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Autopsy completed for Kettering teen shot to death

Published: Friday, September 09, 2016 @ 11:21 AM
Updated: Friday, September 09, 2016 @ 11:58 AM

Ronnie Bowers
Breaking News Staff
Ronnie Bowers(Breaking News Staff)

A dispute involving teenagers in Kettering on Sunday night after an incident flared up at AlterFest ended with the shooting of a 16-year-old police say had nothing to do with the dispute. 

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS

  • Autopsy done today on Ronnie Bowers, 16
  • Ronnie Bowers is an organ donor
  • Three suspects ranging from age 14 to 16 remain in custody
  • Suspect Miles Heizer, 18, previously charged with felonious assault in attack with a baseball bat in March, was released
  • 14-year-old suspect has criminal history stemming back to 2014

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UPDATE @ 2:51 p.m. (Sept. 8):

The coroner’s office has officially ruled Ronnie Bowers’ death a homicide after he died from a gunshot wound to the head.

UPDATE @ 1:46 p.m.

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office now has the body of Ronnie Bowers and is conducting an autopsy. His mother, Jessica Combs, addressed the media today and said her son was an organ donor.

FULL REPORT

GoFundMe account set up for the family of Ronnie Bowers has raised more than $10,700 of the $10,000 goal, as of early Thursday morning. The family is expected to address the media later today.

Bowers, 16, died Tuesday night after being shot in the back of the head near AlterFest while seeking to leave a dispute in which police said he was “an innocent bystander.”

The Montgomery County Coroner’s Office announced Bowers’ death late Tuesday night. He was declared brain dead and his organs will be harvested, according to a coroner’s investigator.

A memorial service for Bowers is scheduled for Sunday in the Fairmont auditorium, 3301 Shroyer Road.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. the family will receive and greet visitors, according to the high school and Routsong Funeral Home. A service is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine called the fatal shooting of Bowers near AlterFest Sunday night “a horrible tragedy.”

“It’s a parent’s worst nightmare that your child is randomly shot,” DeWine said. “It’s just horrible.”

DeWine said there is no easy solution to the juvenile violence that has impacted the area.

“I’m mostly convinced that what we really need to do is start in kindergarten, first grade, all the way to 12th grade, have something that is age specific … that also has some data behind it that actually works as far as education and prevention,” DeWine said. “I don’t think there’s any easy answer. If there was an easy answer, we would have found it before now.”

Kettering police said Wednesday morning they will wait until the department has an update on the charges in the shooting case before releasing any new information.

The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office said Kettering Police had plans to meet again with the office to discuss charges against 18-year-old suspect Miles Heizer after he was released from custody Tuesday night, according to Greg Flannagan, spokesman for the prosecutors office.

That meeting was scheduled to take place in two weeks. However, it’s unclear whether that will change now that Bowers has died from his injuries.

The suspects

Four people — including three juveniles — were detained in connection to the shooting. Heizer was released from the Kettering jail, pending further investigation, police said Tuesday.

Of the three juvenile suspects that remain in custody, one has a criminal record dating back to 2014. The two 16-year-old suspects have no prior criminal history with the juvenile court, according to the court administrator.

Heizer has a previous charge of felonious assault stemming from a baseball bat attack in March. The three other teen suspects in Sunday’s shooting were ordered detained by a judge Tuesday.

Those three suspects — two of them are 16 and the third is 14 — appeared in the Montgomery County Juvenile Court on felonious assault charges, but there was no mention of who fired the shot that initially injured Bowers.

This news organization is not identifying the juveniles by name at this time.

Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi said the juveniles will remain in custody until a Sept. 27 court date because they are “charged with heinous crimes” with a “high-level of notoriety.”

“I expect significant additional filings on this matter,” Capizzi said.

According to the second-degree felony charges, the suspects “knowingly did cause serious physical harm” to Bowers. One of the 16-year-olds also faces a charge of tampering with evidence. He is accused of trying to hide a firearm, Capizzi said.

All of the suspects and the victim are students at Kettering City Schools.

Prior to Heizer’s release from jail Tuesday, Kettering jail records indicated he had been in custody since early Monday morning on a felonious assault charge.

Heizer was out on bond at the time of the shooting, stemming from a felonious assault arrest in March. The police report from that incident says he jumped out of a car at a traffic light, walked up to another car and hit a former classmate in the face with a baseball bat.

Court records show that the case was bound over to a grand jury months ago, but Heizer waived the right to speedy proceedings and there have been no filings in the case since April.

Sunday’s incident

The shooting occurred at Willowdale Drive and Ackerman Boulevard about 9 p.m. Sunday.

Kettering Police Chief Christopher Protsman said the shooting had its roots in a weeks-long dispute between teenagers. Those teens were at Alter High School’s festival Sunday night, where the issue flared again.

Protsman said one group of four teens drove away, trying to avoid the altercation, but the four suspects followed in another car, eventually blocking them in a driveway on Willowdale Avenue, three blocks from Alter.

Protsman said a physical altercation took place, and Bowers — who was trying to drive away — was shot once in the back of the head. Protsman said Bowers was an innocent bystander who was not involved in the ongoing dispute.

A second person — a female — suffered a minor injury during the shooting that led to Bowers’ death, according to a Kettering police report released Wednesday.

Kettering police have not released the details surrounding that female’s injuries. A bag of marijuana also was seized during the police investigation, the report says.

Kettering Schools’ response

Kettering Schools Superintendent Scott Inskeep said there were additional counselors, security and police at Fairmont High School on Tuesday morning. He said about 30 students took advantage of time to talk about the incident Tuesday morning.

Dan Von Handorf, Kettering’s director of student services and former high school principal, said students were in shock and disbelief. The shooting came seven months after another Fairmont student, Antoine Jones, was killed in a Trotwood shooting that police said was drug-related.

Heizer was a close friend of Jones, according to his social media accounts, but Von Handorf said school officials don’t have any information that the two incidents are connected.

“You have to be prepared. There is no ZIP code that is protected from these types of issues,” Inskeep said. “We’re always keeping an eye out for societal issues that may cause disruption or safety concerns at the schools.”

Some students mentioned on social media that they were scared or shaken up by the incident. Jace Roberts, a junior at Kettering’s alternative school, said he feels safe at school, but questioned some students’ attitude.

“Kids these days think they’re untouchable, can’t get in trouble,” Roberts said. “Think they can carry guns around and they’re not going to shoot nobody, but they did.”

Mother sentenced for Middletown fatal child beating

Published: Monday, September 19, 2016 @ 9:59 AM
Updated: Monday, September 19, 2016 @ 1:45 PM

Theresa Hawkins-Stephens said nothing in court Monday morning.

Theresa Hawkins-Stephens, the last of three women charged in the beating death of 5-year-old Alexander Stephens in Middletown, was sentenced to 18 years to life in prison today in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Hawkins-Stephens, 26, the boy’s mother, pleaded guilty last month to murder and two counts of child endangering. She was given the maximum sentence.

Hawkins-Stephens had a cross around her neck, but stared straight ahead and showed no emotion while standing before Judge Greg Stephens.

She said she had nothing to say before sentencing.

Last week, Rachel Bostian, 29, who also pleaded guilty to murder and two counts of child endangering, was sentenced to 18 years to life by Judge Stephens.

Ramona Bostian, Rachel’s mother, was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice.

Rachel Bostian and Hawkins-Stephens tied up Alexander for about 22 hours on April 26 and, according to prosecutors, “severely” beat the boy on his head and body.

Michael Stephens, grandfather of the boys, told the judge his family had offered to help Hawkins-Stephens with the care of the boys, but they were rebuffed.

The grandfather called Hawkins-Stephens “selfish with no remorse.”

Judge Greg Stephens called the actions of a mother in her son’s beating ‘deplorable’ and promised to be at her parole hearing years from now when he sentenced her.

Police said Alexander’s brother, 6-year-old Damyan, was also injured in the attacks, but his injuries were not life-threatening.

The Stephens boys were sleeping in a tent near the Great Miami River with their mother and her two friends, who told police they came to the area looking to find work.

According to court documents, the two boys were tied up with blankets for “stealing food.”

Father faces weapons charge after 4-year-old daughter shot

Published: Monday, September 12, 2016 @ 5:51 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 @ 8:40 AM

Lamont J. Robinson, 24, who is not a suspect in the shooting incident, faces a charge of having a weapon under disability.

The man arrested following the shooting of a 4-year-old during the weekend pleaded not guilty to a weapons charge Monday afternoon in Dayton Municipal Court.

Lamont J. Robinson, 24, who appeared by video for an arraignment for a third-degree felony charge of having weapons under disability, has previous convictions for gun charges.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Sept. 20, and Robinson’s bail was set at $25,000.

Robinson was arrested with a Ruger handgun after an incident at 7:40 p.m. Saturday on West Riverview Avenue. He was booked into Montgomery County Jail at 11:20 p.m. Saturday.

Robinson was traveling with his 4-year-old daughter, his girlfriend and his girlfriend’s 6-year-old son, officers said.

“They were pulling into a drive-through when they heard a loud bang. Lamont got out to check his daughter and found out she’d been shot in the arm,” Dayton police Maj. Chris Williams said. “As it stands right now, we don’t have any suspects, and we’re hoping that the citizens of Dayton could help us out with that.”

Williams also said the girl is “OK” now. That came after Dayton Children’s Hospital reported that a 4-year-old girl was in good condition Monday morning, but no specifics were released about her injuries.

The child was riding in a car that was struck by gunfire in the area of West Riverview Avenue and Catalpa Drive, according to initial reports.

Robinson’s charge for weapons under disability was because he was found with a weapon, police said.

The child was taken by a private car to Good Samaritan Hospital in Dayton around 8 p.m., police said.

Police blocked off the car the child was riding in — which reportedly showed evidence of gunfire — at the hospital parking lot.

Robinson was sentenced in 2014 to two years in prison for three different cases.

Robinson was given intervention in lieu of conviction (ILC) for a 2010 case in which he was convicted for carrying a concealed weapon. His ILC was revoked when he violated his conditions, according to court records.

In 2013, Robinson again was indicted on a weapons charge and given community control. Court records show a 2014 conviction for possession of heroin resulted in the combined sentence for the three cases.

Termination upheld for fired Clark Co. sheriff’s sergeant

Published: Monday, September 12, 2016 @ 11:03 AM
Updated: Monday, September 12, 2016 @ 12:05 PM

A two-day arbitration hearing held in June has resulted in a decision that Krista Cox’s grievance be denied, according to Sheriff Gene Kelly.

The termination of a Clark County sheriff’s deputy is being upheld following an arbitration hearing.

On October 9, 2015 Sgt. Krista Cox was one of three Clark County sheriff’s sergeants terminated after an incident in the lobby of the Clark County Jail earlier that year in May 13, involving an intoxicated former employee.

A two-day arbitration hearing held in June of this year, has resulted in a decision Sept. 9 that Krista Cox’s grievance be denied, according to Sheriff Gene Kelly.

The hearing concluded that Cox was terminated for just cause.

No decision has been made in the other two grievances filed by the other two sergeants.

Vigil honors Dayton teen found dead in Cincinnati

Published: Sunday, September 11, 2016 @ 1:00 AM
Updated: Sunday, September 11, 2016 @ 1:06 AM

Family and friends brave the rain to remember a Dayton teenager killed in Cincinnati during a vigil Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Dayton. (Caroline Reinwald/Staff)
Family and friends brave the rain to remember a Dayton teenager killed in Cincinnati during a vigil Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, in Dayton. (Caroline Reinwald/Staff)
Caroline Reinwald reports from Cincinnati on a teen's death.

Family and friends came together and braved the rain Saturday night to remember a Dayton teenager who was found dead earlier this month in Cincinnati.

Richard Mebane Jr., 17, on Tuesday was identified as the person whose body was found Sept. 1 in back of a stolen Dodge Magnum parked behind an apartment building on Madison Avenue in Cincinnati. Four days later, his mother, Nedra Byrd-Evans, held a vigil outside her home at the Triangle View Apartments in Dayton in honor of her son.

Investigators had to use dental records to identify the 17-year-old because Cincinnati police said his body had been in the car at least two weeks before he was found shot to death, Byrd said. His death is ruled a homicide, police said. The teen’s mother said she knew something bad had happened to him even before police called her.

“I had this uneasy feeling about 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, I woke up in (Cincinnati) Children’s Hospital (Medical Center) sick to my stomach,” she said. Later in the day, while she was waiting for her 10-year-old daughter to get out of surgery, a Cincinnati police detective called her. He said, “‘Ms. Byrd, are you still at Children’s Medical?’ And I said ‘yes sir.’ He said, ‘well I’m on my way.’ And I said, ‘please no.’” When he arrived, the detective told her, “‘there’s no easy way to tell you … but that’s your son,’” Byrd said.

The mother of 10 admits her son, the third of her children, got into a lot of trouble and had run away from home. But she said he was a good kid at heart and will always be her baby. Now, all she wants is to see his body before he is cremated.

“I’ve never not had all my children. So to subtract him out of the equation of my entire life is something I have to live with. And just to know that I was able to look at him just one more time is going to help me,” she said.

Cincinnati detectives are working closely with Dayton police to find out what happened to Mebane, she said.