2 life sentences after guilty plea in Middletown murders

Published: Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 3:52 PM

Douglas Best pleads guilty to two Middletown Murders

A Middletown man has admitted guilt to two murders last November in the city.

Douglas Best, 29, of Richmond Street, pleaded guilty Tuesday to two counts of aggravated murder with gun specifications for the death of Joseph Romano at his Lafayette Avenue and for the shooting death of Tiffany Hoskins, whose body was found inside a Jacoby Avenue house.

Judge Greg Stephens sentenced Best to two life sentences in prison with the possibility of parole after serving 51 years. Several felony counts against Best, including burglary and arson, were dismissed in exchange for the plea.

MORE: 51 years to life for man convicted in Middletown homicide 

It was the same sentence handed down by the judge to one of three co-defendants who also took a plea deal.

Romano was shot to death on Nov. 4, hit four times by bullets, three of them striking him in the chest, leg and neck. He was killed in his kitchen at 1517 Lafayette Ave., according to Middletown police.

Hoskins was found shot inside a home at 1507 Jacoby Ave. just hours later on Nov. 5. Middletown firefighters were called to the scene and found flames shooting from the second floor and Hoskins’ body at the top of the home’s stairway.

MORE: 3 men charged in 2 Middletown murders part of a gang, police say

Best wiped away tears as he offered an apology in court.

“I know there ain’t nothing I can say to change the way the victims feel, but I am truly remorseful for what I did to two innocent people for no reason,” Best said. “There is nothing I can say to take it back or change it, but if I could I would and it’s not just because I am cold, it messes with me so bad. I can’t even sleep at night.”

Best’s attorney Michelle Temmel told the judge that she believes life took a wrong turn for her client when is was set to the Ohio Department of Youth Services at the age of 12.

“I am not making excuses for Doug, but his is where it went wrong,” Temmel said.

MORE: Middletown woman was dead before house caught fire

The families of Hoskins and Romano sat in the court’s front row and blasted Best with words while standing a few feet away.

Tina Payne said it wasn’t enough for Best to have killed her sister, but he beat and raped her, then poured bleach on her and set her on fire.

“She never met a stranger. If she had five dollars to her name, she would have given it to you,” Payne told Best. “She had the softest voice and the sweetest giggle.”

Payne told Best, “I think you are a monster and a coward. You, Douglas Best, belong in prison for the rest of your life …. you, Douglas Best, not only took my sister, but also my mother because she is slowly dying of a broken heart.”

MORE: State to look at cases of 6 missing women, including 4 from Middletown

Judy Mills, Hoskins’ mother, clutched her daughter and screamed and sobbed as she addressed Best.

“I just want to know why,” Mills screamed. “I just want to know why you killed my daughter.”

Amanda Profitt, Romano’s niece, told Best that her uncle would have given him anything he wanted.

“All you had to do is ask,” she said.

“I cannot forgive you for what you have done … we were all robbed,” Profitt said to Best.

MORE: Las Vegas shooting: Germantown couple on same floor as gunman

Before sentencing Best, the judge called his crimes heinous.

“You are looking at a very bleak future,” Stephens said. “My heart goes out to your family also, Mr. Best, because I know you destroyed them also.”

In April, co-defendant Derrick Brown, 22, of 815 Crawford St., pleaded guilty as charged to attempted burglary, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and aggravated murder for his part in the death of Romano.

A November trial date as been set for the last co-defendant Charles Ray Graham, 27, of 2002 Pearl St. He is charged with attempted burglary and participating in a criminal gang.

Middletown police say the men were members of a gang called the Cincinnati White Boys.

Wright-Patt organization recognized for hurricane support

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 2:09 PM


            A fuel tank truck is loaded onto a C-17 aircraft, for delivery to Puerto Rico, to assist in the hurricane recovery efforts. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Air Transportability Test Loading Activity office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, ensured the aircraft was able to carry the fuel truck and that it was properly secured. (Courtesy photo)
A fuel tank truck is loaded onto a C-17 aircraft, for delivery to Puerto Rico, to assist in the hurricane recovery efforts. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Air Transportability Test Loading Activity office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, ensured the aircraft was able to carry the fuel truck and that it was properly secured. (Courtesy photo)

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the deadliest in history, resulting in hundreds of lives lost and billions of dollars of infrastructure destroyed.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Air Transportability Test Loading Activity office at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base was recently recognized for the crucial support it provided for hurricane rescue and recovery efforts in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and countries in the Caribbean.

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The office provided support by ensuring that approximately 45 vital pieces of equipment, including trailers for carrying food and water, as well as a mobile air control tower, large generators, a 9,500-gallon fuel tank, a mobile field hospital and satellite communications vehicles were safe for flight and compatible with the Air Force aircraft.

Essentially the team made sure that aircraft delivering supplies could carry the cargo and that proper restraints were used to secure the load and prevent damage before arriving at their destination.

In addition, hundreds of items certified prior to the hurricane season were delivered to areas impacted by the storms.

These efforts were crucial because in many areas impacted by the hurricanes, airlift was the only way to bring in supplies and equipment, said Mark Kuntavanish, lead engineer for ATTLA.

He added that the team worked day and night, often from home, to support the relief and repair efforts.

“I’m convinced that the ATTLA folks and their work saved lives,” said Col. George Vogel, chief of the mobility division and director of the North American Aerospace Defense Command/U.S. Northern Command Deployment Distribution Operations Center, which coordinated the Department of Defense’s delivery of supplies to the islands. “There were pieces of equipment that had never flown on DOD aircraft before, and ATTLA certified all of it in less than 24 hours, which was absolutely huge.”

Vogel went on to add that the mobile control tower that was certified by ATTLA and delivered to Puerto Rico was able to increase the volume of planes delivering supplies from three to four planes per day to three to four planes per hour, ultimately getting more resources to survivors.

“I wanted to tell them (ATTLA) thanks for everything that they’ve done during the hurricane relief,” Vogel said about his trip to Wright-Patterson. “I also wanted to see what we can do to help each other and be more efficient in the future.”

“It was an honor to be recognized and that our efforts helped so many people in need,” said Kuntavanish.

Members perform military funeral honors, range of extra events

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 2:04 PM


            The Honor Guard’s primary mission is to provide military funeral honors for active-duty members, retirees and veterans who served honorably in the Air Force within their six-state, 210,000-square-mile area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mark C. Lyle)
The Honor Guard’s primary mission is to provide military funeral honors for active-duty members, retirees and veterans who served honorably in the Air Force within their six-state, 210,000-square-mile area of responsibility. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mark C. Lyle)

The Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Honor Guard is one of the most tasked honor guards in the Air Force and the Department of Defense.

The Honor Guard’s primary mission is to provide military funeral honors for active-duty members, retirees and veterans who served honorably in the Air Force within their six-state, 210,000-square-mile area of responsibility. States include all of Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, half of Indiana and West Virginia, and two counties in Pennsylvania.

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“I love the Honor Guard,” said Staff Sgt. Isabella Allen, an education and training NCO from the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, who is currently serving a six-month rotation with the Honor Guard. “Every time you hand off the flag to the next of kin is a special moment.”

Military funeral honors is an Air Force tradition.

The Honor Guard began in 1948 as a single guard responsible for ceremonies in the Washington, D.C., area. In 1972, the current Honor Guard system was formed and bases throughout the United States received training. In 1998, the Air Force standardized training for all honor guards, and in 2000 the Wright-Patterson Honor Guard was fully recognized and accepted.

“It is a very humbling experience,” said Airman 1st Class Melissa Domingues with the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. “The service member that passed away is ending their Air Force journey and I am taking their place and giving them a proper send off and thank you.”

The Honor Guard has 32 personnel who are assigned on a rotational basis, 12 Air Force Reserve and National Guard members on orders, and six staff members. They average approximately 300 details per month and more than 4,000 per year.

“The Honor Guard teaches you direction while learning new movements,” said Airman 1st Class Jeremy Riviere, a communications specialist with the 88th Communications Squadron. “It can be a struggle but after the ceremony your confidence builds.”

The Honor Guard also performs color guard events, which include retirements, promotions and change of command ceremonies.

In addition, more than 400 community events are performed each year.

“I recommend this job to any military person,” said Master Sgt. Keith Watson, superintendent of the Wright-Patterson Honor Guard. “It gives you the opportunity to broaden the leadership and management skills you learn in Professional Military Education because of the diversity of active, Reserve, National Guard members you encounter within the unit. I believe this is one of the most rewarding ways to serve and give back to the Air Force and those that paved the road for us.”

Despite the long hours and occasional severe weather, each member of the Wright-Patt Honor Guard lives by their creed of representing every member, past and present, of the United States Air Force.

To schedule the Wright Patterson AFB Honor Guard, call 937-257-8964 and request a funeral honors request form.

Big breakthrough: Google helps NASA discover an 8-planet solar system

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 1:32 PM

With help from Google--and their machine learning computer software--scientists analyzed thousands of data points captured from this NASA planet hunting space telescope, the Kepler. The new planet is Kepler 90-I.

In the never-ending search for life beyond planet Earth, NASA scientists have uncovered the only other 8-planet solar system they know of that circles a sun.

With help from Google--and their machine learning computer software--scientists analyzed thousands of data points captured from this NASA planet hunting space telescope, the Kepler. 

That data helped researchers discover this new planet, Kepler 90-I.

Like Earth, Kepler I-90 is the third planet from its sun.

Unlike Earth, the temperature on the surface of this planet is about 800 degrees Fahrenheit -- far too hot for life to develop, as we know it.

Astronomer Derrick Pitt says it’s the way the new planet was discovered that has scientists buzzing and makes their jobs easier.

"The Google AI system has been able to search through that pile of information much faster that humans have been able to dig through it.,” Derrick Pitts, astronomer and Planetarium Director at Franklin Institute, said.

“If you think about the analogy of the number of stars in the galaxy being like the number of sand grains on a beach, it's as if we've been asked to search through all the sand grains on the beach to find just the red sand grains." 

With our current rocket technology, it’s estimated it would take us millions of years just to reach Kepler 90-I. The new planet also orbits its star about every 14 days, which means you’d have a birthday there just about every two weeks.

Ohio 4 lane closure Saturday in Butler County

Published: Friday, December 15, 2017 @ 1:59 PM


            Pavement inspection work requires closing the right lane of northbound Ohio 4 (Hamilton Middletown Road), just before and after Kyles Station Road in Liberty Twp., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.
Pavement inspection work requires closing the right lane of northbound Ohio 4 (Hamilton Middletown Road), just before and after Kyles Station Road in Liberty Twp., from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.

Pavement inspection work requires closing the right lane of northbound Ohio 4 (Hamilton Middletown Road), just before and after Kyles Station Road, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.

Arrows and/or signs will be in place to alert motorists of the upcoming work zones and restrictions. All work is contingent upon the weather, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation.

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