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Published: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 @ 11:47 AM
Updated: Tuesday, July 18, 2017 @ 7:11 PM
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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 change.org 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.”
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 6:37 PM
TROY — A Michigan man who led state troopers on a 55-mile chase from Piqua to Allen County in November was sentenced Monday in Miami County Common Pleas Court to 30 months in prison.
David Nehmer, 27, of Paw Paw, Michigan, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer and six months in jail for driving while under the influence. The sentences will be served concurrently in the penitentiary. Nehmer’s driver’s license was also suspended for five years.
Nehmer was arrested in the early morning hours on Interstate 75 near Bluffton. The pursuit began in Piqua after troopers received a report of a vehicle driving on its rims.
The pursuit of Nehmer — wanted on warrants out of Michigan — included speeds of more than 120 mph, troopers said.
Janna Parker, an assistant county prosecutor, said Nehmer was on parole in Michigan at the time of the chase that included what she called “insanely fast speeds” on tire rims. She said Nehmer put not only himself but multiple police officers and countless motorists at risk.
Judge Christopher Gee sentenced Nehmer, calling the pursuit “a horrific and very dangerous chase.” Gee said Nehmer was fortunate no one, including him, was injured.
“This kind of behavior cannot be condoned in any way,” Gee said.
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Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 5:57 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 6:30 PM
CLARK COUNTY, Ohio — The Clark County Sheriff’s Office says a woman’s 3-month-old daughter who died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in 1984 was buried in the wrong grave at a family plot in Glen Haven Memorial Gardens in Bethel Twp.
Connie Rosellen told News Center 7 she discovered the mistake after the death of her stepfather. During his burial, cemetery officials reportedly struck her daughter’s casket and broke it.
Rosellen said she called deputies last week after arriving at the cemetery for her daughter’s disinterment and reburial and allegedly found the baby’s remains in what she described as a shallow grave, covered only by the blanket she was buried with, a tarp and and a plywood board.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office says multiple deputies responded to the cemetery but they didn’t open a criminal case. According to their initial investigation, the cemetery followed all legal procedures.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 9:44 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 11:58 AM
— A wrongful death civil lawsuit has been filed in the October Moraine police officer-involved fatal shooting of a Dayton man.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court by the estate of Jamarco McShann alleges a conspiracy and misconduct involving several Moraine police officers.
“Defendant Officers John Howard, Jerry Knight, Michael Cornely, Justin Eller, Brian O’Neal, and unnamed officers willfully and maliciously shot Jamarco Dewayne McShann to death, and/or failed to intervene to prevent the use of deadly force against him despite the duty and the opportunity to do so,” the lawsuit states.
On Wednesday, the attorneys that filed the suit had a press conference that included other community activists and mothers of other Ohio men who have been shot and killed by police.
“Jamarco McShann’s rights were violated,” said attorney Andrew Stroth, who filed the lawsuit. “He was unjustifiably shot and killed. There was no provocation. There was no threat of danger. The officers shot and killed him through the back of his vehicle. And the lawsuit outlines the allegations.”
Rev. Jerome McCorry, president and CEO of the National Congress on Faith & Social Justice, said: "We will fight for justice until justice is done.” Attorneys for the family also said it was “unacceptable” that the officers who fired their guns were back on full duty.
“The City of Moraine does not comment on pending litigation,” read a statement made Wednesday by Moraine law director Buzz Portune, “but is satisfied that all actions taken by its Division of Police and officers involved in the matter were fully compliant with all applicable law enforcement standards and appropriate under the circumstances.”
“The defendant officers otherwise acted both willfully, wantonly, recklessly, negligently, intentionally, and with malice and willful indifference in committing the acts alleged in this complaint, which resulted in the wrongful death of Jamarco McShann,” according to the suit.
The 23-year-old McShann, died from “multiple shotgun and gunshot wounds” after a confrontation with Moraine officers John Howard and Jerry Knight in the early-morning hours of Oct. 20, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation oversaw a probe into the matter at the request of the Moraine Police Division. That has been forwarded to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.
Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 3:26 PM
TROY — A Piqua man pleaded guilty Wednesday to felony rape in a case heard in Miami County Common Pleas Court.
Dylan Cost, 21, initially faced one count of rape for alleged sexual conduct with a person under age 13, in August in Piqua. As part of a plea deal, that charge will be dismissed.
The new charge does not specify the age of the victim and carries a shorter potential sentence. He could receive up to 11 years in prison at sentencing April 30. The original charge carried a possible life sentence.
Judge Jeannine Pratt found Cost guilty and ordered a pre-sentence investigation.
He will be classified as a Tier III sex offender at sentencing. The designation will require him to register his address at the sheriff’s office in the county where he lives every 90 days for the rest of his life after prison release.