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Man who police shot as he stabbed woman has died

Published: Tuesday, November 07, 2017 @ 10:05 AM

A man shot by police last week while he was stabbing a woman died from his injuries at an Indianapolis hospital, state police said Tuesday.

TRENDING: National Weather Service confirms 13 tornado touchdowns in Ohio 

The incident originally occurred on Oct. 30 at a home in the 1000 block of Church Street in New Castle, Ind., located about 30 miles west of Richmond, Ind. Police were dispatched to original reports of a domestic disturbance where a man with a large knife was chasing a woman in the yard. 

TRENDING: 15-year-old shot, killed at local gas station

Officers found the man, later identified as Brandon Lee Flowers, 41, of New Castle, was standing over the woman, and stabbed her in the neck, state police said in a media release. After ignoring commands, police said they were forced to shoot Flowers to stop his ‘deadly assault’ on the woman. 

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Flowers was transported to an Indianapolis hospital where he succumbed to his injuries Tuesday. 

The woman, Erin Mahin, 38, was also transported to an Indianapolis hospital, but has been recently released from the hospital and is expected to recover from her injuries. 

State police said the incident remains under investigation. 

Cordray’s Washington exit could shake up Ohio governor race

Published: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 @ 12:18 PM
Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2017 @ 6:13 PM

            Richard Cordray, shown here testifying before a Senate committee, announced Wednesday he is stepping down as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (Ron Sachs/CNP/Sipa USA/TNS)
            Ron Sachs/CNP
Richard Cordray, shown here testifying before a Senate committee, announced Wednesday he is stepping down as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (Ron Sachs/CNP/Sipa USA/TNS)(Ron Sachs/CNP)

Ohio’s crowded field for governor could get more crowded now that Democrat Rich Cordray plans to leave his federal job, sending a strong signal that he is ready to launch another statewide bid.

Cordray, a holdover from the Obama administration, announced Wednesday he is stepping down as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau by the end of November.

He would not say whether he plans to run for governor, but his candidacy has long been seen as a strong possibility by political insiders. Cordray is a former Ohio attorney general and Ohio treasurer, and probably the best known among the Democrats in the current field.

His decision to leave his job as a champion for consumers did not seem to sit well with some Democrats. Faith Oltman, a spokeswoman for Dayton Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Nan Whaley, said, “Cordray is turning his back on the progress we’ve made and surely emboldening (President Donald) Trump and Republicans in Congress to dismantle this consumer watchdog organization.”

Former Ohio Rep. Connie Pillich, another Democrat in the field, said in a statement: “It’s disheartening and disappointing that my friend, Richard Cordray, would abandon his role of protecting our nation’s consumers by turning over this critical agency to Donald Trump.” She added: “I look forward to seeing Rich on the campaign trail.”

In an email message to his employees on Wednesday, Cordray wrote: “Together we have made a real and lasting difference that has improved people’s lives, notably: $12 billion in relief recovered for nearly 30 million consumers; stronger safeguards against irresponsible mortgage practices that caused the financial crisis and hurt millions of Americans; giving people a voice by handling over 1.3 million complaints that led to problems getting fixed for vast numbers of individuals, and creating new ways to bring financial education to the public so that people can take more control over their economic lives.”

Cordray has led the bureau since 2008 and his term was set to end in July 2018. The bureau, which was created as part of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul legislation, is loathed by Republicans — and by Trump — who say it is an unaccountable federal agency with too much power.

Ken Blackwell, former Domestic Policy Advisor to the Trump Presidential Transition Team and a former Ohio state treasurer, took a shot at both the bureau and Cordray following the announcement.

“Under his direction, the CFPB has issued thousands of pages of crushing regulations, some of which have irreparably harmed consumers, and crippled American businesses,” Blackwell said. “If Director Cordray decides to run for Governor, which is highly anticipated, the people of Ohio should be wary of his crony behavior and reject his candidacy outright.”

But a Cordray candidacy would instantly bring more attention to the Democratic side of the race, where the candidates are less known than on the Republican side. The Republicans running are Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.

The Democrats are Whaley, Pillich, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill.

Cordray, 58, by far has the most statewide experience, running for statewide office five times and winning twice. And his ties to former President Obama and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who helped establish the consumer bureau, could help him in the mad dash to raise some $20 million needed to run a credible gubernatorial campaign.

Kyle Kondik, author of The Bellwether: Why Ohio Picks the President, said Cordray will need a strong campaign launch if he wants to clear or reduce the field in the Democratic primary.

“I don’t know if Cordray is strong enough to force people out of the race, but maybe he gets some high profile endorsements off the bat, like Elizabeth Warren or even maybe Barack Obama,” said Kondik, who worked for Cordray in the Ohio Attorney General’s office in 2009 and 2010.

Related: Hero to some, Ohio’s Rich Cordray under fire from GOP, banksA Cordray candidacy wouldn’t be a slam-dunk. He has been gone from the Ohio political scene for several years, and his last statewide race ended in defeat when he lost the attorney general’s race to DeWine in 2010.

As state treasurer in 2008, Cordray also hired Amer Ahmad into a high-level position. After Cordray moved to the attorney general’s office, Ahmad remained at the state treasury, where he pulled off the biggest bribery and kickback scheme in Ohio treasury history.

Ahmad is currently in prison.

Cordray, who lives in suburban Columbus, does have a lengthy resume. In addition to his current post and his elected stints as attorney general and treasurer, he was a five-time Jeopardy! champion, an intern for John Glenn, a law clerk for Judge Robert Bork and U.S. Supreme Court Justices Byron White and Anthony Kennedy, an Ohio State University law school professor, a state representative and Ohio Solicitor General.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said Wednesday, “We’re committed to an open primary process, and any candidate who wants to participate in our sanctioned debates and forums will need to go through the same vetting process that all other statewide candidates have gone through.”

In discussing Cordray, Jane Timken, chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party, brought out a label that echoes from last year’s presidential campaign.

“After misleading Congress and Ohioans about his intentions for months, Crooked Richard Cordray has quit his bureaucratic dream job, as head of a structurally unconstitutional and unaccountable government agency, to run for governor,” Timken said. “Ohio voters know a swamp creature when they see one, and just like Hillary, Crooked Cordray can’t be trusted.”

At a news conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who designed the bureau and recruited Cordray seven years ago to help set it up, vigorously defended him, saying “he has stayed for seven years and devoted his life to making this agency work on behalf of the American people. I feel nothing but gratitude to Rich.”

She added: “Rich has dedicated much of his life to protecting consumers and holding big companies accountable. Rich has a record he should be proud of.”

Washington Bureau staff writers Jack Torry and Jessica Wehrman contributed to this report.

Supreme Court denies last-minute clemency bid for man who killed teen during an escape from custody

Published: Monday, November 13, 2017 @ 4:52 PM
Updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 @ 3:59 PM

Lawyers for condemned Franklin County killer Alva Campbell Jr. had argued he was too sick to be executed.
Lawyers for condemned Franklin County killer Alva Campbell Jr. had argued he was too sick to be executed.

An Ohio man lost his final bid to avoid execution after the U.S. Supreme Court today denied his motion to stay execution of his death sentence.

The ruling sets the stage for the Wednesday morning execution of Alva Campbell Jr., 69, who shot a teenager after stealing his car during an escape from custody.

Campbell is scheduled to die by lethal injection at 10 a.m. at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

This morning Campbell made his last meal request of pork chops, greens, sweet potato pie, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese and milk, according to JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

He was transported this morning to Lucasville, the site of the state’s execution chamber.

If the execution goes forward as scheduled, Campbell would be the third person executed this year, when the state ended a three-year halt in executions after controversy over the prolonged execution of Dennis McGuire using a previously untested combination of lethal injection drugs.

RELATED: Kasich delays 9 executions in Ohio

The state now uses a three-drug combination that ends with potassium chloride, which stops the heart. 

Lower courts, the state Parole Board and Ohio Governor John Kasich have all rejected efforts by Campbell to be spared death for the 1997 killing of Charles Dials.

A federal judge in Dayton also rejected Campbell’s request to be executed by firing squad, a request made because of concerns that Campbell may not have accessible veins suitable for the three-drug lethal injection used by the state to execute prisoners, said David Stebbins, Campbell’s federal public defender.

In court filings Stebbins has cited the condemned man’s multiple health problems, which include issues with his veins, asthma, emphysema and an external colostomy bag.

“I anticipate they may have some difficulties,” Stebbins said. “He cannot breathe if he has to lie flat. And the process takes some time, so they’ve arranged a wedge to sit him up at a 40-degree angle.”

Stebbins said he was given a report by the warden that medical personnel were able to palpate Campbell’s veins in his legs and arms in order to find one suitable for injection.

The state agreed to use the wedge-shaped pillow on the gurney, Smith said.

“Mr. Campbell’s medical condition and history are being assessed and considered in order to identify any necessary accommodations or contingencies for his execution,” she said.

RELATED: Official ‘wondered what was going on’ in McGuire execution

The parole board also rejected arguments that Campbell be spared because of violence he said he suffered as a child from his parents and then in foster care.

“He had as bad a childhood as I’ve encountered in 35 years of doing this work,” Stebbins said. “It was significant for the level of violence inflicted on him by his parents.”

The state parole board in an Oct. 20 report acknowledged Campbell’s dysfunctional and traumatic childhood but said it needed to be weighed against the seriousness of his crimes, including a previous murder conviction.

“Those murders and other crimes committed by Campbell over the course of many years reflect a disturbing propensity to engage in extreme and senseless violence, a propensity that never abated despite multiple incarcerations and attempts by the state to rehabilitate him,” according to the parole board’s report.

The board voted 11 to 1 that he be denied clemency, and on Thursday Kasich denied Campbell’s request for executive clemency.

Campbell was first convicted at age 19 in 1967 of shooting a state trooper, armed robbery and grand larceny. He was paroled in 1971 and then shot a man to death during a robbery in Cleveland in 1972. He received a life sentence for first- degree murder but was paroled after 20 years. In 1997 he was arrested again in Franklin County, this time for aggravated robbery.

He had been shot during the robbery and pretended to be paralyzed as he was driven by a Franklin County deputy from the Jackson Pike Jail for his arraignment at Franklin County Municipal Court. Campbell overpowered Deputy Teresa Harrison and took her gun as she attempted to help him out of her vehicle at the loading dock, according to a narrative from court records included in the Parole Board report.

Dials was at the court to pay a traffic ticket. He was driving away in his pickup truck when Campbell stopped him, pulled open the door, forced Dials to move over and drove off. Campbell later ordered Dials to get onto the floor board of his truck and then shot him twice.

Campbell was captured after stealing another car and attempting to kidnap two other people and then hiding in a tree, where authorities found him after a chase.

In a Sunday tweet, death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean called for people to contact Kasich to stop the execution. Ohioans to Stop Executions also oppose his execution and is holding vigils for Campbell in various locations across the state today and tomorrow.

The last person executed in Ohio was Gary Otte, 45, who killed two people in a Cleveland suburb in 1992 and was put to death on Sept. 13.

RELATED: Ohio executes killer convicted in 1992 double homicide

Child killer Ronald R. Phillips, 43, was executed on July 26 for the 1993 death of a three-year-old girl he had raped and beaten.

RELATED: Ohio executes Ronald Phillips; first execution in 3 years

A reporter for the Dayton Daily News is one of five reporters who will witness the execution, Smith said. 

Witnesses for the victim include Dials’ sister, brother and uncle. Witnesses for Campbell include Stebbins, two other attorneys and a friend.

Stebbins said he has witnessed other executions at Ohio’s execution chamber.

“It’s awfully sterile. It’s like being in a hospital but they are executing the guy,” Stebbins said. “It’s very cold. They try to keep it solemn.”

By the numbers

53: Number of Ohio inmates executed between 1981 and March 2017.

85: Number of victims killed by those inmates.

43: Number of female victims.

19: Number of victims who were children.

45.73: Average age of inmates put to death.

19: Number of African-American inmates executed during that span.

25: Number of victims who were African-American.

34: Number of executed inmates who were Caucasian.

56: Number of victims who were Caucasian.

53: Number of Males.

0: Number of Females.

16.63: Average number of years on death row prior to execution.

Source: Ohio Attorney General’s office

Note: Data does not include Gary Otte, 45, executed in September, and Ronald R. Phillips, 43, executed in July.

Other stories by Lynn Hulsey

Jon Husted: Replacing Ohio’s voting machines will be costly

RTA to buy 26 electric trolley buses — at $1.2 million each

Officials tout new bestiality law but say cases are tough to prove

Groups like the KKK preach white power but shun ‘hate’ label

Ohio is only state where police are not required to report child abuse

Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 @ 4:22 PM

            Middletown patrol officer Phil Salm checks on the wellbeing of children in a west Middletown neighborhood in 2006. Photo by Jim Noelker
            Jim Noelker
Middletown patrol officer Phil Salm checks on the wellbeing of children in a west Middletown neighborhood in 2006. Photo by Jim Noelker(Jim Noelker)

Anyone who works with children — including doctors, teachers, camp counselors and therapists — are required by Ohio law to report suspected child abuse or neglect to either a children services agency or police.

But Ohio is the only state where police officers are not subject to the same mandated reporting laws.

A Columbus lawmaker wants to fix that, and has proposed a bill that would require law enforcement officers to be designated as mandated reporters as well.

INVESTIGATION: Who is protecting our children? Adults with a history of abuse have killed hundreds of Ohio kids

“I was shocked and saddened to learn that Ohio was the only remaining state not to have law enforcement listed as mandated reporters of child abuse and neglect,” State Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent, D-Columbus said.

She began looking at the issue after learning of a Columbus family with five children that police had visited dozens of times for domestic violence incidents. Despite the children being exposed to repeated violence, police officers never referred the case to children services to check on their well-being, Kent said.

As a former teacher, she felt police officers should have to report these situations like she would have been required to do as a mandated reporter.

The proposed law would require law enforcement officers to contact the local children services agency if they know, or have reasonable cause to suspect, that a child has incurred abuse or neglect or faces a threat of it.

“It’s really a chance to have an early warning,” she said, of more professionals being on the lookout for possible child abuse.

The Ohio House unanimously passed HB 137 earlier this month and the bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

RELATED: Newspaper’s stories of child deaths prompt calls for reform

In a package of articles last month, this newspaper revealed cracks in Ohio’s system for protecting children. The newspaper’s investigation showed how some children had suffered painful deaths just days or weeks after being reunited with their birth parents. Other tragic outcomes were tied to a lack of oversight by child protection agencies that are overwhelmed with cases because of the opioid epidemic.

Many police departments already have policies that require police officers to refer suspected abuse cases to children services and others do it out of practice without written policies. Police officers in the Dayton region coordinate their criminal investigations with children services cases through Care House at Dayton Children’s Hospital.

“We already do this,” Dayton Police spokeswoman Cara Zinski-Neace said. The department’s policy includes calling Montgomery County Children Services when a child endangering or other crime report is filed and consulting with that agency before removing a child from their home.

READ THEIR STORIES: 19 children who died after being returned to their birth parents

Area children services officials say they often work with police officers, who are out in the field and able to catch warning signs early.

“We have a pretty good relationship with law enforcement in our community, although they are not mandated reporters,” said Jennie Cole, intake manager for Montgomery County Children Services. “We do work hand in hand, and they are often times our eyes and ears out there. We fully support this legislation because it just makes sense given their many contacts in the community.”

The proposed law closes the loop of communication, said Clark County Deputy Director for Children Services Pamela Meermans.

“If you are currently a mandated reporter, you have a choice, ” she said, to contact children services directly or to contact police. “Law enforcement then in turn needs to inform children services. That is not universally done in all jurisdictions.”

Criticisms of Trump aside, Kasich insists he’s a conservative

Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 @ 12:39 PM
Updated: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 @ 12:39 PM

            Ohio Gov. John Kasich talks with fairgoers while he tours the Ohio State Fair, Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Columbus. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)
            Jay LaPrete
Ohio Gov. John Kasich talks with fairgoers while he tours the Ohio State Fair, Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Columbus. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)(Jay LaPrete)

The biggest news flash Ohio Gov. John Kasich gave a student-run symposium at Johns Hopkins University Monday was this: Despite others’ assertions and descriptions to the contrary, he is, in fact, a conservative.

Kasich has become a fixture on Sunday talk shows by bucking President Donald Trump, decrying hyper-partisanship and, at one point, hinting that he might run for office again one day as an independent.

But Kasich dismissed the characterizations of him by others, saying, “I’m not a moderate. I’m a conservative.”

RELATED: John Kasich to ‘Dreamers’: Come to Ohio

What does being a conservative mean to him? It means, he said, that he’s for “low taxes, common-sense regulations, helping people who can’t help themselves, (and) making sure we balance the budget.”

Even on gun control, where Kasich has called for gun-rights and gun-control advocates to “find some common ground,” Kasich’s record is clear.

Although he ran afoul of the National Rifle Association as a member of Congress by supporting the 1994 federal ban on assault weapons, he returned to the organization’s good graces in this decade by signing bills as Ohio’s governor that expanded the ability to carry a concealed weapon into bars, the Statehouse parking garage, colleges and day cares.

Having the two sides talk to each other is key to reaching some level of compromise, he said.

RELATED: Kasich says Roy Moore too ‘divisive’

“If you sit them down and there’s goodwill, it’s amazing what you can work out,” he said. If I were president, that’s what I would’ve done.”

Kasich was grilled by some of the Johns Hopkins students, including a few who questioned his decision to sign bills restricting abortion. “I’m pro-life,” he said, adding, “If people don’t agree with me on the issue, that’s OK; I respect them. It’s a very, very tough issue.”

He said he’s “always been a Republican,” in part because “I don’t like to stand in line. I don’t like rules. I don’t like any of that stuff. I like to freewheel it.”

RELATED: Kasich says community colleges do better job than colleges in preparing students for the workplace

Now, he said, he views his job as trying to pull the party in the right direction on issues such as the environment, trade and immigration.

“I’m concerned people just consume that which they agree with,” he said. “I’m concerned we have siloed ourselves, where we can’t listen to one another, where we may disagree on an issue, but we can’t hear one another.”