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Police still working to find who killed Fairfield teen

Published: Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 7:00 AM
Updated: Friday, April 15, 2016 @ 8:17 AM

Four years ago today, 15-year-old Chelsea Johnson was found stabbed to death near a Fairfield creek close to the intersection of Pleasant Avenue and Nilles Road.

And four years later, her killer remains unknown and uncharged.

Just before the third anniversary of the Fairfield Options Academy student’s murder, authorities announced a grand jury did not return an indictment against a suspect in the case, despite a year-long investigation in which the Butler County Sheriff’s Office took a fresh look at the case.

George D. Davis II, of Cincinnati, who was sent to prison for drug trafficking, importuning, and having weapons under disability for attempting to exchange heroin for sex with Chelsea was released in January, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Fairfield Police and Butler County Sheriff’s detectives as well as the county prosecutor say the case is not forgotten and they continue to work on any leads as they get them.

But Johnson’s mother, Vicky Fible, says it is not enough. On Wednesday, she spent time in Hamilton County at an annual summit in Bond Hill as part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. The event was attended not only by survivors, but also by police officers, judges and prosecutors.

“I think Hamilton County needs to look at Chelsea’s case,” Fible said. “They are on it (case investigations) over there.”

Fible said she is frustrated that her daughter’s case continues to be unsolved and the lack of communication by officials with her.

“They don’t call me and when I (call them), it takes a day for them to call back,” Fible said. Adding another set of eyes is needed on the case, she said.

In April 2014, Fible and other family and friends protested outside the Butler County Government Services Center carrying signs saying “Justice for Chelsea.”

At the request of Fible, the sheriff’s office joined forces that year with Fairfield police and embarked on a tandem investigation.

The results of that investigation were presented in a grand jury during two days of testimony, but the grand jury declined to return an indictment.

“After consideration of all of the facts in the case presented to it by the prosecuting attorney of Butler County, which included two days of testimony and the presentation of nine witnesses, the grand jury has returned no indictment” against the suspect,” said Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser when the results were disclosed.

This week, Gmoser said the case was not closed.

“It’s not a cold case in the sense that they are still working it,” he said.

Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey agreed.

“It remains under investigation,” Dickey said, noting detectives also get frustrated about not closing a case. That makes them work harder. “It stays with you. We are not going to give up on it.”

When asked if detectives are monitoring the location of Davis, who some believe may know more about the case, Dickey declined to comment except to say, “We are aware of the current situation.”

Butler County Sheriff’s Maj. Mike Craft said they too continue to work on the case, but could give no more information about the investigation.

“But every time there is an anniversary or an event with media coverage, it does seem to get more information flowing,” Craft said.

The sheriff’s office is also investigating the Katelyn Markham disappearance from her Fairfield home in August 2011. Her remains were found in April 2013 in Indiana and her death has been ruled a homicide. Katelyn’s father, Dave Markham, asked the sheriff’s office to take a look at the case in December.

The shooting death of 19-year-old Joseph Oakley, who was found near the same creek bed as Chelsea in August 2012 also remains unsolved.

A memorial remembering Chelsea will be held a 3 p.m. Saturday at her grave site in Arlington Memorial Gardens Cemetery on Compton Road in Cincinnati.

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Austin package explosions: Parts of downtown Pflugerville shut down due to suspicious package report

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:50 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:50 AM

Package Explodes At FedEx Facility In Shertz,Texas

Police have shut down parts of downtown Pflugerville, an Austin suburb, due to a report of a suspicious package, the city’s police chief said early Wednesday. It is not yet known whether the incident is related to the Austin bombings.

The news came the day after investigators linked a fifth bomb blast at a FedEx ground delivery facility northeast of San Antonio to the deadly package bombs in Austin. A sixth blast at a south Austin Goodwill store was not related to the bombings, investigators said.

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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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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.

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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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