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Published: Sunday, June 05, 2016 @ 6:47 PM
Updated: Wednesday, June 08, 2016 @ 5:49 AM
UPDATE @ 1:30 p.m. June 7
Brock Turner received “the harshest sanction” Stanford University could give the ex-Oakwood swimmer, according to a statement.
“In less than two weeks after the incident, Stanford had conducted an investigation and banned Turner from setting foot on campus — as a student or otherwise,” the statement read. “This is the harshest sanction that a university can impose on a student.”
A jury convicted Turner of three felony charges stemming from a sexual assault that occurred after a fraternity party in January 2015. Turner was sentenced to six months in county jail in Palto Alto, Calif., for sexually assaulting an unconscious, intoxicated woman.
Meanwhile, social media criticism continues surrounding the letter submitted by Turner’s dad, and another letter submitted by a childhood friend.
New York Magazine obtained a letter from Turner’s apparent childhood friend, Leslie Rasmussen, a member of the band Good English. The letter, written to the judge who sentenced Turner, references their childhood in Oakwood.
“Brock has been a peer of mine since elementary school, and was a very close friend of mine for a few years in high school,” said Rasmussen, who noted Turner dated a mutual friend. “We all knew he’d swim in the [O]lympics one day. His family is a very respectable family in town.”
Attempts by this news organization to reach Turner’s father and Rasmussen were not successful. Rasmussen’s band’s Facebook page was deactivated.
UPDATE @8:08 a.m. June 7
A grad student who helped stop Brock Turner’s sexual assault on an unconscious woman is speaking out.
Carl-Fredrik Arndt said he and a friend were riding their bicycles when they happened to ride by the assault.
“She was unconscious. The entire time. I checked her and she didn’t move at all,” Carl-Fredrik Arndt told CBS This Morning. Arndt and his friend later told authorities they saw Turner on top of the victim “aggressively thrusting his hips into her.”
“The guy stood up when we saw she wasn’t moving still. So we called him out on it. And the guy ran away, my friend Peter chased after him,” Arndt told CBS This morning.
UPDATE @6:05 p.m. June 6
The sheriff’s department, which had announced that it would not release the booking photo, changed course Monday afternoon in the midst of an outcry from news organizations about why the booking photo was unavailable. The change in course also comes a day after a letter, written by Turner’s father defending his son, triggered a social media backlash because of its contents.
Some websites, including jezebel.com, reported that according to the website Crimefeed, under California’s open records laws, mugshots should be released, but the laws are a bit murky. According to the site:
“The language does not explicitly stipulate whether the release of booking photographs (i.e. mug shots) is required or exempt. A 2003 opinion from the Attorney General reportedly said that “mug shots fall within the ‘records of investigations’ exemption” and therefore releasing mug shots to the public is up to the discretion of law enforcement. However, according to the First Amendment Coalition, “the California Supreme Court has explained that this exemption applies only to a record that ‘on its face purport[s] to be an investigatory record.’”
The nonprofit goes on to state: “Arguably, mug shots are not on their face records of an investigation, and may not be withheld under the investigatory exemption except where they are legitimately used for investigatory purposes.”
Jezebel.com reported that a spokesperson for Stanford said the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department did take a mugshot of Turner after his arrest but the department will not be releasing it. They did not elaborate on why the photograph is being withheld from the public.
Late Monday afternoon, The sheriff’s department reportedly said Stanford’s Department of Public Safety was responsible for releasing the photograph. Stanford previously claimed that the sheriff’s department was responsible for releasing the mugshot.
Social media is stirring about a letter by the father of ex-Oakwood and Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner prior to his son’s sentencing Friday in a sexual assault case.
Dan Turner wrote that his son wasn’t violent, he referred to his son’s sexual assault as “20 minutes of action” and mentioned that his son doesn’t like eating steaks any more in his letter requesting probation instead of incarceration. The letter was posted on Twitter by Stanford law professor Michelle Landis Dauber, who blasted it as offensive.
Brock Turner, 20, was sentenced Friday to six months in jail in Palo Alto, California. He had faced up to 10 years in prison, and with good behavior, could be out in three months, the Mercury News reported. He also must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and would have three years of probation following his release.
Turner’s sentencing was decried by many, including District Attorney Jeff Rosen, as too lenient, but Turner’s defense attorney said they plan to appeal.
He was convicted in March of assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person; penetration of an intoxicated person; and penetration of an unconscious person. In January 2015, two people saw Turner, then 19, assaulting his accuser behind a dumpster on Stanford’s campus after a fraternity party. Turner ran but witnesses stopped and held him until police arrived, according to a statement released by Rosen.
Turner is a three-time All-American Oakwood High School swimmer and Stanford swimmer who had aspired to swim in the Olympics.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 4:43 PM
A Springfield woman has been accused of striking a 6-year-old child in the head with a belt and a children’s services employee has been disciplined in connection with the case.
Semonicka Miller, 29, has been charged with assault and endangering children. She pleaded not guilty in Clark County Municipal Court on Tuesday.
A Clark County Children’s Services employee, Johnnie Miller, allegedly was present during the incident but didn’t report it. Johnnie Miller couldn’t be reached for comment on Tuesday.
Johnnie Miller, 32, was disciplined at work but faces no criminal charges, according to a report from Springfield police.
The alleged incident occurred on Dec. 15. The victim and other children were left unattended in a room of a home in the 2000 block of Clifton Avenue, according to the report.
The children were putting toys in either a fire or stove, which caused the fire alarms to go off, the police report says. While the child’s father was putting out the fire, Semonicka Miller came into the room and allegedly hit the child on the head with a belt, narrowly missing the child’s eye, the police report says.
The child’s alleged injuries were visible for at least a week after the incident, according to the report.
MORE COVERAGE: Springfield man accused of leaving dog to die
Johnnie Miller called police on Jan. 4 and said that she was present when the incident happened but didn’t actually see it, the report says. According to the report, Johnnie Miller told police that Semonicka Miller was disciplining the children and said that the discipline was “cultural.”
“I advised Ms. J. Miller that striking a child with a belt across the head causing visible injuries that can be seen over a week after it occurred is never an acceptable form of discipline,” Detective Sandra Fent wrote in the police report.
After the incident, Johnnie Miller allegedly used makeup to cover up the injury before the child went to school, the police report says.
The case was transferred to Champaign County Children’s Services because of Johnnie Miller’s employment with Clark County Children’s Services, according to the police report.
A call from the Springfield News-Sun to Pam Meermans, deputy director of Clark County’s Family and Children’s Services Division, wasn’t returned by Tuesday afternoon. The News-Sun also has requested to review Johnnie Miller’s personnel file.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 4:34 PM
An 8-person jury was selected Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court to hear the civil rights trial of a former Montgomery County Jail inmate who was forced to sleep without a mattress or blanket for parts of his four-month stay. Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Court documents show that both plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys agree that David O. Cooper, 35, has a history of mental illness and tried to harm himself several times during his jail stay in 2012.
The civil lawsuit is the first of several filed against jail staff in recent years for alleged abuse and/or neglect to go to trial. Four other cases have settled for $888,000 plus the county spent another $444,000 on outside legal counsel and litigation costs, according to county records. Other cases are pending.
U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice questioned prospective jurors on several topics Tuesday morning and afternoon before attorneys for Cooper and Montgomery County had more specific inquiries.
Coopers’ attorney, John Helbling, asked potential jurors if they had a damages number that they just couldn’t go above no matter what the evidence showed if they found a defendant liable.
When Helbling suggested damages could be in the neighborhood of $3 to $4 million, Rice said the number was hypothetical and dealt with facts the jury hadn’t heard yet.
Two potential jury members were dismissed after saying they thought there should be a cap on damages in civil trials or those against public entities.
When being questioned by Montgomery County assistant prosecutor Mary Montgomery, a couple prospective jury members who were nurses or had connections to nurses said they had concerns about a baseline standard of care such as someone not being provided a mattress.
JUSTICE IN THE JAILHOUSE: Lawsuits, accusations plague region’s county jails
No potential jury members were dismissed immediately after voicing their concerns. After peremptory challenges, the seated and sworn jury includes six men and two women.
Case documents show both sides stipulated that remaining Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office individual defendants Major Darryl Wilson and Capt. Chuck Crosby “took steps they deemed necessary” to stop Cooper from harming himself.
That included taking away Cooper’s mattress and blanket for part of his time of incarceration, so that Cooper had to sleep on the floor, according to court documents.
The sheriff’s office has refused to comment about pending litigation and has not made individual defendants available to be interviewed. Court documents show the county argues that Cooper’s incarceration conditions do not rise to liability.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:45 PM
TROY — Investigators believe they have witnesses who can place a husband at the scene where his wife was found dead in a car, Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak said Tuesday.
Randy Freels faces a charge of one count of murder in the death of his wife, Samantha Freels, 52, who was found in a wrecked car with a gunshot wound Friday.
Bail for Randy Freels, 57, was set at $1.5 million Tuesday in Miami County Municipal Court. He pleaded not guilty.
Miami County Prosecutor Tony Kendell asked Judge Gary Nasal to set “a substantial cash bond as high as the court is willing to give. This is based on his conduct and the charge itself.”
Duchak said a check of available department records to 2010 did not show any sheriff’s office calls to the Freels’ residence.
One of the witnesses told investigators she stopped on Ohio 55 around 2:50 p.m. Jan. 12 to ask a man and woman in the road if they needed assistance, then heard “six to eight popping sounds” a short time later after pulling into her nearby driveway, according to a sheriff’s office report.
The witness said the woman “appeared nervous and the male did not make eye contact with her and did not speak,” according to the report. The witness, after viewing a photograph, said she believed the woman was Samantha Freels of Union Twp.
Emergency crews were called just after 3 p.m. Friday for a report of a car into a creek in the area of Ohio 55 and Elleman Road — near where the woman had encountered the couple earlier.
Investigators initially thought the driver, Samantha Freels, died because of the crash but later found she had a gunshot wound.
A sheriff’s investigator at the scene noticed a “fresh bullet hole” on the vehicle’s trunk lid.
Randy Freels was arrested Friday evening at the couple’s home on South Rangeline Road.
Duchak said Tuesday that the investigation continues after a search of a car driven by Samantha Freels, a truck also found near the crash scene and registered to Samantha Freels and the Rangeline Road, Ludlow Falls, residence.
The sheriff said numerous weapons were found in the search of the home, including long rifles and pistols. He did not have an exact number but said it would be “in excess of 40.”
“We have several witnesses we believe will place him at the scene,” Duchak said Tuesday.
Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 3:32 PM
BUTLER COUNTY — Multiple police agencies with hours of training came to the aid of a 10-year-old boy held hostage in his Liberty Twp. home.
The 30-hour standoff began late Friday night. Donald Tobias Gazaway is accused of pulling a gun at a residence in the 700 block of East Hamilton Place, demanding thousands of dollars from the female resident and then using the boy as a human shield before surrendering Sunday morning.
Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said that halfway through the standoff it became apparent the department was not equipped for such a lengthy incident. With SWAT officers tired from standing in frigid conditions, the reinforcements came in the form of Hamilton and West Chester Police.
“We knew we needed help. We asked for relief and, actually, they were calling us,” Jones said. He added that officers from those departments took the place of deputies so they could get some sleep and return Sunday morning.
Several trained deputies and police officers negotiated with Gazaway for hours through a speaker on a cell phone tossed to him, a bullhorn and Gazaway yelling to authorities.
“We did not at times think we were going to get a good result …. we thought he wanted us to shoot him,” Jones said.
While the sheriff will not say if that was actually a plan, he did say, “He never gave us a chance. We could not move in, we could not do anything without jeopardizing the child.”
Negotiators did provide food and water to Gazaway and the boy, who were in a vehicle in the garage most of the time.
At times, they could hear the boy cry and saying, “Why are you doing this to me?”
Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer said the negotiation process was not good, due to the location and Gazaway’s refusal to actually use the cell phone officials provided.
“At times, he said he was going to give up, then didn’t,” Dwyer said. “That happened several times. Then he would turn the radio on and sit there.”