Pike County murders: What’s really going on?

Published: Monday, April 17, 2017 @ 3:02 PM
Updated: Monday, April 17, 2017 @ 4:08 PM

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the Pike County Sheriff talked to the media Thursday morning and provided an update to the Rogan family deaths from 2016.

The largest criminal investigation in Ohio history has generated 800 tips, half as many police interviews and 38 search warrants. But nearly a year after the mass killings of eight family members in Pike County, no one has been arrested for the murders.

April 22 marks the one-year anniversary of the execution-style shootings, and our news crews have interviewed Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, neighbors and friends of the victims. They all say the case has taken a toll on the community and themselves.

MORE ON PIKE COUNTY
» APRIL 23, 2016: After murders, a rural town on edge
» APRIL 29, 2016: 'Cold-blooded calculated massacre': One week later in Pike County
» AUG. 8, 2016: Arrests needed in ‘tragically evil’ Pike Co. shootings, pastor says
» AUG. 24, 2016: Pike County shootings show “similarities” to Kentucky murders

“I think about this every morning, and it’s the last thing I think about every night,” Reader said.

“I see the look of disappointment when I speak with the family, and I look into their eyes and see the grieving they still have,” he said.

Reader said the anniversary could bring renewed attention to the case, meaning the potential for new tips and information for investigators.

» ABOUT THE VICTIMS: A closer look at the 8 who died

DeWine said that marijuana grow operations found at two of the four crime scenes might have hampered the investigation.

“This is a homicide investigation,” DeWine said. “It’s not that we don’t care what you’ve done with drugs — we care, but our focus is on the homicide, and so people should not be concerned about coming forward and disclosing information that may be helpful in the investigation that also incriminates themselves.”

MORE ON PIKE COUNTY 
» DEC. 5, 2016: Pike County killings captured the nation's attention 
» PHOTOS: Scenes from Pike County six months after a massacre 
» APRIL 11, 2017: Ohio covers funeral costs for Pike County murder victims 

A look at the southern Ohio case, by the numbers:

10-12 investigators working on the case in any given week.

800 tips received by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Pike County Sheriff’s Office.

400 interviews conducted by investigators, including multiple interviews of some individuals.

38 search warrants have been executed. 

4 different homes were crime scenes at which eight Rhoden family members were found shot to death, including wives, husbands, sons, daughters and fiancees.

3 children were spared by the killer or killers, one 3 years old, and two infants, one 6 months and a 4-day-old baby snuggled in bed next to a mother shot execution style.

3 marijuana grow sites were found at the homes of Kenneth Rhoden and Chris Rhoden Sr., both of whom were killed.

$10,000 reward is available and officials want to increase the amount, saying anyone interested in donating may call 1-855-BCI-OHIO.

High Court: Sentencing for youthful offenders guilty in adult court stays in adult court

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 6:07 PM

Kylen Gregory, 16,  will be tried as an adult in the fatal shooting of Fairmont High School junior Ronnie Bowers last summer in Kettering.
Kylen Gregory, 16, will be tried as an adult in the fatal shooting of Fairmont High School junior Ronnie Bowers last summer in Kettering.

Youthful offenders found guilty in adult court for certain offenses now will have all convictions sentenced in adult court, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled today.

Today’s ruling reverses a 2014 decision by the 2nd District Court of Appeals. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office appealed that ruling, and the High Court sided with the county, according to a news release from the prosecutor’s office.

RELATED: Teen accused of killing Fairmont student to be tried as adult

“This ruling makes sense in that the adult court judge is in the best position to sentence the defendant,” Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. stated. "Today’s ruling will help to streamline the administration of justice and provide finality for crime victims.”

RELATED: Dayton teen to be tried as adult in carjacking case

The ruling applies to juveniles convicted whose crimes were subject to a mandatory transfer to adult court. The appeals court ruling that was overturned ordered all other charges that were not subject to a mandatory transfer had to go back to juvenile court.

Teen girl pleads for help in first 911 text call in Miami County

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 9:11 PM

Matthew Weigel
Matthew Weigel

When a teenage girl texted 911 last week to say she was in the car with a 20-year-old man headed down Interstate 75 to buy heroin, it was Miami County Communications Center’s first such call.

It also was exactly the type of situation the text to 911 technology was intended to address, center Director Jeff Busch said Tuesday. The county announced earlier this month it was able to handle texts to 911.

READ: Tipp City drug ring suspect reports theft in Florida, is arrested

A transcript of the communication on July 22 between the girl, who was a passenger in the car, outlined the back and forth communication as the 16-year-old pleaded for help.

She described the situation and provided information as she traveled in the vehicle driven by Matthew Weigel from Miami County into Harrison Twp.a drug buy and their return up the interstate before being stopped near Tipp City.

"He's on a house arrest bracelet and he's trying to take me to Dayton with him to get heroin … cannot call on the phone," the girl texted. She also reported Weigel said he would lead police on a high-speed chase and wreck the vehicle, if necessary. 

READ: Former high school referee pleads not guilty to rape involving minor

The teen said the man thought she was texting his mother, though later in the transcript she texted he called her a "snitch." 

The interaction lasted around 30 minutes. The vehicle was stopped by the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Tipp City police. Weigel was apprehended without incident. He is in the Miami County Jail on suspicion of a probation violation. 

Miami County commissioners mentioned the successful resolution of the incident during their Tuesday morning meeting. 

MORE: Investigators may never know how Troy teen drowned, police say

Busch earlier told commissioners the technology would be beneficial in certain circumstances, such as when someone was in a house or another situation in which a phone call could endanger the caller. Voice calls are preferred when possible, he said. 

"Obtaining and verifying information can be done more quickly through a voice call. Furthermore, telecommunicators can gain valuable insight into situations by hearing the tone of the caller's voice and listening to background noises through voice calls," Busch said on July 23 when he announced the new technology.

Former high school referee pleads not guilty to rape; judge reduces bond

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 5:21 PM

Henry Lucas (Courtesy/Miami County Sheriff's Office)
Henry Lucas (Courtesy/Miami County Sheriff's Office)

TROY – A Troy man and former Ohio High School Athletic Association referee pleaded not guilty today to felony rape in Miami County Common Pleas Court.

Henry A. Lucas, 52, also saw his bail reduced, as requested, following a review by Judge Christopher Gee of a bond check report ordered during the morning arraignment hearing. 

Lucas is accused of sexual conduct involving a teenage girl in Troy in March and attempting to alter evidence against him. He pleaded not guilty to rape and tamping with evidence during arraignment via video from the county jail. 

More than 20 supporters of Lucas were in the courtroom for the hearing. 

Defense lawyer Andy Pratt asked Gee to consider a request for the recognizance bond or to “substantially reduce” Lucas’ bail of $400,000. Pratt said Lucas was a lifelong local resident and would live with his mother, if released. 

“He has tremendous support within the community,” Pratt said, pointing to those attending the hearing. 

Janna Parker, assistant county prosecutor, said prosecutors would request a cash bond for Lucas. She pointed out Lucas has a felony record and spent time in prison. He was convicted of a drug-related offense in 2010. 

Gee signed a bond order Thursday afternoon reducing the bail to $100,000, which can be posted at 10 percent cash or surety. 

Among conditions of the bail, if posted, were that Lucas have no contact with the minor victim, the minor victim's mother and have no unsupervised conduct with minors. 

The bond check was conducted by the adult probation office. 

Lucas was a long-time official for the OHSAA. His license was suspended following his arrest.

1,100 ecstasy tablets seized, 1 jailed in Kettering drug raid

Published: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 2:06 PM
Updated: Thursday, July 27, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

UPDATE @ 7 p.m.

Detectives seized around 1,100 ecstasy tablets and several ounces of powder of the psychoactive drug during a raid this morning at a Kettering apartment complex.

Kameron Curran, 21, was arrested at the apartments in the 2000 block of Lakewood Drive on suspicion of drug possession, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office. He was booked into the Montgomery County Jail, where he awaits formal charges.

Kameron Curran(MONTGOMERY COUNTY JAIL)

The raid ended a drug trafficking investigation conducted by the Regional Agencies Narcotics & Gun Enforcement Task Force along with agents from Homeland Security Investigations, according to the sheriff’s office.

The incident remains under investigation.

The task force urges anyone with information on drug activity to make a confidential call to the narcotics hotline at 937-225-6272.

FIRST REPORT

A man was escorted out of an apartment complex in handcuffs this morning on Lakewood Drive in Kettering during an apparent raid.

The circumstances surrounding the raid were not immediately known, however heavily armed undercover sheriff’s deputies were seen with the man, whose name has not been released.

OTHER NEWS: Woman overdoses in parking lot of Shelby County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies were on the scene around noon Thursday.

We’re working to learn additional details on this incident.