Officer shooting case close to going to grand jury

Published: Thursday, July 23, 2015 @ 1:27 AM
Updated: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 @ 8:59 PM


            SCLC wants grand jury to hear officer shooting case 

The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is calling for a grand jury to hear a case involving the shooting death of Dontae Martin at the hands of two deputies.

KEY POINTS

  • Martin was shot July 23 on darkened Springbrook Boulevard
  • Local SCLC calling for grand jury to hear case
  • Deputies Gust Teague, Josh Haas had ordered him to drop pistol
  • Sheriff: Pistol, loaded with “cop-killer” ammo, was pointed at them

UPDATE @ 8:52 p.m. (Sept. 15): The deputy-involved fatal shooting of Dontae Martin is a step closer to being heard by a grand jury, Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer said.

The sheriff’s office recently received the county coroner’s report, which was needed in order to have the case presented to a grand jury, he said.

News of the report came the same day a group of about 40 that included Martin’s family members, friends and community leaders gathered at the county administration building on West Third Street to rally for justice in the aftermath of his death.

“We are here to let the county commission know that we don’t want them to continue to ignore the fact that the sheriff’s (deputies) allegedly killed Dontae Martin and we’re still angry about it,” said Bishop Richard Cox of the Dayton area SCLC.

He said the group was asking the commissioners to look into what the group feels is systemic racism occurring in the sheriff’s office.

“When this goes before a grand jury, we want an indictment on these (deputies) for allegedly killing (Martin),” Cox said.

UPDATE @1:45 p.m. (Aug. 26):

Bishop Richard Cox, president of the Dayton chapter of the SCLC, said today he plans to bring his concerns to the next county commission meeting.

UPDATE @ 7:45 p.m. (Aug. 5):

The mother of the man shot to death by two Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies last month has filed a complaint with the Dayton Unit NAACP, organization President Derrick Foward said.

Patricia Martin filed the complaint Tuesday, Aug. 4, relating to the death of Dontae Martin, Foward said in a prepared statement.

“We have been in contact with the family Attorney[sic] Michael Wright as well as [Montgomery County] Coroner Ken Betz and stand ready and have taken the appropriate steps to ensure that a thorough and complete investigation will be conducted,” Foward said in the statement.

“The bottom line is, ‘If It Ain’t Right, You Must Indict,’ ” Foward said in the statement.

UPDATE @ 8:30 p.m. July 29:

The attorney representing the family of Dontae Martin and a local civil rights leader Wednesday questioned the Montgomery County sheriff’s account of what led to the shooting death of the 34-year-old at the hands of two deputies.

“There are multiple questions this family needs to be answered. Was Dontae targeted? How many contacts did these two officers have with Dontae prior to this fatal shooting?” Michael Wright of Wright & Schulte asked at a news conference.

He was surrounded by Bishop Richard Cox, president of the Dayton chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and members of Martin’s family.

Wright also questioned why deputies did not turn on the overhead lights of their cruiser after responding on a 911 call and on a dark street during the early morning hours of July 23.

Wright’s questions came six days after Sheriff Phil Plummer said at his news conference that no audio or video existed because “it’s not protocol” to use lights and sirens in response to a one-vehicle crash. The use of lights and sirens activates audio and visual recording.

“Why did the officers respond to this call and not have their overhead lights on? We know that when the overhead lights are not on, the dash cam is not operating,” Wright said.

Plummer’s office, reached after the Martin family news conference, declined to respond to the questions.

Plummer has said deputies recovered a 20-round, FN Five-seveNCQ semiautomatic pistol after the shooting he said occurred when deputies Gus Teague and Joshua Haas ordered Martin several times to drop the weapon after they approached the vehicle he was driving.

Teague and Haas came in contact with Martin, who Plummer said might have been intoxicated, after responding to a 911 call that a woman had placed about a vehicle that had driven off the side of Springbrook Boulevard and into another car that was parked in a driveway.

“We’re approaching the vehicle thinking it’s a single-car crash, so we’re there to help the guy” Plummer said at his news conference. “As they approach the car and they look in closely with the flashlight, the gun is pointed at them, so immediately, it escalates into a deadly force situation.”

Martin, a fiancé and father of six children, was pronounced dead at 1:34 a.m. at Grandview Medical Center.

“Dontae Martin died from multiple gunshot wounds originating from opposite sides of his vehicle,” said Ken Betz, director of the county coroner’s office.

Teague and Haas are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Plummer also said Martin was a felon.

“We believe that the sheriff has told us a lie. We believe that the sheriff deliberately said bad things about Dontae to cover up for the officers that murdered him,” Cox said.

Montgomery County Common Pleas records show that Martin received intervention in lieu of conviction for a 2007 felony case in which he was charged with possession of cocaine and heroin. This newspaper’s background search on Martin showed that most of Martin’s documented interaction with law enforcement had been traffic-related.

“This community and SCLC is upset because (the sheriff’s office) painted a bad picture of Dontae,” Cox said.

Wright said Martin was shot in the head and from behind. He added that none of the witnesses said they saw Martin with a gun.

“So why was he shot and killed?” he asked.

Chief Deputy Rob Streck declined to address those statements.

“We’re in the middle of the investigation now. We have the criminal part to go through, the internal part. We’re not going to make any statements right now other than what the sheriff’s already made,” Streck said.

Haas was involved in a shooting late last year. A Montgomery County grand jury returned a “no true bill,” meaning it found no probable cause to charge him for shooting James A. Wright, 21, on Dec. 27 during a standoff at the Speedway gas station on North Main Street in the township.

Judge sets bond for mom accused of fatally shooting her children

Published: Thursday, May 18, 2017 @ 10:40 AM
Updated: Friday, May 19, 2017 @ 5:30 AM

A Dayton woman is jailed after she allegedly shot her two children, who succumbed to their injuries and died at the hospital.

>>PHOTOS: Police respond to the scene, neighbors react

>>MORE: Mom had faced earlier child endangering allegations

Two children were shot in the head just before 10 a.m. May 18 on Lori Sue Avenue in Dayton.

  • The children, ages 6 and 8, died as a result of their injuries
  • Dayton police booked the mother on attempted murder charges
  • A third child was unharmed inside the home

UPDATE @ 1:53 p.m. (May 22)

The mother accused of fatally shooting her two children appeared today in Dayton Municipal Court.

The judge set bond at $1 million for Claudena Helton, 30, who is being held in the Montgomery County Jail on multiple charges.

Claudena was initially held on attempted murder charges but those charges are expected to be upgraded after her two children, Khmorra and Kaiden Helton, ages 8 and 6, succumbed to their injuries Sunday at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

The judge said after the hearing that the suspect may not realize that her children are dead.

UPDATE @5:30 a.m. (May 19):

Two children shot in the head remain in critical condition at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Khmorra Helton, 8, and Kaiden Helton, 6, suffered life-threatening injuries.

Their mother, Claudena Helton, remains in the Montgomery County Jail on two counts of felonious assault.

UPDATE @ 3:57 p.m. (May 18):

Two children — an 8-year-old female Khmorra Helton and 6-year-old male Kaiden Helton — were shot in the head and critically injured on Lori Sue Avenue Thursday morning, according to Dayton police chief. Their injuries are life threatening, police said.

The mother Claudena Helton, whom lives at the Lori Sue Avenue address, has been booked into Montgomery County Jail on two counts of felonious assault, police said. A handgun was recovered at the home.

Claudena Helton has prior child endangering charges in Dayton.

>>VIDEO: Neighbor creates memorial

An 11-year-old girl was not injured.

Dayton Children’s confirmed the two injured children were both in critical condition this afternoon. 

Dayton Police did not release the names of the two children who were shot today on Lori Sue Avenue, but the children’s names were part of police incident reports connected to the same address.

The three children involved are not current students of Dayton Public Schools, according to the district.

UPDATE @ 2:55 p.m. (May 18):

Police are expected to give an update on today’s shooting involving two children during a press conference at 4 p.m., officials said.

A neighbor living across the street from where the children,  both under the age of 10, were shot said a woman was outside the home naked when she saw police responding.

“She just stared at me,” the neighbor, who did not want to be identified, said. “I yelled to the neighbor to give me a sheet and I covered her up.”

RELATED: 6 recent times children have been gunshot victims

UPDATE @ 2:47 p.m. (May 18):

Police and detectives have cleared the scene of a shooting that left two children injured on Lori Sue Avenue.

UPDATE @ 12:27 p.m. (May 18):

Dayton police Major Eric Henderson said responding officers discovered two young children, both under the age of 10, suffering from gunshot wounds. A third child is safe. The condition of the children is unknown at this time, Henderson said.

Henderson said police are interviewing someone who was at the scene at the time of the shooting. Police found the children in the front yard of the property.

“It’s an unfortunate incident,” Henderson said.

Police urge witnesses and citizens with any information about the incident to call 937-333-COPS.

One woman who lives in the neighborhood reacted to the shooting of the two children. 

“I was completely devastated. I was heartbroken. I was crying. I was emotional,” said Deona Terry, who has four children. “My friend called me hysterical because someone called her and told her, and then as I pulled up I heard the news, and then I found out it was some kids who graduated from the same school as my daughter.”

UPDATE @ 12:15 p.m. (May 18):

People were seen attempting life-saving measures on the two children who were found wounded in the front yard from a shooting in Dayton.

A graduation event was going on at the school nearby. That school was on lockdown for about half an hour, and then the lockdown was lifted.

The two children were taken to Dayton Children's Hospital. Police did not have additional information on the gender or the ages of the children. Police have one person that they are questioning.

UPDATE @ 11:58 a.m. (May 18):

Two children were shot this morning and police have not released information on their conditions.

Three children were in the home at the time of the shooting and the third child was not injured.

The injured children were transported to Dayton Children’s Hospital.

UPDATE @ 10:55 a.m. (May 18):

At least one child was reportedly shot on Lori Sue Avenue this morning, according to dispatch records.

News Center 7’s Mike Campbell reports a police cruiser left with an individual inside, however it is unclear who that person is or their possible involvement in this case.

According to a 911 call, the child involved in the shooting may be 6-years-old, however police have not released any information yet on the child’s age.

We’re working to learn the child’s condition.

INITIAL REPORT:

Approximately eight police cruisers and crime scene tape are blocking the area of the 3800 block of Lori Sue Avenue this morning.

The police activity was reported around 10:40 a.m. and initial reports indicated that Rosa Parks Early Learning Center may have been placed on lock down.

Investigators appeared to be centering their investigation in front of a house on Lori Sue Avenue.

Initial dispatch records indicated police and medics were dispatched on a report of a child not breathing, however we are working to learn if that is what officials discovered when they arrived on the scene.

We’re working to learn more.

Police: Mother shot kids to ‘save them from the evils of the world’

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 9:53 AM

The Dayton mother accused of shooting her children in the head said she did it to “save them from the evils of the world,” according to court documents.

Khmorra Helton, 8, and Kaiden Helton, 6, died Sunday at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Investigators from the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office will perform autopsies today.

PHOTOS: Police respond to shooting scene, neighbors react

Claudena Marie Helton, 30, was interviewed by Dayton police detectives Thursday at the Safety Building. According to the affidavit and statement of facts written by Dayton police Det. Rod Roberts, “Ms. Helton made admissions to shooting the children to save them from the evils of the world.”

The affidavit indicated Helton asked her oldest child, an 11-year-old, to assist her in removing the children from the home at 3821 Lori Sue Ave. The girl was taken from the home and interviewed.

RELATED: Dayton chief after 2 kids shot in head: ‘This is one of the toughest’

Helton is scheduled to be arraigned today in Dayton Municipal Court. The charges of attempted murder and felonious assault filed last week likely will be updated to reflect the children’s death.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Mark Gokavi on Facebook and Twitter

Khmorra’s father is listed as Lynntonio S. Watson, according to birth records.

Watson, 30, less than three years ago was convicted of murder and felonious assault in the shooting death of 19-year-old Martell Gray. In September 2013, he fired gunshots that killed Gray and injured two others near Dayton’s Whitney Young Estates.

Kaiden’s father is listed as Stephen J. Fletcher, the records show.

RELATED: Dayton mom who police say shot her children had volatile relationships

On May 23, 2010, Trotwood police arrested Fletcher for allegedly threatening Claudena Helton’s life, punching her in the face and choking her until she nearly fainted, according to a police report. Fletcher was charged with misdemeanor counts of aggravated menacing and domestic violence. He was found guilty of one of the counts and sentenced to 123 days in jail.

RELATED: 6 recent times children have been gunshot victims

Fatal shootings involving young child victims are rare.

In Montgomery County, one child under the age of 10 was killed by gun shots in both 2015 and 2016, according to preliminary data by Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.

Between 2014 and 2016, there have been 126 Montgomery County residents who died from gun shots and nine were under the age of 18, the data show.

Teen testifies in trial of Fairfield teacher accused of sex crimes

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 2:14 PM


            Tyler Conrad, the Fairfield High School teacher charged with two counts of sexual battery, sexual imposition, and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a minor, appears with his attorney Christopher Pagan in Butler County court. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

A 16-year-old Fairfield High School student testified today for more than 90 minutes that teacher Tyler Conrad touched her inappropriately in his classroom and at a Ross Twp. home.

Conrad, 27, of Hamilton, is charged with two counts of sexual battery, sexual imposition and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His bench trial began this morning.

FIRST REPORT: Trial begins for Fairfield teacher accused of sex with student

Conrad and the girl exchanged more than 2,000 text messages and 70 calls during an inappropriate relationship in 2016, according to Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Heile.

Defense attorney Christopher Pagan said there was no inappropriate relationship involving the teen and his client and grilled the girl on her statement to investigators versus her testimony today in court.

The girl said she told told a church youth leader about the incidents with Conrad after attending a church program in the fall of 2016. That leader reported the incidents and the investigation began.

MORE: Fairfield teacher Tyler Conrad accused of sex crimes waives jury trial

The teen said at first Conrad would rub her shoulder and her leg. When the end of the school year came, Conrad put his number in the girl’s cell phone, saying that she could call him on his birthday.

“He said, ‘I don’t know how I am going to go the whole summer without you,’ ” the girl testified.

Conrad constantly asked to pick her up, she said, and finally she agreed.

The girl said in the summer of 2016, Conrad picked her up from the pool and took her to a house in Ross Twp.

EXCLUSIVE: Evidence questioned in Fairfield teacher Tyler Conrad’s alleged sex crime

“He kissed me on the couch, then carried me into the bedroom,” the teen said.

The girl said Conrad touched her on the outside of her private area. She was uncomfortable and he stopped, she said.

Twice during the 2016 school year, the teen said Conrad put his hand in her private area, making penetration, the teen said.

“He always knew when I was uncomfortable with something and stopped,” the girl said.

MORE: Fairfield moves toward firing Tyler Conrad, teacher accused of sex with student

During cross-examination, Pagan sifted through transcripts from the girl’s interview with police and social workers in which she did not give the same details.

Pagan pointed out the teen is an “excellent student” and asked her if she could remember any dates of the incidents or even a range of dates.

She could not.

The girl said at first she did not tell police the whole truth.

“It wasn’t necessarily that I was lying. I was scared to tell the truth,” the teen said.

3-day drug binge allegedly ended in attempted murder

Published: Monday, May 22, 2017 @ 1:36 PM


            Larry J. Fields, 38, of Salem Twp., faces attempted murder and felonious assault charges.Michelle Hofmann, 33, of Blanchester, is charged as a co-defendant with tampering with evidence.

A Warren County man is charged with attempting to murder a man who was staying with him after three days awake on methamphetamine, according to court records.

MORE: Methamphetamine allegedly mailed in DVR boxes

Larry J. Fields, 38, of Salem Twp., also faces two counts of felonious assault, according to indictments filed Monday in Warren County.

Michelle Hofmann, 33, of Blanchester, is charged as a co-defendant with tampering with evidence.

MORE: Lebanon man indicted for methamphetamine trafficking, other charges

They are charged in connection with the alleged attempted murder of Charles Burke, according to an affidavit filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

The affidavit is part of a search warrant filed as part of an investigation of the April 22 incident.

RELATED: SWAT team arrests two after Warren County shooting

“Burke said Fields had been using methamphetamine and has been awake for approximately three days,” according to the warrant filed by Detective Jay Henning of the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

MORE: Who are Miami Valley’s Most Wanted?

Burke was shot in the neck and back with a handgun during an argument, according to the court documents.

Hofmann was indicted on one count of tampering with evidence.

SOCIAL MEDIA:Follow Lawrence Budd on Twitter

Burke was taken to Bethesda North Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, deputies said on April 22.

Fields and Hofmann were arrested after members of the Warren County Tactical Response Unit forced entry into Fields’ home on Ohio 123.

Two others in the home were arrested on outstanding warrants, according to reports in April.

Fields and Hofmann are scheduled for arraignment at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Warren County Common Pleas Court.