fourth-degree felony. The remaining charges were merged.

PREVIOUS REPORT: West Chester man pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Staley faced up to nine years in prison, but told Judge Charles Pater before sentencing that he has sought treatment for alcoholism as well as urges to view pornographic images of children.

Larry Dale Staley (far right), of West Chester Twp., is sentenced March 20 after pleading guilty to six counts of pandering sexually oriented material involving a minor.(LAUREN PACK/STAFF)

Defense attorney Douglas Nicholas pointed out that Staley has no criminal past other than OVI arrests. The defense attorney said Staley is also caring for his elderly father to avoid placing him in a nursing home

“When he was drinking, that is when all this activity occurred,” Nicholas said.

Assistant Butler County Prosecutor Lindsay Sheehan said copious amounts of child images were found in Staley’s residence that had been there for years, some printed out and hidden in trash bags.

MORE: 2 children removed from Middletown home; great-grandfather says he was doing ‘best he can’

“These pornography photos involved very young pre-pubescent children,” Sheehan said, noting they were all of girls under the age of 10. The young victims are not known.

“Each time that image is viewed, accessed, printed and kept — that is is creating a market through this type of crime,” she said.

The alleged crimes occurred on or about Feb. 16, 2016, according to the indictment. The crimes involved images downloaded, and there is no indication local children were involved, according to the prosecutor’s office.

“I am ashamed of what I have done,” Staley told the judge.

He added that he is continuing treatment and has changed his actions, including access to cell phones or computers.

Before placing Staley on probation, Pater said based on the information he has, including letters from Staley’s children, there has never been any indication that he “acted” on any urges involving children.

MORE: Employee dies after forklift accident at area manufacturer

Pater also ordered Staley to have no access to computers and to stay away from children under the age of 12. If he violates his probation, the judge said he will serve a 12-month prison sentence.

Staley was also classified as a Tier II sex offender, meaning he will have to register his residence with the sheriff’s office every 180 days for the next 25 years.

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