log in to manage your profile and account
- Create your account
- Receive up-to-date newsletters
- Set up text alerts
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, June 18, 2018 @ 6:55 PM
Updated: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 11:50 PM
MORAINE — Tons of trash dumped in a wooded area off Germantown Pike, which has caused an overpowering stench, is part of a Monday law enforcement raid at the property that led to one arrest.
A large law enforcement presence was at a Germantown Pike property all day.
Montgomery County Sheriff’s deputies, a special weapons and tactics team and Regional Agencies Narcotics and Gun Enforcement task force members were on scene at a home in the 6700 block of Germantown Pike and deep into the woods of the property.
Deputies brought a semi and dumpster back into the woods. They were seen moving some of the trash around. They hauled away a backhoe as evidence.
Neighbors said deputies carried piles of items from that wooded area, as well as from a house and garage.
“They found stuff back there. They’ve carried out huge tubs, looked like it was really heavy. Big boxes of things. They carried out stuff in cloths, white cloths.”
Neighbors said the RANGE task force was ready to break down the home’s front door when one of them offered a key. They said they watched deputies carry out several guns, and then the task force did break a door to get into the garage.
One man was spotted handcuffed in back of a cruiser.
Logan R. Lucas, 23, was arrested at 2 p.m. during the raid in the 6700 block of Germantown Pike and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of drug possession, online jail records show. He has not been formally charged.
Deputies removed items from the home and deep in the woods behind the property, but so far have not said what led to the investigation.
Crews also removed two dogs along with their food and water bowls from the home, Jacobs said.
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 5:01 PM
HARRISON TWP. — A 22-year-old Harrison Twp. man is accused of seriously injuring his newborn son earlier this month.
Hopeton M. Taylor was indicted today for felonious assault and two counts of endangering children, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.
Taylor’s 8-week-old son was brought to Dayton Children’s Hospital June 6, when he was unresponsive and suffering from multiple skull fractures and other serious injuries.
Prosecutors said Taylor was home alone with the newborn when he was injured; when the baby’s mother returned home, she found him unresponsive and took him to the hospital.
Taylor has been in the Montgomery County Jail since his June 8 arrest. He is being held on a $250,000 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.
Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 3:14 PM
SAN ANTONIO, Texas — A Bexar County Sheriff's Department deputy was arrested on a felony charge of super aggravated sexual assault Sunday after a 4-year-old girl’s mother was blackmailed to stay silent about the abuse, according to police. The victim’s mother is an undocumented immigrant and was threatened with deportation if she spoke out.
KENS reported that department officials arrested detention Deputy Jose Nunez, 47, after the victim told her mother about the abuse Saturday night in San Antonio, Texas.
Sheriff Javier Salazar said at a news conference Sunday that the mother went to a local fire station and Nunez was arrested.
"The details of the case are quite frankly heartbreaking, disturbing, disgusting and infuriating all at the same time," Salazar said, adding that Nunez had physical contact with the victim and there was "at least some indication of minor injury."
"We have reason to believe that this goes back at least several months, possibly a couple of several years," Salazar said.
Nunez, a 10-year veteran of the department, is on administrative leave pending an investigation.
Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 4:05 AM
Updated: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 3:33 PM
SPRINGFIELD — UPDATE @ 3:35 p.m. (June 18): Police are asking the public for help to track down a suspect or suspects in Sunday’s deadly shooting outside the Wagon Wheel.
Police so far have confirmed that someone pulled out a gun during an altercation outside the business, 1005 S. Burnett Road, that left one person dead and two people wounded. Police were dispatched sometime after 2 a.m. on a report of shots fired.
Jahream Daemond Beard, 35, of Springfield, died at the scene. Police said they arrived to find a woman, identified as a registered nurse, administering CPR.
A witness told police she saw a vehicle speed out of the parking lot and head south on South Burnett Road.
One of the other victims, identified as Demetrius Clay, 29, also of Springfield, told police he was shot in one of his legs as he ran to his car when he heard multiple gunshots from the parking lot.
He was able to get into the car of a friend, who took Clay to Springfield Regional Medical Center, police said.
Clay told police he did not see who was shooting or where the shots came from.
The third victim, identified as Deric Hunt, 20, also of Springfield, told police he was leaving the bar when he saw a large group of females arguing and getting physical with each other.
Hunt said he then heard multiple gunshots, grabbed his mother and sister, and they all ran to a vehicle. He said one of the slugs hit him in his leg as he was running. His mother drove them to the hospital.
Hunt also told police he did not see who was shooting or where the shots came from.
Clay and Hunt’s injuries were non-life threatening, police said.
Police division homicide investigators said they are aware there were several individuals at the business during the shooting. Those witnesses, along with anyone who may have information about the shooting, are asked to contact police at 937-324-7685.