Prosecutors, PD revisit charges in Middletown mother shooting

Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 @ 10:11 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 01, 2016 @ 2:01 PM

Man charged with murder in Middletown mom death
Man charged with murder in Middletown mom death

The investigation continues into the shooting death of a Middletown mother Brittany Russell, the woman found shot to death in her vehicle at a Dayton apartment complex on Feb. 10. Her 6-month-old daughter was in the car at the time of the shooting. Friday, a panel of Montgomery County prosecutors did not approve charges against Brandon Carr, 34, the man arrested earlier this week on suspicion of Russell’s murder.

Key facts in the investigation:

  • Victim: Brittany Russell, 29, found in car on Free Pike
  • No charges approved for man arrested, Brandon Carr, 34
  • Carr remains in custody on federal probation violation
  • The infant, Haven, has been reunited with her father
  • No weapon was recovered at the scene

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UPDATE @ 1:56 p.m. (March 1):

Prosecutors are once again meeting with Dayton police to discuss possible charges against Brandon Carr in connection to the shooting death of Brittany Russell.

Carr, 34, remains in the Montgomery County jail on a federal probation violation.

UPDATE @ 2:27 p.m. (Feb. 25):

Montgomery County prosecutors did not approve formal murder charges against Brandon Carr, 34. The case was referred back to Dayton detectives for further investigation and prosecutors may meet again next week with detectives to review the case again. Carr, however, will remain in the Montgomery County jail on a federal probation violation, stemming from a 2011 federal drug trafficking and firearms conviction, according to court and jail records.

UPDATE @ 6:05 p.m. (Feb. 24):

Chris Edwards had just returned to his Middletown home Wednesday when he began hearing and seeing reports that a man was in jail in the homicide of his child’s mother.

Brittany Russell, 29, died the morning of Feb. 10 in her car of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, with 6-month-old daughter Haven safely strapped in her car seat with the car and heater running.

“It’s a great thing because he won’t be able to do this to any other families; he is off the street,” Edwards said. “It is a relief, but nothing … will bring her back.”

Edwards said he has been racked with confusion and grief trying to decide what to do next, but Haven is flourishing.

“As soon as I got I her took her to the doctor and had her checked out … her hearing from the gun shots and stuff like that. But she is fine. Really great,” Edwards said, adding he hopes she does not remember the terrible last moments of her mother’s life.

“I think about it all the time, how long did she cry before she finally fell asleep. What did she do when the gun went off,” Edwards said. “I do know that someone was watching over her that night, that is for sure.”

UPDATE @ 4:21 p.m. (Feb. 24):

Dayton police took Brandon Carr, 34, into custody in the first block of South Halloway Street. He was interviewed at the Dayton Safety Building, where he was then arrested and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of murder.

No official charges have been approved for Carr. However, Dayton police plan to meet with the prosecutor’s office Thursday morning, Sgt. Richard Blommel said.

Blommel said Carr was taken into custody without incident and through a collection of evidence and interviews investigators were able to identify him as a suspect.

UPDATE @ 9:56 a.m. (Feb. 18):

No additional charges have been approved for a man questioned in connection to the shooting death of Brittany Russell, but the investigation is still ongoing, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Curtis Burdette, 37, has been charged with an unrelated drug offense and was identified by a Cincinnati media outlet as a person of interest interviewed in the case; however, police have never officially identified him as a person of interest in Russell’s death.

UPDATE @ 11:54 a.m. (Feb. 16):

A man a Cincinnati media outlet says was arrested on unrelated drug charges after being questioned in connection to the shooting death of Brittany Russell appeared in Vandalia Municipal Court.

Curtis Burdette, 37, was arraigned on a single count of possesion of cocaine, a charge that stems from an offense in that court’s jurisdiction.

Burdette remains in the Montgomery County Jail on a $100,000 bond.


Dayton police have conducted “numerous interviews” as officers search for the person or people responsible for the Feb. 10 shooting death of Middletown’s Brittany Russell.

Russell, 29, was found with multiple gunshot wounds to the head in her car at 4115 Free Pike. Her 6-month-old daughter was found unharmed inside the running car with the heater operating.

>> EARLIER: Killer still on loose after mom found slain

Dayton police said that, on Friday, detectives interviewed a 37-year-old man in connection with the investigation. The man was found with illegal drugs in his possession, officers alleged. After the interview, the man was arrested and booked into the Montgomery County jail on felony drug charges.

A Fox 19 Cincinnati report said the man arrested after the interview was Curtis Burdette, who is 37 and is in jail on felony drug charges. A Dayton police spokeswoman Monday would neither confirm nor deny that Burdette was the man apprehended in connection with Russell’s death.

The report paraphrased Dayton police Sgt. Richard Blommel saying that more charges would be discussed with prosecutors on Tuesday, the same day Burdette is due in court on the drug charges.

Visitation for Russell will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Herr-Riggs Funeral Home, 210 S. Main St., Middletown, with services scheduled at 1 p.m. Interment will be at Woodhill Cemetery in Franklin. Friends and family members said Russell struggled with an addiction to heroin.

Burdette was found guilty of third-degree felony possession of heroin in Butler County Common Pleas Court in 2010 and sentenced to five years community control. Burdette violated his probation and was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison with 280 days of jail-time credit.

Burdette has been booked into area jails at least 11 times since 1999 on charges of criminal trespassing, theft, parole violations, domestic violence, assault and a drug trafficking charge for which he was not indicted in 2010.

Court records shows Burdette has a history of not appearing for hearings, use of illegal drugs and probation violations.

In March 2002 after serving 14 months of a two-year sentence for burglary, Burdette applied for judicial release. He wrote that he had grown mentally and spiritually, attended bible studies, was baptized, earned his G.E.D., completed drug and alcohol addiction programs and planned to study at Sinclair Community College and hold down a steady job.

“I am now realizing how important my life is to me and my goal is to keep all kinds of negativity out of my life now and forever,” Burdette wrote, adding that he could be a role model. “I do not want to see anyone follow my path of bad choices and end up in here or worse.”

Burdette’s motion for early release was denied.

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Prosecutor: Mason dad abused ‘fussy’ infant

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 2:49 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 3:32 PM

Mason dad facing child endangering charges

A Mason father is facing felony charges after allegedly causing his baby girl serious physical harm.

Jason Bittner, 33, was indicted Monday by a Warren County grand jury for felonious assault and child endangering.

Bittner’s wife took their 3-month-old daughter to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center last month with traumatic brain injuries and 29 rib fractures in various stages of healing, according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.

MORE: Butler County toddler allegedly assaulted by her babysitter has died

Doctors were told the injuries were the result of an accident, but that story is not consistent with the infant’s injuries, Fornshell said.

“The defendant knew the child had been injured on Feb. 26, but sought no medical treatment despite knowing about the head injury,” Fornshell said.

Bittner was resentful the infant, his second child, was a girl and not a boy, according to the prosecutor. But he also was intolerant of a fussy infant, Fornshell told this news outlet.

“There was underlying resentment over (the sex of the child), but his temper over the fussing may have had more to do with it,” Fornshell said.

Bittner told Mason police detectives the infant fell off a couch while in a “baby bouncer type seat” without a harness, according to a search warrant to seize Bittner’s cellphone. The incident occurred while he was alone in the house with his children after his wife went to work.

“Jason Bittner left the infant on the couch unattended with a 2-year-old sibling and went to the lower level basement of the house,” police said Bittner told them. He was away from the children for 20 to 30 minutes before returning upstairs.

“Jason Bittner advised that when he arrived upstairs he observed his infant daughter face down on the wood laminate floor with the baby bouncer seat resting over her back. Jason Bittner describes his daughter as having convulsions while lying on the floor,” detectives stated in the court documents.

Bittner said he observed a dark spot under the child’s eyes when he picked her up, but did not seek medical treatment, according to the court documents.

“Jason Bittner sent a text message to his wife that the infant had scratched herself with her fingernails causing the bruising to the eye and did not tell his wife of the infant’s fall,” according to court documents.

It was not until 48 hours later after the child was running a fever that the mother took the baby to the hospital.

“The infant’s mother had no knowledge of the fall and had suggested the baby be taken to the doctor, but was convinced by Jason Bittner that the symptoms were from cold of flu and to try treatments at home,” according to court documents.

Bittner’s attorney said there are two sides to every story and his client is presumed innocent.

“The facts will come out in court at the appropriate time,” defense attorney Steven Adams said after Bittner’s arraignment Wednesday in court, where he entered not guilty pleas to all three charges. “I just ask everyone to pray for this family. It is a very stressful ordeal, but keep an open mind because medical professionals, they can get it wrong sometimes.”

MORE: Prosecutor seeks murder charge against Butler County babysitter

Bittner, a chiropractor, was arrested Friday at his office in West Chester Twp., according to Warren County Jail booking records.

He spent the weekend in the county jail. During his arraignment Wednesday, Warren County Common Pleas Judge Timothy Tepe set bond at $25,000 with a 10 percent rule.

Adams told this news outlet after the arraignment that the baby is recovering well.

“I have seen pictures of her. She is doing quite well. She is smiling,” Adams said. “The community is behind Jason and his family and the child and the whole family. They are praying for this child and the whole family.”

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West Carrollton cruiser struck during traffic stop, driver arrested

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 3:24 AM
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 9:40 AM

CRUISER CAM: West Carrollton cruiser struck by vehicle during traffic stop, driver arrested

A woman accused of hitting a West Carrollton police cruiser, while the officer was on a separate traffic stop, was arrested on suspicion of OVI after her vehicle was stopped on Interstate 75 Friday morning, according to jail records and police.

Stephanie Dye, 47, was booked into the Montgomery County Jail following the incident on the highway around 2:45 a.m. in the area of Interstate 75 and Interstate 675.

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Police said they had pulled over a vehicle for a speed violation and as the officer was handling that traffic stop, Dye allegedly struck the stopped West Carrollton cruiser. 

The officer left the original traffic stop and was able to stop Dye’s vehicle a short time later without incident, investigators said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol was called to assist with the crash investigation involving the cruiser.

No injuries were reported.

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Tipp City: Middle school student made threats against 2 adults, building

Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 5:08 PM

The Tipp City Exempted Village Schools said Thursday that a middle school student faces misdemeanor charges including aggravated menacing and disorderly conduct after he allegedly made written comments threatening intent to harm two adults within the building and to cause building destruction. 

Tipp City police were notified and are investigating the incident. There were no injuries. 

“The Tipp City Police Department does not deem the student to be an immediate threat to students, staff, or the community,” Superintendent Gretta Kumpf said in a written statement.

Kumpf said the district emphasized the police were confident there is no additional threat of harm from the incident. She said the student will remain out of school during the investigation. 

Police said the threats were found in a classroom, turned over to administrators and a suspect identified. The juvenile admitted to writing the threats, police stated.

Police said charges were filed after contact with Miami County prosecutors. The student is charged with two counts of aggravated menacing and one count of disorderly conduct.

The student, a boy, is with parents but that could change, police said Thursday evening.

Parents were notified of the threats via a phone call, Liz Robbins, district community relations director, said.

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Ex-Springfield schools ‘tech guy’ accused of inappropriately touching students

Published: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 11:05 AM
Updated: Friday, March 23, 2018 @ 1:05 PM

Ex-Springfield schools ??€˜tech guy??€™ accused of inappropriately touching students

A former Springfield City Schools technology employee is charged after multiple female students at the district accused him of inappropriately touching them, according to court documents.

Jordan Pennington, 33, is charged with gross sexual imposition, according to court documents.

One child victim “had reported that while she was in her classroom, the ‘Tech Guy’ who helps with laptops placed his hand on her back and lowered it to the top of her butt and that she moved before he could touch her entire butt,” court records showed.

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A second child reported Pennington touch the side of her breast over her clothes at the school and at the STEM Nights on “numerous occasions,” records indicated.

“Upon learning of the allegations, the District immediately placed the employee on paid administrative leave and conducted a formal investigation into these concerns,” Springfield City School said in a prepared statement.  “The employee in question is no longer employed with the Springfield City School District.”

The incidents were reported to have happened in January and February at Warder Park-Wayne Elementary School, according to a police report.

The district said Pennington resigned prior to a scheduled termination hearing.

Records indicated that some of the incidents reported were witnessed and numerous children were interviewed as part of the investigation.

Pennington is not currently in the Clark County Jail.

We’ve reached out to Pennington for comment, but have not heard back.

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