Prosecutor won’t try ex-officer Tensing third time, family angered

Published: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 @ 11:47 AM
Updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 @ 7:11 PM

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said Ray Tensing will not be retried in the death of a man.

Hamilton County’s prosecutor said he believed in his case against a white former police officer accused in the shooting death of a black motorist, but he also believed he had “zero chance” of winning a third trial.

Prosecutor Joe Deters — in an emotionally charged press conference Tuesday afternoon — announced that he will not pursue a new trial against Ray Tensing. Hung juries had not been able to reach verdicts in two previous trials of the former University of Cincinnati police officer who killed Sam Dubose during a traffic stop two years ago.

The then 27-year-old Tensing was fired in July of 2015 after a grand jury indicted him for murder and voluntary manslaughter for killing Dubose, 43, after pulling him over for missing a front license plate on his car. Tensing shot once, hitting DuBose in the head, a body camera worn by the ex-cop revealed.

MORE: Mistrial declared in Ray Tensing murder case

Deters was direct during his commentary Tuesday, declaring a third trial would not result in a conviction.

He told the media that he met with “multiple jurors, black and white,” and explained that they felt that there would be zero chance that there could be a conviction on murder and voluntary manslaughter charges.

“If you talk to the Dubose family, they are going to be upset,” he said. “We did everything we could to secure a conviction because we believed in that case. We hired the best experts in the country to testify, and it just didn’t work… For whatever reason there were jurors who felt (Tensing) feared for his life.”

Cases involving a police officer as a defendant are difficult, Deters said, because people tend to want to give the benefit of the doubt to the officer.

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“But we believed in our case or we wouldn’t have brought it,” he said.

Deters called it the most difficult decision of his career. He noted that he has cleared 51 officers of alleged crimes in his career, and this is the first officer that he has brought charges against.

The veteran prosecutor explained that, although the justice system in America is not perfect, it’s still the best in the world.

“It is the best system in the world, but it is imperfect,” he said. “There is outrage about verdicts all the time like the O.J. Simpson case, this case, and back in 1800s we had a jury verdict that caused a courthouse to be burned down. This is not a new thing, but this is the system we have. It’s better than just getting thrown in the slammer like North Korea. We have a jury of our peers that decide right or wrong, and that’s what we have here (in the Tensing case).”

Sgt. Dan Hils, head of the Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge No. 69, which represents a large part of Cincinnati’s 1,000-plus sworn officers, thought it was a wise move not to pursue a third trial with the same charges against Tensing.

“I think there was no chance of getting conviction with those charges,” Hils said.

MORE: Officer who shot Fairfield’s John Crawford returns to regular duty

He also believes that as the two-year high profile Tensing case is now over, that it will be “business as usual” for officers serving the city.

Dubose’s sister, Trina Allen, spoke about the decision not to go to a third trial. She said she will be “on Tensing’s back for the rest of his life,” letting everybody know that he is a murderer.

Citing several police involved shooting cases including Tamir Rice, John Crawford and Philando Castile, Allen said it is geting harder for the black community to trust police.

“I think that it is outrageous,” she said. “I am going to make sure that whatever community he (Tensing) lives in, they know that he is a racist who pulled a gun and shot a man in the head because he didn’t comply with him.”

Deters said the next move in the legal process involves turning all of the evidence in the case to U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman.

MORE: Feds won’t charge Beavercreek officer in Walmart shooting

Glassman’s office will review evidence from the state court trials to assess whether there are possible federal civil rights offenses that might warrant prosecution.

Deters said Glassman’s office contacted him after Tensing’s second hung jury. He says his prosecutors have turned over case information to the federal authorities.

“They called us and we sent everything to them. They will look at how many African-Americans he (Tensing) was pulling over. They will look at the (Confederate Flag) T-shirt he was wearing at the time of the shooting.”

Several thousand people signed a petition Hamilton resident Lacy Robinson, 25, created on and delivered to Deters expressing support for Tensing and asking that a third trial not be conducted.

“I’ve watched these trials from day one … and I think it was a justified decision,” Robinson said. “That is why I started the petition. He made the decision to defend our city, and it is time for us to defend him.”

She said the first day the petition was available to sign there were no signatures, but at the end of the second day more than 2,000 joined. It has more that 5,600 people on it now.

“We think that justice has been served,” Robinson said. “There is nothing against the Dubose family and we pray for them everyday. But we have received death threats for expressing our opinion.”

Robinson and many of the people on the petition are hoping to have a peace gathering in Cincinnati on Monday.

One person transported to hospital after stabbing in Trotwood

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 12:30 AM
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 12:40 AM

ON SCENE:Stabbing reported at Trotwood apartment

At least one person was taken to Miami Valley Hospital early Wednesday following the report of a stabbing at the Wingate at Belle Meadows Apartments in Trotwood.

Police and medics were called late Tuesday night to a report of a woman stabbed.

Crews were dispatched around 11:50 p.m. to an apartment in the 300 block of Outer Belle Drive.

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According to initial reports, a caller heard glass breaking and a woman screaming.

Additional details were not available on scene. We will continue to follow this story.

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Middletown police: Beware tree-trimming scam

Published: Wednesday, September 20, 2017 @ 1:03 AM

Middletown police are warning residents of “unscrupulous tree trimmers” who have been taking advantage of elderly people.

The police department posted its warning Tuesday on its Facebook page.

One incident was thwarted, but the culprits were paid in another incident.

Police remind residents that door-to-door solicitors need a permit in the city. Call police if tree trimmers knock on your door uninvited.

>>>2 elderly residents found dead in apparent murder-suicide in Hamilton

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine offers tips to avoid tree-trimming scams. Beware of a tree trimmer who:

  • Comes to your door unexpectedly
  • Says your trees are diseased
  • Requires a large down payment
  • Accepts only cash or check
  • Says nothing about your right to cancel
  • Starts work immediately

Sidney businessman accused of not paying people in Piqua

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 11:32 PM

Duaine E. Liette

A 57-year-old Sidney businessman is facing numerous felony theft charges after multiple people claimed he hired them to do work but didn’t pay them.

Duaine E. Liette has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Wednesday afternoon in Miami County Municipal Court. He was arraigned Friday on four felony theft charges and three misdemeanor theft counts and was released from custody on his own recognizance.

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The cases were related to complaints from June 2015, June 2017 and July 2017, in which people stated they were hired to complete work for Liette but never received payment, according to Piqua police and court records.

Piqua police arrested Liette on Thursday at 1037 Broadway St., in Piqua. The house is owned by Sidney-based real estate company American Land Investments, of which Liette is listed as its principal; the business also has the same address as Liette’s residence, records show.

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Piqua police are urging anyone else who believe they may be victims to call 937-440-9111.

Brother is one of two charged in South Lebanon homicide

Published: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 6:55 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 @ 11:20 PM

Christopher and Jacqueline Kirby
Christopher and Jacqueline Kirby(WARREN COUNTY JAIL)

A Warren County couple remained in the Warren County Jail on Tuesday, charged with murder in the killing of a relative Friday in South Lebanon.

MORE: 2 arrested in South Lebanon; Woman killed, man in critical condition

Christopher Kirby and Jaqueline R. Kirby, 30, who are married, are charged with murder, attempted murder and two counts of aggravated robbery.

Deborah Power, 63, of South Lebanon was found under a blanket and “cold to the touch with blood underneath” by sheriff’s deputies called to a home at 59 W. Broadway just before midnight Friday, according to a search warrant filed in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

Her husband, Ronnie Power, remained in critical condition Tuesday, according to WCPO-TV.

Deborah Power’s parents adopted Christopher Kirby, 38, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell told WCPO.

“Our two defendants were interested in taking some property basically for the purposes of buying drugs ultimately went in and beat our female victim to death, beat our male victim to the point to where he’s in very very critical condition and obviously we’re hopeful that he’ll survive these injuries but it’s still looking pretty dire,” Fornshell told WCPO on Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, Warren County Judge Gary Loxley set bond for the Kirbys at $250,000 each during hearings in Warren County Court.

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The case began at 11:50 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, when an 8-year-old boy called 911, according to Fornshell.

Deputies responded to the residence -- where the Kirbys also lived, according to earlier reports -- to find Ronnie Power bleeding from the head.

MORE: Murder trial delayed due to defense lawyer problem

After “rendering aid” to him, deputies found the body of Deborah Powers, who also lived there, according to a press release issued Monday by the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

Deborah Power apparently died of blunt force trauma, but tests are pending, according to Doyle Burke, chief investigator for the Warren County Coroner’s Office.

Ronnie Power’s truck was found the next day at the West Chester Hospital, where he was taken for treatment.

Investigators suspect the Kirbys traveled to the hospital in the truck. They seized clothing and the passenger side seatbelt and took swabs from the truck, according to the search warrant inventory.

The Kirbys are scheduled to return to county court at 3 p.m.Friday.