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Cold case murder solved more than 20 years later, Florida police say

Published: Thursday, March 09, 2017 @ 11:44 AM
Updated: Thursday, March 09, 2017 @ 11:44 AM


            A suspect was arrested in a 1994 murder case in Jacksonville, Fla. after more than 20 years, even though police had suspected Ronnie Leon Hyde for years.
            Alex Wong/Getty Images
A suspect was arrested in a 1994 murder case in Jacksonville, Fla. after more than 20 years, even though police had suspected Ronnie Leon Hyde for years.(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A Florida man has been arrested and charged in the 1994 cold case murder of a Nassau C0unty teenager.

Police took Ronnie Leon Hyde, 60, of Jacksonville Beach into custody this week in the killing of 16-year-old Fred Laster.

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The nine-page arrest warrant revealed that a bloody flannel shirt, blood-stained knives, a blood-soaked mattress cover and bathtub non-slip safety pads were recovered at a Columbia County gas station where Laster’s dismembered body was found in June 1994.

A medical examiner was not able to identify the vicgtim during an autopsy, but determined that the body belonged to a man between 16 and 19 years old.

Laster’s sister reported him missing in 1995 and said her brother was last seen with family friend Ronnie Hyde, but the case fell through the cracks. It was reassigned to a new detective in 2012 and he contacted the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in 2013.

But it wasn’t until February of 2016 that Laster’s remains were finally identified. Officials matched the teenager's DNA with that of his twin sister, who they found after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children posted an online article about the case, according to the warrant.

Last April investigators then used garbage left outside Hyde’s Jacksonville Beach home to match his DNA with forensic evidence found on Laster's body in 1994.

The warrant also revealed that detectives confirmed Hyde also drove a Chevy Camaro matching the description of a vehicle an eyewitness saw at the crime scene.

Police said Hyde, who was a youth pastor in the 1980's, kept changing his story about the last time he saw Laster and that he had been a suspect in the murder almost since the beginning.

Because Hyde had access to other children through his work with a Jacksonville church, detectives believe there could be more victims out there. The investigation is ongoing.

Shelby Lin Erdman contributed to this report.

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Columbus police seek help finding endangered missing man

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 7:53 PM

Stanley Lapczynski
Stanley Lapczynski

An Endangered Missing Adult Alert has been issued for a Columbus man. 

Stanley Lapcynski, 79, suffers from dementia and was last seen around noon Friday when he left his residence but did not return.

He stands 5 feet 6 inches and weighs 190 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing a Home Depot shirt and blue jeans.

He is believed to be driving a dark green 2001 Chevrolet Aveo with Ohio plate FFW4599.

Anyone with information is urged to call police or the Ohio Attorney General Missing Persons Unit at 866-693-9171.

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Judge changes his mind: Woman who started fire in jail cell will stay locked up

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 4:27 PM


            Georgia Osborne, 35, of Middletown, pleaded no contest to first-degree misdemeanor arson Friday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court. She was originally charged with arson, a fourth-degree felony, after she started a fire in her jail cell around 7 a.m. May 17.
Georgia Osborne, 35, of Middletown, pleaded no contest to first-degree misdemeanor arson Friday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court. She was originally charged with arson, a fourth-degree felony, after she started a fire in her jail cell around 7 a.m. May 17.

A Middletown woman pleaded no contest to a lesser degree arson charge Friday afternoon in Middletown Municipal Court.

Last week, Georgia Osborne, 35, was charged with arson, a fourth-degree felony, after she started a fire in her jail cell around 7 a.m. May 17. She used a lighter to catch a blanket on fire while she sat on the concrete floor, according to the police report. She sneaked the lighter into the jail, the report said.

FIRST REPORT: Woman started fire in jail cell when wait for hygiene products took too long

Osborne, represented by attorney James Calhoun, pleaded no contest to arson and criminal trespass and was sentenced to 180 days in jail with credit for eight days served.

Middletown Municipal Court Judge James Sherron initially said he would release Osborne on probation if she met with representatives from Access Counseling, provide a negative drug screen when she returns to court in two weeks, and not be charged with additional crimes.

But after meeting with Calhoun, the city prosecutor and a representative from Access Counseling, Sherron changed his mind. The judge revoked Osborne’s probation and sent her back to jail.

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After reviewing Osborne’s criminal history on his computer, Sherron noted that in 17 years, she had 53 cases in Middletown court.

“Is that something to be proud of?” Sherron asked her.

“It’s embarrassing,” Osborne said, burying her face in her right hand.

Osborne said she has a 4-month-old son and she had hoped to live with her mother, who was at the court hearing.

Outside the courtroom, Osborne’s mother said she was “pleased” Sherron decided to keep her daughter in jail.

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Oakwood investigating threat to high school

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 2:44 PM
Updated: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 2:56 PM


            Oakwood police say no gun was used in a social media threat made today towards Oakwood High School.
Oakwood police say no gun was used in a social media threat made today towards Oakwood High School.

Oakwood school officials released details of its investigation into a threat made on social media to the school.

A concerned parent said a one-call alert was made from Principal Paul Waller, who said an Oakwood student posted a threat on social media but had removed the threat. Details of the threat were not made available.

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The school district issued the following statement regarding the incident.

“On Friday, May 25, Oakwood High School administrators were made aware of a possible threat of violence at the school that had been sent via Snapchat by an OHS student. Upon learning of the threat, administrators immediately reported this communication to the Oakwood Safety Department, and officers were sent to the school.

“Police investigated and determined it was not a credible threat. No weapons were found. The student who sent the message was taken into custody by OSD. The case will be referred to the Montgomery County Juvenile Prosecutor’s Office for potential charges.”

As part of the schools’ safety plan, students are taught if they see or hear something to say something, officials said. “Students followed that example today and reported the message to administrators,” the statement said, allowing the district and police to intervene.

“We understand situations such as this are concerning to parents, students and the Oakwood community. Oakwood Schools safety procedures, which have been put in place in the best interest of our students and staff, were followed. All are safe and classes have continued in session as normal.”

Oakwood police confirmed to this news organization that no gun was involved in the threat.

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Oxford sexual assault: Victim speaks in court as 3 men sent to prison

Published: Friday, May 25, 2018 @ 2:46 PM


            From left: Elijah Mincy, Rodney Gibson II and Roger Simpson were all sentenced Friday, May 25, for an incident involving the sexual assault of a woman who was visiting Oxford in February. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
From left: Elijah Mincy, Rodney Gibson II and Roger Simpson were all sentenced Friday, May 25, for an incident involving the sexual assault of a woman who was visiting Oxford in February. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Three men have been sent to prison for an incident involving the sexual assault of a woman who was visiting Oxford in February.

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In April, Roger Richard Michael Simpson, 24, of Cincinnati, was found guilty of 23 felony crimes, including 10 counts of rape, sexual battery, complicity to rape and kidnapping after a four-day trial. On Friday, Butler County Common Pleas Judge Michael Oster sentenced him to 51 years in prison.

Elijah Lee Mincy, 22, of Oxford, who was charged with 23 felony crimes, but took a plea deal pleading guilty to rape and kidnapping, was sentenced to eight years in prison.

The third defendant, Rodney Adrian Louis Gibson II, 22, of Cincinnati, was charged with 26 felony crimes, but also took a plea deal, pleading guilty to complicity to kidnapping. He was sentenced to five years in prison.

MORE: Year-long investigation has Middletown police looking for dozens of suspects

The crimes involved a woman, who was 19 years old at the time, who was visiting Oxford on Feb. 11 and 12, 2017. The assault occurred in an off-campus apartment complex on Southpointe Parkway, according to Oxford police.

The victim was intoxicated at a party at the apartment and went with one of the men to another apartment where the assault occurred, police said.

Prosecutors say the three men assaulted the woman and held her against her will for about 90 minutes at the residence before the woman rejoined her friends and told them she had been raped.

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The victim addressed each man during the separate sentencing hearings.

“Before you I was fearless … I was looking forward to my future,” the victim told them.

She said she now had difficulty with everyday life.

“My body, my life, my choice was nothing to you,” she said.

Simpson’s attorney Donald Leroy pointed out to the judge that he has a 1-year-old son and he would like to remain active in the child’s life. There were also a number of church members in attendance in support of Simpson.

“He is sorry for his actions,” Leroy said.

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In his address to the judge, Simpson offered an apology to his son and mother “for putting them through the pain of me having to go to prison.”

He quoted scripture and said he would pray for the victim, but did not offer an apology.

Both Mincy and Gibson, who was the person the victim went to visit prior to the assault, did apologize for their actions.

Defense attorneys for Mincy and Gibson pointed out the men and no previous criminal history, were high school graduates and, at the time of offenses, were enrolled at Miami University.

Michele Temmel, Mincy’s attorney said, “friends and family when I talk to them about Elijah, they describe him as being kind, thoughtful, a hard worker, trustworthy and respectful.”

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A number of family members, some sobbing, spoke to the judge on Gibson’s behalf.

Defense attorney Scott Kruger said Gibson is “very selfless and interested in the welfare of others.”

“He is remorseful,” Kruger said, pointing out that Gibson apologized to the victim soon after the incident.

When imposing the sentences, Oster called the crime heinous, but noted both Mincy and Gibson took responsibility for their actions and apologized.

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