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Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 4:31 PM
COLUMBUS — Ohio Supreme Court justices poked holes on Tuesday in the arguments of the lawyer who wants them to spare the life of the second-youngest person on Ohio’s Death Row.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justice Terrence O’Donnell were the primary questioners of Timothy McKenna, the lawyer arguing for the life of Austin Myers, 22, of Clayton. The justices also questioned Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell, who personally argued that Myers should be executed for the murder of Justin Back, 18, in January 2014.
McKenna argued for the high court to overturn Myers’ death sentence on a variety of grounds, including his youth — Myers was 18 at the time and the youngest facing the death penalty in Ohio — and the fact his co-defendant, Timothy Mosley, got life in prison without parole in exchange for his testimony against Myers.
O’Donnell pointed out criminal law allowed for Myers to get a harsher sentence although he had a co-defendant who actually committed the murder. Back was stabbed 21 times on the floor during a struggle on the kitchen floor of his home.
“When one does one part, the other does another, both are equally guilty. You know that law,” O’Donnell said during an hour of oral arguments.
O’Donnell pointed out it was Myers who led Mosley to Back’s home outside Waynesville, a point in line with the prosecution’s position.
“They were equally culpable,” McKenna countered. “They should have the same penalty.”
O’Connor pointed out the long history of defendants who cooperate with prosecutors getting lighter sentences.
“It happens all the time,” she said.
McKenna also accused investigators of reading Myers his Miranda rights “late in the game” and failing to provide him a lawyer during interrogation at the Clayton Police Department.
Justice Judith French pointed out Myers was told he was “free to go.”
“How much clearer do the officers need to be?” she asked.
Fornshell said Myers was read his rights and offered legal representation, and was not questioned by Clayton police about the case before the deputies arrived to interrogate Myers and Mosley in adjoining rooms at the Clayton Police Department.
When the deputies arrived, “he was sleeping in the back of a Clayton Police Department cruiser,” Fornshell said, since he was denied re-admittance to the Mosley home after initial questioning.
“Mr. Myers didn’t have a place to live,” Fornshell said, adding it was 15 degrees below zero on the night they were arrested after dumping the body in Preble County.
Fornshell listed cases in which the Ohio Supreme Court had affirmed death penalties for 18- and 19-year-olds and pointed out Myers was a year older than 18, the minimum age standard set for the death penalty in the state.
In response to questions from O’Donnell, Fornshell said there was no diagnosis of a mental condition and said defense lawyers intentionally decided against calling an expert to describe Myers’ mental condition.
“He could have called a mental health expert. He made the decision not to,” Fornshell said.
Fornshell also emphasized that Myers was the one who knew Back and knew that he had a safe at the home outside Waynesville.
In addition, Fornshell laid out a series of steps taken by Myers over two days leading to the killing.
“Austin was more culpable,” he said, urging the high court to “impose the sentence of death.”
McKenna pointed to a notebook produced right before the trial as evidence Mosley was more involved in the planning than prosecutors portrayed and claimed that Myers’ lawyers erred in not calling a mental health expert.
“That expert could have swayed one juror,” he said.
Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 @ 5:50 AM
PERRIS, Calif. — Following their parents’ arrest, the Turpin siblings finally tasted freedom.
A surveillance video shows the siblings exiting the house where they were allegedly held captive. One grown sibling is shown carrying one of the younger children while another sibling is seen running to the silver van in the driveway that would take them from the house which reports have described as a nightmare.
David and Louise Turpin were arrested after one of their daughters reportedly escaped from the home and called police. The children were found Jan. 14 at their home in Perris, California. The Turpin parents are accused of abusing their children for years.
The parents allegedly forced the children to shower only once a year, shackled them to furniture and beat them routinely, Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said at a press conference. The Turpins also are accused of taunting their children with food. Hestrin said the children had not been to a doctor in four years and had never visited a dentist.
The 13 siblings, ages 2 to 29, have all been hospitalized. Hestrin said the oldest sibling, a 29-year-old woman, weighed only 82 pounds. He said a 12-year-old sibling was the weight of an average 7-year-old.
All of the siblings are being treated for malnutrition and undergoing other diagnostic tests.
“Circumstantial evidence in the house suggests that the victims were often not released from their chains to go to the bathroom,” Hestrin said at the press conference. “If the children were found to wash their hands above the wrist area, they were accused of playing in the water, and they would be chained up.”
The parents have each been charged with 12 counts of torture, 12 counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of abuse of a dependent adult and six counts of child abuse. In addition, David Turpin has been charged with one count of a lewd act on a child under the age of 14 by force, fear or duress. They have each pleaded not guilty to all charges.
David Macher, a lawyer representing David Turpin, told ABC News: “What we would like the public to know is that our clients are presumed to be innocent, and that’s a very important presumption,” adding, “We’re going to provide a vigorous defense.”
Meanwhile, Hestrin said that when the siblings were not chained up, they were locked in different rooms and were not allowed to have toys. Investigators said they found many toys in the house; however, they were reportedly in their original packaging and had never been opened.
The Turpins are accused of starting the torture of their children when they lived in a rural area of North Texas near Fort Worth. Hestrin said the torture “intensified over time and worsened” when they moved to California in 2014.
“They were fed very little, on a schedule," Hestrin added.
The moved to a middle-class neighborhood in Perris, about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles, where they home-schooled their children and allegedly kept them trapped inside the home.
A sister of Louise Turpin, Elizabeth Flores, told ABC the couple kept to themselves.
“This has been going on before they even had children. … They were real private, and they didn’t come around much,” Flores said.
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 10:26 AM
ABC News reported that the parents were moving from California to Oklahoma days before they were arrested and charged with torture and child endangerment, citing multiple unnamed sources.
David Turpin was getting a job transfer with a defense contractor he was working with, according to ABC News. Moving boxes were reportedly found at the residence. The report says the family has moved to multiple places over the years, including a home in Texas.
The couple’s 17-year-old daughter escaped the home early Jan. 14 and called 911, saying her 12 siblings were “being held captive” at a Perris, California, residence by her parents.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said in a Jan. 15 news release that the siblings, ranging in ages from 2 to 29, “appeared to be malnourished and very dirty.” Six of the siblings are minors.
Riverside County District Attorney Mike Hestrin said David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were charged with 12 counts of torture and a lewd act on a child by force or fear of duress. The siblings could only have one meal a day and take one shower a year. Hestrin said at a news conference that the siblings were able to write in journals all the time, which will provide “strong evidence of what occurred in that home.”
Two dogs were found by authorities in the home, according to city spokesman Joe Vargo. Vadrgo said in a statement that the two Maltese terrier dogs were in much better condition than the siblings.
“The animals, one white and one black, appear healthy and friendly and are leash-trained, according to Christina Avila, a senior animal control officer,” a news release from the City of Perris said.
Published: Wednesday, January 24, 2018 @ 4:20 AM
Friends told AZFamily.com that Gilstrap was the wife of an airman stationed at Luke Air Force Base, and she had just learned she was pregnant with their first child.
Buckeye is an area popular with recreational shooters, Buckeye Police Chief Larry Hall told reporters. He said both the Buckeye Police Department and the Bureau of Land Management had officers in the area because of the high number of people out shooting.
“There’s tons of ricochets. And our incident from yesterday was an indication that the round that was fired at our victim, yesterday, came from a completely different direction than where everybody’s firing right now. There are no regulations out here,” Hall said.
Police said there were hundreds of people out shooting Jan. 14.
Gilstrap was shot in the chest around 2 p.m. A pickup truck sped to a group of officers with Gilstrap in the bed; a group of people performed chest compressions on her in an effort to deliver emergency first aid. Witnesses told the officers they heard three distinct shots but didn’t know where they came from. One of the bullets lodged in Gilstrap’s chest. She was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, but she died Jan. 15.
Hall said the area is filled with trash and debris, which makes it easy for bullets to ricochet and hit another shooter.
“And that’s where this whole situation out here is absolutely dangerous,” Hall said. “I would never bring my family out here, and I’d never bring my friends out here.”
Hall said investigators have not been able to pinpoint the shooter.
“The biggest challenge we’re facing in this investigation right now is that there are hundreds of shooters out here, and there were hundreds of shooters just south of where the incident occurred, which is a 1-mile stretch of area,” Hall said. “In trying to determine trajectory, and actually the round that hit her, it’s gonna be a very challenging investigation at this point.”
Others who frequent the Buckeye desert were shocked but not surprised that something like this happened.
Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 3:08 PM
SPRINGFIELD — A Springfield man accused of attempted murder for a 2016 shooting on Race Street allegedly gave police officers a fake name to avoid charges, according to a police report.
Dantez Craigmiles, 33, pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, aggravated burglary and falisfication in the Clark County Municipal Court on Tuesday morning. Bond was set at $500,000.
On Nov. 1 of 2016, around 11:50 p.m. officers and medics were dispatched to a home in the 100 block of South Race Street on a report of a man being shot.
Craigmiles allegedly entered the home without permission and pointed a gun at two witnesses, according to a police report. A man then came out of the bedroom and punched Craigmiles, who shot the man, Kenneth Adams in the chest, the report said. As the man fell to the ground, the suspect walked over and stood over top of Mr. Adams and fired another shot, striking him in the left side of his head, according to the report.
At about 7:45 p.m. Monday, police stopped a vehicle after it had turned the wrong way onto a one-way street. The passenger in the vehicle identified himself as “Jay Bellew,” but dispatch could not find the name in records. The man allegedly also gave his birthdate at “11-6-7-91,” the report said. However, officers were able to identify Craigmiles with pictures and a list of his known tattoos.
While being taken into custody, officers found four bundles of an unknown off-white substance and an unlabeled pill bottle containing 30 Ambien pills in his jacket pocket, the report said. The drugs were sent to the lab for testing, according to the report.
Craigmiles was placed in the Clark County Jail.
5 QUICK CRIME READS