Diamond ring could lead police to killer of Monroe woman

Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 4:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 @ 4:00 PM

A diamond ring could be the key that leads detectives to the killer of 87-year-old Barbara Howe, the Middletown Journal has learned.

The missing ring — Mrs. Howe’s wedding ring of more than one karat — has been a focus of investigators’ three-month homicide probe and could be the key to finding the person, or persons, responsible for killing the Monroe woman and placing her body in the trunk of her red Cadillac.

“It was her signature piece, and it is missing,” Monroe police Detective Gregg Myers told the Journal in an interview. “She always wore it. It was her favorite. It was not with her, and it is not in her house.”

Myers stopped short of saying robbery was the motive for Howe’s slaying. He said taking the ring could have been a crime of opportunity after the fact. Myers noted that when Howe was found, she had other jewelry on her person that was not disturbed.

He said whoever took Howe’s ring may have taken the large diamond out of the setting as a way to sell the gem. Police have been scouring area pawn shops and other avenues that could be used to sell the diamond.

“The ring is important to the investigation,” Myers said.

Police have released few details concerning the Howe investigation. They haven’t said where or how she was killed, and have even kept her family members from viewing or burying her body or entering her home, a cottage at Mount Pleasant Retirement Village.

Even within the police department, some details of the case “are on a need-to-know basis,” Monroe police Lt. Brian Curlis has said. The diamond ring represents the first significant piece of evidence from the investigation that police have revealed.

Howe’s daughter, Donna Wesselman of Cincinnati, said family members always suspected that robbery might be the motive behind her mother’s death and asked police early on if they had found Howe’s wedding ring along with her body.

“They didn’t answer,” Wesselman said, adding she believed then the diamond had been taken.

Wesselman said she didn’t know her mother’s ring was missing until she was contacted Wednesday by the Journal. She said Howe always wore the ring or had it close by.

Monroe police were aided by Middletown police and state Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation early on in the investigation and say they continue to receive tips.

Curlis said more the 100 DNA samples have been taken from people investigators have talked with. Investigators are also processing evidence from at least three crime scenes — Howe’s home, her car and the parking lot of Woodridge Apartments in Middletown where she was found in the trunk of her car on Nov. 1.

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said last week “there is potentially another crime scene,” though he would not disclose the location.

Howe, who was born in Hamilton, dedicated her life to her husband, Bill, and three daughters, and enjoyed cooking, sewing, traveling, playing tennis and reading. She was a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church, Middletown Symphony Women’s Association, Cotillion Mixers, and a former member of Brown’s Run Country Club and Wildwood Golf Club.

Her husband of 51 years owned and operated Howe Motor Co. in Middletown.

In rural Ohio, rivals take a knee -- for an after-game prayer

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 12:26 PM

The St. Marys Memorial Roughriders invited the Celina Bulldogs to take a knee for an after-game prayer last Friday. For more than a year, the Roughriders have invited every opponent to join them after the game in prayer. CONTRIBUTED
The St. Marys Memorial Roughriders invited the Celina Bulldogs to take a knee for an after-game prayer last Friday. For more than a year, the Roughriders have invited every opponent to join them after the game in prayer. CONTRIBUTED

Before the Friday night lights dimmed last week on the latest installation of their fabled football rivalry, the St. Marys Memorial Roughriders invited the Celina Bulldogs to take a knee — for an after-game prayer.

For more than a year, the Roughriders have invited every opponent to join them after the game in prayer. Each team, including the Trotwood-Madison Rams, who beat St. Marys in the Division III regional championship last year, has accepted the invitation.

MORE: Trump again blasts NFL players kneeling over anthem

Though sports teams have long engaged in prayer at all levels of competition, photos of the public school rivals huddled together in after-game prayer quickly gained attention this week on social media amid the ongoing feud between NFL players and President Donald Trump.

“At the time you didn’t think much of it,” said Celina Bulldogs varsity coach Brennen Bader. “But looking back, with our society today … it just shows that high school kids can be the example.”

The St. Marys Roughrider tradition dates to Week 2 of last season, when St. Marys beat the Van Wert Cougars in an away game.

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A day before, then-49ers player Colin Kaepernick and fellow San Francisco player Eric Reid first took a knee during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

Already, Kaepernick had sat during the national anthems of several NFL preaseason games in a refusal to “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

“To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way,” Kaepernick said. “There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

The ‘Battle of Grand Lake’

An hour-plus drive north of Dayton, St. Marys and Celina straddle respective, opposite ends of Grand Lake in Auglaize and Mercer counties.

The football rivalry — the “Battle of Grand Lake” — is fierce.

LOCAL: Squirt gun game drenches Ohio town — but not on school grounds

On paper, the two communities are similar. Both counties are more than 97 percent white, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, and the counties overwhelmingly voted for President Donald Trump, who is actively engaged in a head-to-head over anthem-kneeling with the NFL, its players and owners.

Both counties are also home to residents who practice organized religion with a frequency above Ohio’s average.

Out of Ohio’s 88 counties, Mercer County has the highest percentage of people who regularly attend religious services, according to 2010 data from the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. Of the county’s 40,800 residents who regularly attend church, nearly 60 percent of those church-goers are Catholic.

One county over, Auglaize ranks seventh of 88 counties ranked by church attendance, the data show.

SCORES: High School Sports

Roughriders assistant varsity football coach Michael Reams said in reality, fewer than half of his players attend church on Sunday. But plenty attend his Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings in the auditorium on Friday.

For Reams, his players kneeling in prayer is a highlight of every Friday night.

“It was — it is, especially in small, Midwest Ohio — us raising our young men to be quality young men,” Reams said. “I can’t tell you how many times we hear compliments about our young men. Now, granted, we have some men who still need refining, but they say it’s their favorite part of the night.”

Last week’s game — Celina’s homecoming — was a punishing loss for the Bulldogs against their top rival. But there was no debate about joining the victors midfield.

“I just told our guys, ‘let’s go over there and do it,’” said Celina’s Coach Bader. “We ended up losing the game, a tough loss. We have a great group of kids. They were willing and they understand the bigger picture, that we’re all on the same team.”

Roughrider players have started seeking out competing players who’ve been particularly worthy opponents.

“A lot of times, when you have an opponent, they’re your enemy,” Reams said. “We don’t just go out there to have fun, we go out there to win. Between the whistles, we want to be as tough as they’ve ever seen.”

But after the game, at the center of the field, the reconciliation begins.

“There’s always a pulse of faith in every team, whether they acknowledge it or not,” Reams said. “They go find that guy, take a knee and grab a hand.”

‘A knee for the right reasons’

Kaepernick, now a free agent, last year expressed a belief his actions could “unify this country.”

“If we have these real conversations that are uncomfortable for a lot of people,” Kaepernick said, “If we have these conversations, there’s a better understanding of where both sides are coming from.”

“I have great respect for the men and women that have fought for this country,” he said. “I have family, I have friends that have gone and fought for this country. And they fight for freedom, they fight for the people, they fight for liberty and justice, for everyone. That’s not happening. People are dying in vain because this country isn’t holding their end of the bargain up, as far as giving freedom and justice, liberty to everybody.”

Neither the St. Marys Roughriders nor the Celina Bulldogs have had organized team conversations about Kaepernick or anthem-kneeling, though the topic is occasionally broached.

“It’s about taking a knee for the right reasons,” said Reams. “This country has seen all kinds of strife and tension.”

MORE: NFL commissioner says players will not be forced to stand for anthem

“Whether it’s with the players as players, or in my classroom, we always try to talk about certain topics,” Reams, an industrial tech instructor, told the Dayton Daily News by phone Wednesday after afternoon lunchroom duty. “It’s probably been brought up once or twice.”

“I hope these gentlemen in the NFL are doing it because they feel strong about what they’re doing,” he said. “I think everybody, if they feel strongly about it, they need to stand up for what they believe in.”

Later on Wednesday, NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell announced the league would not require players to stand for the national anthem. He said the league is “not afraid of tough conversations.”

“I would tell you this,” Goodell said, “it’s unprecedented conversations and dialogue going on between our players and our owners, between our club officials and between our league, and that is a really positive change for us.”

Woman sentenced in Logan County Thanksgiving Day killing

Published: Thursday, September 21, 2017 @ 1:49 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 1:37 PM

Tatiana Freeman and Jasmine Lewis appeared in Logan County Juvenile Court for a probable cause hearing earlier this year. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF
Staff Writer
Tatiana Freeman and Jasmine Lewis appeared in Logan County Juvenile Court for a probable cause hearing earlier this year. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF(Staff Writer)

UPDATE @ 1:38 p.m. (Oct. 19)

Sentencing was held Thursday for a woman who pleaded guilty in connection to the killing of a Logan County man on Thanksgiving. 

Tatiana Freeman was sentenced to a decade in prison today on the complicity to aggravated robbery charge in the death of Jeff Brentlinger, said Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart.

She will be on probation for five years after.

The final co-defendant Alexus Walton will be sentenced in November.


Sentencing was held Thursday for a woman who pleaded guilty in connection to the killing of a Logan County man on Thanksgiving. 

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Arrests made in connection to Logan County Thanksgiving shooting death

Jasmine Lewis was sentenced today in a Logan County court to 15 years to life in prison after she pleaded guilty earlier to a complicity to murder charge in the death of 45-year-old Jeff Brentlinger. 

RELATED: Second man sentenced for Thanksgiving Day killing in Logan County

In a statement to the court during the hearing, Lewis said there was never any intent to kill Brentlinger, they only wanted to rob him. 

RELATED: Accused trigger man in Thanksgiving Day robbery-slaying pleads guilty

Two others who were convicted of murder, Zachariah Huddleston, and Marquevous Watkins, were sentenced previously to life in prison. Huddleston will be available for parole in 21 years while Watkins will have a possibility for parole in 18 years. 

A fourth person, Alexus Walton, has also pleaded guilty to a charge of complicity to murder. 

Brentlinger was found dead by his daughter in his rural Zanesfield home on Thanksgiving Day in 2016. 

Surveillance video shows crash on Gettysburg Avenue in Dayton

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 11:11 PM
Updated: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 @ 11:24 PM

SURVEILLANCE: Germantown, Gettysburg crash

UPDATE @ 2:45 p.m. (Oct. 19):

Surveillance video from the BP at the corner of Germantown Street and South Gettysburg Avenue showed the crash involving four vehicles, where three people were injured.

SURVEILLANCE: BP on Germantown, Gettysburg


Three people were injured in a four-vehicle crash Wednesday night where shots were fired.

Police said shots were fired apparently no one was hit on Germantown Street at South Gettysburg Avenue.

>> OSP cruiser hit in Dayton after I-75 N pursuit from Middletown

There was debris all over Germantown Street from the four vehicles involved in the crash. 

The injuries are believed to be non-life threatening, fire officials said.

Shots were reportedly fired prior to the crash. 

We will update this report as we get information. 

GOT A TIP? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

Dayton traffic from the WHIO Traffic Center

Published: Monday, October 09, 2017 @ 1:48 AM
Updated: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 7:50 AM

SCENE: Rollover crash on Riverview Avenue
SCENE: Rollover crash on Riverview Avenue

Check this page for a full list of crashes, disabled vehicles, construction projects and other hazards impacting your commute.

Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic .

Traffic conditions are updated every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM.

RELATED: Find the lowest gas prices in your neighborhood with our Pump Patrol

Major Highway Incidents

  • Update @ 4:45 p.m. All lanes back open. On I-75 north between County Road-25A and the rest area south of Piqua, three separate crashes are snarling traffic around 3:45 p.m. At least one lane is open, troopers said.
  • On U.S. 35 west at Steve Whalen Blvd., a crash was reported at 9 a.m.
  • On southbound I-75 at Stanley Avenue, a crash has traffic backed up as of 8:10 a.m.
  • On U.S. 35 westbound at S. Smithville Road in Dayton, right and left lanes blocked due to a crash reported around 7:30 a.m.
  • On U.S. 35 westbound at Woodman Drive in Riverside, left lane blocked due to crash. 

Surface Street Incidents

  • On Keowee Street at Third Street in Dayton, road is closed due to a police pursuit reported around 11:15 p.m. 
  • Gate 12A is scheduled to close today through Nov. 10. Detour information is available here.

RELATED: Check for delays or cancellations before heading to the airport

Ongoing Construction & Other Closures 

Live look at highways on our traffic cameras here.

Latest traffic conditions are also available on our traffic map. 


  • Alex-Bell Road will be closed for work on the Washington Twp. bridge over Holes Creek until Nov. 30. More information, including detour information, is available here.
  • A half-mile of Stroop Road in Kettering between Woodman Drive and Glenheath/Braddox intersection will be closed until the end of the year so a bridge can be replaced. .
  • I-70 east between I-75 and SR 202, Nightly lane closures Oct. 14 - 21 between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. These will become double lane closures between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. One eastbound lane will remain open.
  • I-75 north Ramp to US 35 west, Overnight RAMP CLOSURE Oct. 23 at 10 p.m. - Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. The official detour is: I-75 north to Second Street to I-75 south to US 35 west. 
  • I-75 north/Stewart Street Ramp to US 35 East ramp closure March 28 - Oct. 21. The official detour is: Stewart Street to Edwin C. Moses Boulevard to I-75 north to US 35 west to James H McGee Blvd. to Us 35 east
  • I-75 between I-70 and SR 571, nightly lane closures between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. through Oct. 31. The northbound side will become a double lane closure between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. One lane will remain open in each direction.
  • I-75 south between Needmore Road and Stanley Avenue, Nightly lane closure Oct. 18 - 20 between 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. One southbound lane will remain open.
  • Shroyer Road between Gainsborough Road and East Dorothy Lane will be repaved and reconfigured through at least October. Once the project is completed, Shroyer Road will be reduced to three lanes. 
  • SR 48 between I-70 and Phillipsburg-Union Road, Nightly lane closures Oct. 15 - 21 between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. One lane will remain open in each direction.
  • The Webster Street bridge is closed as it is rebuilt. A detour will take drivers to Keowee Street to Monument Avenue. The project is scheduled to be completed in November. 
  • US 35 between Edwin C. Moses Boulevard and Germantown Street, Nightly lane closures Oct. 19 - 20 between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. One lane will remain open in each direction.
  • US 35 eastbound Ramp  to I-75 north, Nightly RAMP CLOSURE Oct. 19 - 20 between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The official detour is: US 35 east to I-75 south to the turnaround a Edwin C. Moses and head back onto I-75 north.


  • I-75 between CR 25A (Troy) and US 36, shoulder closures through Oct. 31.
  • I-75 between CR 25A (Troy) and US 36, Nightly lane closures Oct. 16 - 21 between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. One lane will remain open in each direction.
  • I-75 between SR 571 and Northwoods Boulevard, Nightly lane closures Oct. 16 - Nov. 10 between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m. These will become double lane closures at 9 p.m. One lane will remaim open at all times. 
  • West Peterson Road at Piqua Troy Road, ROAD CLOSURE through Oct. 21. The official ODOT detour is westbound: Piqua Troy Road to Statler Road to CR 25A north to Eldean Road to Piqua Troy Road. Eastbound: West Peterson Road to Troy Sidney Road to Statler Road to Piqua Troy Road.


  • I-70 east ramp to I-675 north, RAMP CLOSURE through Oct.31. The official detour is: I-675 to SR 444 to I-675 north.


  • SR 721 between Childrens Home-Bradford Road and Horatio Harris Creek, BRIDGE CLOSURE Oct. 2 - 23. The official detour is: SR 185 to SR 48 to US 36.
  • SR 722 between Emrick Road and US 127, ROAD CLOSURE Oct. 9 - 30. The official detour is: SR 726 to US 40 to US 127.
  • SR 705 between Lightsville - Northern and Cochran Road, ROAD CLOSURE Oct. 30 - Nov. 10. The official detour is: SR 49 to SR 119 to SR 118.
  • SR 29 between Cisco Road and West Russell Road, shoulder closures through Nov. 17. *There could be intermittent lane closures in this area between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • SR 219 between State Street and Taylor Road, Daily lane closures Sept. 27 - Oct. 31 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. One lane will remain open  for travel in each direction through the use of flaggers.
  • SR 66 between Mason Road and Dirksen Road, Daily lane closures Sept. 27 - Oct. 31 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. One lane will remain open for travel in each direction through the use of flaggers.