Officials taking second look at fatal Fairfield fire

Published: Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 5:15 PM
Updated: Friday, June 28, 2013 @ 5:15 PM

The investigation results are not yet complete, but Fairfield investigators know the fire that killed Joshua Hoskins at a Brittany Lane apartment April 29 is suspicious.

In fact, a sign placed on the burned out building about two weeks ago by state fire officials says arson.

Four months before, the 37-year-old father of three had narrowly escaped a fire at his home on Morningside Drive that was set by his wife, Randi.

Just a few weeks after setting the fire, Randi Hoskins admitted to setting the blaze by lighting clothing and pizza boxes on fire. She was convicted of aggravated arson and sentenced to jail.

Fairfield Police Chief Mike Dickey told the JournalNews Joshua Hoskins’ death is the same as all others investigated by his department.

“We investigate any death until we are satisfied as to how it occurred,” Dickey said. That includes a second look at the Morningside Drive fire.

“We reopened it because he died in a fire four months after almost dying in a fire,” Dickey said. He declined any further comment.

Randi Hoskins’ attorney, Mark Krumbein, was vocal about any connection his client could have to the Brittany Lane fire.

“She was in jail at that time,” Krumbein said, noting it’s a “pretty good” alibi. “When Sheriff Jones has you, you’re not going anywhere.”

Randi Hoskins was booked into the Butler County Jail on Dec. 12 and she was released on June 9, according to jail records.

Krumbein said Randi Hoskins is devastated by the lost of her husband. She is currently on supervised community control through the county’s SAMI court (Substance Abuse and Mental Illness court).

On the night she set the Morningside Drive house on fire, “she was angry with her husband because he would not pick up pizza boxes, dirty clothes and beer bottles,” Krumbein said.

“She just took a match and lit the things she couldn’t stand anymore,” the attorney said. “She hadn’t thought out anything.”

The family escaped safely, but Joshua Hoskins went back into the smoke and flames to get the cat.

“Randi physically pulled him out of the building,” Krumbein said. “She saved his life. She created the danger, but she also saved her husband.”

Fairfield Fire Chief Don Bennett said he expects the investigation to be complete in the next two weeks.

Groundbreaking set for new Oxford bike path

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 11:28 AM

            Groundbreaking set for new Oxford bike path

After nearly three years of planning, the city of Oxford will host its official groundbreaking ceremony for a new multi-use recreational trail.

The groundbreaking will take place at 8:45 a.m. March 1 at Leonard Howell Park.

MORE: With funds in place, work to start on Oxford Recreational Trail

The city of Oxford received the Clean Ohio Grant in October of 2014. Since then, the city has worked on planning the logistics of the path. This is phase one of a future trail system and will be about one mile in length.

Once future phases are completed, the path will be a total of nine miles long circumnavigating the city. Phase one will be completed in June of 2017.

WATCH: Miami University’s biking president explores campus

'We all need answers' on Trump-Russia ties, George W. Bush says

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 11:16 AM
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 11:16 AM

            'We all need answers' on Trump-Russia ties, George W. Bush says

Former President George W. Bush said on Monday that an investigation might be needed to parse the depth of ties between Russian government officials and President Donald Trump's team in the run-up to November's election.

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"I think we all need answers," Bush said on "The Today Show." "I'm not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered."

He emphasized that he has "never been a lawyer" and that the decision on whether the case called for the appointment of a special prosecutor would best be decided by Senate Intelligence panel Chairman Richard Burr.

>> Related: George W. Bush: Media 'indispensable to democracy'

Democrats have consistently called for an investigation into ties between Russia and Trump, citing the intelligence community's determination that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. elections in Trump's favor and calls that were made between Russian officials and Trump's team before he took office in January.

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, a prominent Republican who represents California's 49th Congressional District, said Friday that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should recuse himself from the investigation. Instead, he said on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," a special prosecutor should appointed to examine the ties.

"We're going to have to do it," Issa said. "There may or may not be fault, but the American people ... are beginning to understand that Putin murders his enemies."

>> Related: Trump blasts media over reports of campaign contacts with Russia

Authorities have not found evidence to suggest that Trump or his team colluded with Russian officials.

Man mourns after wife struck, killed by tour bus on 65th birthday

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 10:18 AM
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 10:18 AM

            Man mourns after wife struck, killed by tour bus on 65th birthday

Youn-Chen Hu knew immediately that something was wrong when he arrived home from work Thursday and his wife was not there.

It was Jui-Ching Hu’s 65th birthday and she and her husband planned to celebrate with dinner together at their Waikiki home, according to Hawaii News Now. Youn-Chen Hu, a custodian at an elementary school, grew uneasy when he found the house empty.

“There were no lights on and the answering machine light was beeping,” Youn-Chen Hu told Hawaii News Now.

The first message was from someone in the Honolulu Medical Examiner’s Office, but Hu couldn’t make out what the caller said. When the couple’s elder daughter, Stella, called a moment later to wish her mother a happy birthday, Hu told her about the message.

“I told her, ‘Mom is not home and I feel very funny. I feel something is wrong,’” Hu said.

Stella Hu called the medical examiner from her own home in Las Vegas, then called back, crying, with the news that her father’s instinct was correct.

Jui-Ching Hu, who went by Jenny, was struck by a tour bus around 8:15 a.m. Friday that morning as she crossed a street near Honolulu’s Ala Moana Center, the largest mall in Hawaii. She was killed instantly.

GoFundMe page has been set up by a friend of the family to help pay for Jenny Hu’s funeral and to help Stella and Serena Hu return to Hawaii to be with their father. As of Monday morning, it had raised just over $3,200. 

I've known Stella since I was 4 years-old. Her grandma used to babysit me when I was in pre-school. We have been friends...

Posted by Tiff Chang on Friday, February 24, 2017

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reported that the bus driver, an employee of Travel Plaza Transportation, did not realize he hit a pedestrian until someone flagged him down. His company said he has been an employee since 2011 and has no previous incidents on his record.

The crash remains under investigation, the newspaper reported.

As Youn-Chen Hu sat at his dining table Sunday morning, eating leftovers from one of the last meals his wife cooked, he looked at a photo of his wife and reflected on his family’s loss.

“Right now, I know how much I need her,” Youn-Chen Hu told Hawaii News Now. “I look at this picture and say, ‘Jenny, this is a really big change right now. Everything you left for me, I got to face now.”

Stella Hu told Hawaii News Now that the family is in shock.

“We don't know what to do right now,” she said. “We're all a little lost. We weren't ready for this.”

Kitten is latest NYPD officer on 'paw-trol'

Published: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 11:17 AM
Updated: Monday, February 27, 2017 @ 11:17 AM

            Kitten is latest NYPD officer on 'paw-trol'

Call it Brooklyn nine lives.

An NYPD precinct’s latest member of the force is Martin, a 6-month-old tabby-c who was found abandoned at the station.

Officers at the the 60th Precinct in Brooklyn convinced their commanding officer to keep Martin as the station pet and morale booster, as long as he did not have to clean the litter box, according to the Brooklyn Paper.

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“I told them, ‘I have two cats at home and two dogs, and I don’t have a problem with it, but we got to get a litter box and you have to clean out the litter box. I’ll even foot the expense, the food, the water, the treats — but I’m not cleaning out the litter box,’ ” Deputy Inspector William Taylor told Brooklyn Paper.

The cat was named for officer Martin DiCostanza, who lobbied to keep the feline, according to the New York Post.

Martin was microchipped, neutered and vaccinated. The station was also converted to accommodate the cat, including setting up baskets for napping, multiple food and water stations and plenty of toys.

Martin and Taylor have taken to one another. The cat keeps the commander’s chair warm until he arrives each day. Taylor has also purchased treats and high-end cat food, cementing the feline friendship.

“He’s definitely lifted spirits. There’s not one person here, cop or civilian, that doesn’t adore this cat,” Taylor told the Post. “He has the run of the precinct. He took control of the place right away.”