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Published: Thursday, May 18, 2017 @ 10:40 AM
Updated: Thursday, June 01, 2017 @ 7:52 AM
A judge on Thursday set bond at $1 million for the Dayton mother facing a possible death penalty trial for allegedly killing two of her children by shooting them in the head.
Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Judge Dennis Krumholtz entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Claudena Helton, 30, during her video arraignment. Helton didn’t speak during the proceeding.
Helton is being held in Montgomery County Jail before a trial on aggravated murder charges with death penalty specifications. A scheduling conference was set for June 15.
Helton’s 8-year-old daughter Khmorra and 6-year-old son Kaiden were both found shot in their heads in May before dying three days later at Dayton Children’s Hospital.
Defense attorneys Anthony VanNoy and Kimberly Melchor stood beside Helton in jail and stood mute on the charges, prompting Krumholtz to enter the not guilty plea for Helton.
Helton was indicted on two counts of aggravated murder of a person younger than 13 along with gun specifications and aggravated circumstances that make Helton eligible for the death penalty.
VanNoy — who indicated he may ask for a mental health evaluation of his client — has asked prosecutors to provide a bill of particulars, which would define the nature of the offense(s) charged and the conduct of Helton.
Among the 10 specific things VanNoy asked for is any written or recorded statements of Helton, any written summaries or oral statements made by Helton to prosecutors or law enforcement officers and other evidence from the case.
A complaint and affidavit filed by a Dayton police detective said Helton told police she acted against her children “to save them from the evils of the world.”
An email was sent to the Supreme Court of Ohio advising them that the case includes death penalty specifications, according to court documents.
Police said Helton was naked when she was arrested and had made her 11-year-old daughter help drag the other children’s bodies outside after the shooting.
“The death penalty is not something we ask for in many cases; we use it very sparingly,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said Tuesday. “We reserve it for the most horrific and most shocking crimes, gut-wrenching crimes. This case meets those specifications and qualifies under the Ohio law.”
DAYTON — UPDATE @ 8:44 a.m.
A not guilty plea was entered for Claudena Helton, accused of killing two of her children. Bond was set at $1 million.
Her next court date will be June 15.
Claudena Helton stood mute at her arraignment on aggravated murder charges.
Prosecutors announced on Tuesday that Claudena Helton is currently facing death penalty specifications on her murder charges.
The Dayton mother accused of shooting two of her children in the head is scheduled to appear in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court today.
Claudena Helton, 30, is facing several charges including aggravated murder and assault charges, according to online court records.
PREVIOUS: Helton tied to second molestation report
Khmorra and Kaiden died at Dayton Children’s Hospital three days after they were shot.
“The death penalty is not something we ask for in many cases; we use it very sparingly,” Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. said. “We reserve it for the most horrific and most shocking crimes, gut-wrenching crimes. This case meets those specifications and qualifies under the Ohio law.”
Helton was naked when she was arrested and made her 11-year-old daughter help drag her other children’s bodies outside after the shooting. She is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and is in Montgomery County Jail on a $1 million bond.
Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl, who attended Tuesday’s press conference, earlier said it appeared there were some mental health issues in play in what he called a horrific, brutal, irrevocable crime.
“When you look at what someone does, so many times I think we see the more bizarre nature of the act itself, people want to say, ‘Well, there’s something wrong with them,’ ” Heck said. “But that’s not what we’re talking about.
“We’re talking about whether someone is legally insane and therefore not responsible for their actions. Under the law, until proven otherwise, the defendant is presumed sane and competent to stand trial.”
Defense attorney Antony VanNoy said he was disheartened that prosecutors felt they had to rush an indictment with death penalty specifications.
VanNoy said there are questions as to whether Helton could knowingly waive the various speedy hearing, indictment and trial guarantees. He said Helton’s competency may have to be determined before the case gets much beyond the arraignment stage.
“It’s a tragedy,” VanNoy said. “Everyone I’ve talked to — neighbors, friends, family — all say that she’s always been someone who’s tried to be a good parent. But there may be some things that went on more recently that would suggest that she was not in the right frame of mind when this happened.”
Heck said prosecutors and police had to move quickly because Helton hadn’t agreed to any time waiver.
“These charges and specifications are filed now in order to simply preserve the right to ensure justice for these young children,” Heck said. “That’s what’s so important, given the situation that we have now.
“We want to ensure justice, on behalf of the community, on behalf of Chief Biehl and the Dayton police department, on behalf of my office, that we ensure justice is given to these victims.”
VanNoy declined to comment on any cases in Helton’s criminal record. Helton at least twice has filed claims that her now-deceased son had been molested; neither case resulted in a prosecution.
Helton is the second active Montgomery County Common Pleas Court defendant to be indicted on death penalty specifications. Muhammad Shabazz Ali is awaiting trial, accused of shooting to death three people in 2016 - Tammy Cox, 53, Michael D. Cox, 25 and Jasper Taylor, 74.
If her case gets to trial, Helton would be the first woman to face a death penalty case trial in the county since China Arnold.
Arnold had trials in February 2008, September 2008 and May 2011, ultimately being sentenced to life in prison after being convicted for murdering her 28-day-old daughter Paris Talley by placing her in a microwave and “cooking” her in August 2005.
VanNoy said he plans to meet with his client at least one more time before deciding if he will file to request Helton’s competency to be examined.
“We don’t believe that our client could have made a decision to harm her children in this fashion,” VanNoy said. “We believe there’s something else going on.”
Heck said Helton is “entitled to receive the death penalty” for killing her children.
“This is truly a horrible, gut-wrenching case,” Heck said. “The defendant — the person who had the responsibility and the person we look to to guard, safe-guard, take care of the welfare and protect these children — basically caused their death.”
Helton’s case has been assigned to Judge Dennis Langer.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 1:40 PM
Updated: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 2:30 PM
MIDDLETOWN — A mother’s post on Facebook that that her son feared for his life during an arrest by Middletown police was “blown out of proportion,” Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said.
In a Facebook post attributed to LaShandra R. Tatum, who identified herself at Isaiah Elliott’s mother, she wrote: “Middletown police did this to my son after he was in handcuffs begging for his life. He said he thought he was going to die and he kept saying yes sir to the officers. The officer touched his gun and told my son I will smoke you!!!! The prayers of the righteous availeth much! Thank you Jesus. Now direct me to a lawyer please!!!!”
But in another post, Elliott, wrote, in part: “My mama over did it…not once did I beg for my life or tell her I thought I was (going to) die…”
This afternoon, Elliott said he didn’t want a story written. Then, when pressed about the alleged incidents when he was arrested, Elliott said: “Nothing happened.” Then he hung up the phone.
His girlfriend refused to comment on the phone.
Muterspaw said Tatum, or anyone who has an issue with alleged officer misconduct, should meet with him, and if they don’t trust police, they are welcome to bring a lawyer or pastor to the meeting. He said his department is “open and transparent.” Muterspaw also contacted the NAACP and the Black Ministerial Alliance to make them aware of the investigation.
He said Tatum left out “10 times the facts” in her social media post that was shared more than 1,000 times.
Muterspaw said that around 2 p.m. Wednesday, Officer Holly Owens was dispatched to a disturbance at Trinity Place Apartments. A woman who lived there told police that she didn’t want to file charges but she wanted Elliott, 19, of Cincinnati, to leave the complex.
Officers stood by while Elliott left the complex, according to Muterspaw.
Later that same day, police were called after the woman said Elliott had returned and started a fight with her before she escaped the apartment and went to the clubhouse and called the police.
She told the officers Elliott was pushing her around, Muterspaw said, but didn’t want to file charges.
The apartment management also told police they wanted Elliott trespassed off the property.
Police then responded to the apartment for a third disturbance. This time, Officer Jordan Wagers was talking to the complainant and she went back inside the apartment to get a few things. That’s when the officer heard her scream, according to a police report.
Wagers said the woman ran outside, crying and screaming that Elliott was chasing her. Wagers stopped Elliott and told him to leave the property but he refused, according to the police report.
At that time, Wagers told Elliott he was under arrest and to put his hands behind his back, but Elliott refused, according to police. He was told several times to comply but he refused, police said.
Wagers then took Elliott to the ground and got him handcuffed, police said.
During the take down, Elliot received scrapes on his face, but declined treatment by medics and the hospital, Muterspaw said.
Elliott was charged with criminal trespass and resisting arrest.
On Friday, Elliott was found guilty of resisting arrest and ordered to stay away from the woman’s apartment, according to court documents.
Muterspaw said Elliott has a history of the following arrests: physical harm to a law enforcement officer (2017), criminal trespass (2017) and two counts of obstructing official business (2017).
Sgt. Earl Nelson and Sgt. Raqib Ahmed both reviewed and signed off on the incident investigation. Maj. David Birk also has approved the use of force by officers during the incident, the chief said.
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 1:41 PM
— This story has been updated.
Police near Miami University seized at least 16 reportedly fake IDs Friday night.
The Oxford Police Department posted an image on Twitter of the allegedly fraudulent IDs.
“We didn’t get invited to any parties so we went Uptown last night,” the department posted on Twitter. “Thanks to all those that tried to pass Fake IDs to officers last night.”
The tweet had been shared 65 times and liked more than 1,000 times, as of this story’s publication.
We didn't get invited to any parties so we went Uptown last night. Thanks to all those that tried to pass Fake IDs to officers last night. Maine tho 🤷🏻♂️? pic.twitter.com/Ms4jOWqX4U— Oxford Police Dept. (@OxfordOhioPD) April 21, 2018
The IDs appear to be from all over the nation, including Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Vermont, Maryland, and Maine. At least one appears to be from Ohio.
Not everyone on Twitter thought the joke was funny.
“Wow, how crappy of you to take something that is probably embarrassing and make a joke out of it,” said another. “Funny how you don’t do that for all of your arrests. What makes you so mean today?”
Chief John Jones said the IDs are “fake and do not contain legitimate information.”
“We made sure not to include someone using a borrowed real ID,” Jones said in an email. “These may have the person’s name on it, but not the correct date of birth, no social security number, a fake address from a different state, and a fake driver’s license number.”
Several individuals were charged with misdemeanor prohibited acts, the chief said.
Police departments across the country have used Twitter and other social media as a humorous outreach tool to build relationships with the community.
“We have found social media to be a great tool for connecting with our community,” Jones said. “We share the good along with the bad and I’ve had so many community members thank me for our use of social media.”
Read more stories:
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 7:59 AM
— Springfield police are investigating a second recent alleged school threat at Cliff Park High School.
Police were called to the school on Friday after school administrators learned of a possible threatening Facebook status posted by a student, according to a police report.
The student told police the social media post was about smoking marijuana rather than committing violence, according to the report.
Police began their investigation at around 11 a.m. when they spoke to Cliff Park’s director Jeff Waechter.
“Mr. Waechter stated (a student) posted to Facebook ‘If you go to Cliff Park run home (student’s nickname) trynna blow up the school,’” the report says. “Mr. Waechter stated this caused alarm in the school with students and staff. Additionally, at least two students did not come to school on this date because of the post, according to Mr. Waechter.”
Police were able to identify both the student who posted the status and the student who is referred to in the status, according to the police report. The students are family members, according to the report.
The student that is referred to in the status was interviewed at Cliff Park and told police the two were private messaging before the Facebook status was posted.
The student who allegedly posted the status said the post was referencing the smoking of marijuana, according to the report.
“(The student) stated the post was a misunderstanding and that he was trying to tell students they should run because (the other student) was smoking marijuana, and it was going to smell,” the report says.
The student who allegedly posted the Facebook message was arrested and charged with inducing panic, according to the report.
Published: Monday, April 23, 2018 @ 8:42 AM
A Springfield man who is facing more than 100 years in prison for alleged burglaries and other property crime is representing himself in court today.
Ramon Boyce, 33, is charged with 22 felony counts including 18 counts of burglary and three counts of receiving stolen property in Clark County Common Pleas Court. He is facing between six months and 110 years in prison if convicted.
Boyce was secretly indicted in July by a Clark County grand jury.
The indictment obtained by the Springfield News-Sun alleges that investigators have connected Boyce to more than 10 burglaries in Clark County. The indictment says the alleged crimes took place between August 2016 and June 2017.
Boyce’s trial is scheduled to start today in Clark County Common Pleas Court.