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4 possible motives in Pike County Ohio murders

Published: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 12:33 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 @ 2:58 PM

No arrests have been made in the Ohio shooting investigation of eight execution-style killings of members of the Rhoden family last week in Pike County, Ohio.

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Large-scale marijuana grow operations were discovered at three of the four murder scenes.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine told the Dayton Daily News on Monday that the possibility of a Mexican drug cartel connection has not been ruled out and that investigators are looking at everything.

Here are four possible motives:

Mexican drug cartel

In 2010, state officials announced the seizure of 22,000 marijuana plants in the village of Latham -- 15 miles west of Piketon -- and said they suspected a connection to Mexican drug cartels.

In August 2012, Ohio law enforcement officers found “a major marijuana grow site in Pike County with suspected ties to a Mexican drug cartel,” according to a news release that DeWine’s office issued at the time. Investigators said they discovered about 1,200 marijuana plants, which were destroyed, and they also found evidence of two abandoned campsites that they believe belonged to Mexican nationals.

The marijuana grow operations that authorities discovered appeared to be for commercial use and not personal use.

“We’re running these leads out,” DeWine told CBS News. “But there’s many different theories.”

The marijuana grow operations were not simply a few random plants in a field somewhere, the Columbus Dispatch reported from an interview with Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk. He told Dispatch reporters that at least one was indoors and there appeared to be several hundred plants.

“It wasn’t just somebody sitting pots in the window,” Junk told the Dispatch.

"CBS This Morning" reported that the street value of the marijuana found is nearly $500,000.

“There’s a drug problem in most areas around here,” Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader said.

Family feud

The identities of the eight people killed are Hannah Gilley, 20; Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16; Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Dana Rhoden, 37; Gary Rhoden, 38; Hanna Rhoden, 19; and Kenneth Rhoden, 44.

While nothing has been ruled out, it is unlikely that it was a random act of violence or a crime committed by another member of the Rhoden family, authorities said.

“This is a pre-planned execution of eight individuals. It was a sophisticated operation, and those who carried it out were trying to do everything they could do to hinder the investigation and their prosecution,” DeWine said. “We don’t know if it was one or two (shooters).”

Reader said the victims did not have previous criminal contact with his office.

Seven of the victims were found in three Union Hill Road homes in Piketon, while the eighth was found within a 10-minute drive from the other victims, most of whom were executed while they were in bed. All were killed during the nighttime hours.

Three children -- a 4-day-old, a 6-month-old and a 3-year-old -- were found unharmed at the scenes.

At Sunday’s news conference, Reader said he warned other Rhoden family members to be on guard.

Leonard Manley, the father of victim Dana Rhoden, called whoever committed the murders “a bunch of scumbags” who know the family.

“Whoever done it knows the family,” Manley said. “(Because) there were two dogs there that would eat you up. But I ain’t going to say no more.”

Manley, who is still shaken up about the the loss of this relatives, said his daughter was a kind person who would “give you the shirt off her back,” and people in the area were aware of her kindness.

He learned about the deaths Friday morning from another one of his daughters, who discovered the victims and called him, Manley said, noting that he’s taken the sheriff’s advice and has armed himself.

Facebook threat

DeWine said his office has “received over 100 tips, conducted over 50 to 60 interviews (and) over 100 personnel were involved in this investigation.”

Two of those individuals interviewed were Isaiah Jones and Rusty Mongold.

Jones told CBS News that he was detained at gunpoint during a traffic stop. He was questioned for six hours, then released.

“I really want people to know I had nothing to do with it,” a tearful Jones said. “These were also friends of mine and that I went to school with.”

Mongold, Jones’ friend, said in a Facebook post that he had nothing to do with the shooting and that he went to the sheriff’s office to clear his name and submit a DNA sample.

The recent Facebook post stemmed from an April 12 Facebook post that alluded to a “kid that hit (Mongold) with his car” and wanting to “beat his skull in,” a perceived threat against the youngest murder victim.

A commenter asks if it’s Chris Rhoden, and Mongold responds, “Yes.”

Cockfighting ring

DeWine said that he can’t definitively say that the Rhoden family was involved in cockfighting.

But when he visited one of the crime scenes Friday, he said he noticed roosters in cages that are normally associated with cockfighting.

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1 dead in double stabbing at Massachusetts library

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 3:46 PM

Jeffrey Yao, 24, is accused of stabbing two people at a library in Massachusetts.
Winchester Police Department
Jeffrey Yao, 24, is accused of stabbing two people at a library in Massachusetts.(Winchester Police Department)

A 22-year-old woman is dead after a double stabbing Saturday at a public library in Massachusetts.

Winchester police tell Boston 25 News they were called to the Winchester Public Library just after 10:30 a.m.

When police arrived, they found a female and an elderly man both suffering from stab wounds, Boston25News reported.

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Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan says the 22-year-old female was in the library sitting at a table when the suspect,  24-year-old Jeffrey Yao, approached her from behind and stabbed her with a 10-inch hunting knife.

She suffered multiple stab wounds to the head and upper torso and was taken to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Several people in the library ran to help the woman, including a 77-year-old man who also sustained stab wounds, Boston25News reported. He was taken to the hospital. 

Yao was arrested in connection with the stabbing. He is being held without bail and is facing murder and assault with intent to murder with a dangerous weapon charges.

Officials did not say if the stabbing was random or if Yao knew the victim. They are still investigating the stabbing - including the motive. 

The victim has not been identified.

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Florida man accused of burglary, sexual battery on sleeping woman, police say

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 2:44 PM
Updated: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 2:33 PM

Lamarsh Shelly
Palm Beach County Jail
Lamarsh Shelly(Palm Beach County Jail)

Police arrested a Florida man Monday after he allegedly broke into a sleeping woman’s home and committed sexual battery.

Officers responded to an apartment in an undisclosed West Palm Beach neighborhood about 5 a.m.  Feb. 19 when a woman called and said she woke up to a man kneeling at the foot of her bed and touching her genital area, according to the arrest report.

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She told officers that she asked the man — who was later identified as 27-year-old Lamarsh Shelly — what he was doing in her house, and he said “your door was open,” the police report states.

According to the arrest report, Shelly then asked her if she wanted to have sex and asked her for a cigarette. She gave him a cigarette, and she demanded he leave the apartment. She told officers that she knew him from the neighborhood, and he went by the nickname “Honeycomb.”

The woman said Shelly was wearing a black shirt with tan pants, the Palm Beach Post reported. Officers then spoke to another witness who said that she saw Shelly outside of the apartment walking north while smoking a cigarette.

Officers located Shelly at 8th Street and Herietta Avenue, where he told officers, “I don’t burglarize and I don’t want sex,” the report states.

Shelly later admitted to officers that he walked into the apartment, opened the front door and saw the victim sleeping in her bed, the Palm Beach Post reported. He said that he made noises to wake her up to tell her that her front door was open, but did not mention touching her.

Police said children were sleeping in the apartment when the incident occurred.

Officers arrested Shelly on charges of sexual battery and burglary. He remains at the Palm Beach County jail on no bond, according to jail records.

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Police: Teen mother arrested, accused of killing newborn baby

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 1:08 PM



tillsonburg/Getty Images
(tillsonburg/Getty Images)

A Texas teenage mother was arrested Friday, accused of killing her newborn child earlier this month, police said.

Erica Gomez, 17, is accused of stabbing her newborn child, wrapping the infant girl in a bathrobe and hiding the body in a storage shed at a home in the El Paso area, police said. The infant's body was found Feb. 9 by authorities, the El Paso Times reported. 

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The infant had a stab wound and cuts to the neck and body, according to a news release from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Gomez was charged with capital murder and is being held on $800,000 bond, according to records from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

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Dayton man shot at after dice game

Published: Saturday, February 24, 2018 @ 1:05 PM


            A Dayton man told police he was shot at after returning home follwing a game of dice, according to a police report.
A Dayton man told police he was shot at after returning home follwing a game of dice, according to a police report.

A 32-year-old Dayton man was shot at multiple times after pulling into his driveway following a game of dice, according to a police report.

A possible suspect in the shooting had a run-in with the victim during a dice game a few months earlier, the report indicates.

On Friday night, police responded to a call of shots fired outside a home on the 2800 block of Argella Avenue in southeast Dayton.

Police said they found five bullet holes in the trunk of the car, and bullets struck the back windshield and rear tire.

Bullets exited the front windshield of the 2007 Cadillac DTS and hit the center of the steering wheel. The driver told police he had been shot at before and ducked down in the passenger seat when he heard gunfire.

“Had (the man) not ducked into the passenger’s seat, he would have been struck by a minimum of one bullet,” the police report states.

MORE: Teen held in slaying of Dayton mom in front of two kids

The man said he did not see the suspect or suspects, but they evidently fled in a purple vehicle.

The victim told police he had just come from a game of dice about a block away.

The victim’s relative told police she believed the shooter may be a former classmate who the victim encountered during a dice game a few months earlier, according to the statements they made to police.

The victim said he had won about $660 when the man snatched the money from his hands. The victim’s brother took it back without further incident.

The victim said he ran into the man again at a bootleg joint earlier this week, and the man indicated that the matter was not resolved, the report shows.

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