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Defense: ‘Burned baby’ statements have tainted jury pool in baby case

Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 1:04 PM
Updated: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 2:06 PM

Brooke Skylar Richardson, the Carlisle teen charged with aggravated murder for the death of her infant found buried in the back yard, appeared in Warren County Court for pretrial hearing, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 in Lebanon. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Brooke Skylar Richardson, the Carlisle teen charged with aggravated murder for the death of her infant found buried in the back yard, appeared in Warren County Court for pretrial hearing, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017 in Lebanon. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Arguments previously stricken by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II from the defense motion to move the Brooke Skylar Richardson case out of the county are now part of the case file.

The un-redacted document was filed Monday in which defense attorneys Charles H. and Charles M. Rittgers say a “premature and completely false opinion by the state’s expert forensic anthropologist that Brooke Skylar Richardson’s baby Annabelle was burned before burial ignited a media and social media firestorm.”

MORE: Appeals court lifts gag order in buried baby case

The defense team says the damage is done and a fair trial for the Carlisle teen in Warren County is not possible.

“What started as an 18-year-old high school girl who was frightened and saddened because of giving birth to a stillborn baby whom she named Annabelle and then telling her doctor of the stillbirth and burial in the backyard turned into something sinister and grotesque because of the inaccurate and false opinion by the state’s forensic anthropologist. Although this false opinion was subsequently retracted, the damage remains” the defense team states in the motion.

A state appeals court has lifted the gag order imposed in the case of a Carlisle teenage mother accused of killing her newborn last spring.

The defense says the county prosecutor, relying on inaccurate information given to him at the time he presented their case to a grand jury, held a press conference shortly after indictment where remarks about Richardson burning the baby were made.

MORE: Attorneys want statements to parents suppressed in Carlisle buried baby case

Included in the court document are several media reports in which Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell talks about the burning.

The defense team said when the prosecutor made the statements, he did not know the “facts regarding Skylar’s mental health, eating disorders and fears.”

According to the defense, a state’s forensic anthropologist retracted the first opinion and then the prosecution sought a second opinion.

“The second forensic anthropologist, who was retained by the prosecutor’s office, confirmed that Annabelle was not burned and confirmed there were ‘no signs of burning’ and no trauma ‘that could be related to the cause of death of this individual,’” the defense wrote in the motion. The second forensic anthropologist consulted is Dr. Krista Latham.

Oda has denied the motion for change of venue, ruling voir dire of the potential jurors will have to take place to determine if pre-trial publicity has had any impact on the jury pool.

Prosecutor releases sex of baby

“Only after the voir dire process will the court and the parties be able to determine the impact, if any, of pretrial publicity. This issue will be revisited in the event a jury cannot be seated,” Oda wrote.

Oda previously issued a gag order stopping public comments by attorneys and parties involved in the case, but that ruling was overturned last week by the 12th District Court of Appeals.

Richardson remains free on a $50,000 bond and under court-ordered house arrest that was a condition of her release. Her trial is scheduled to begin in April.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell declined to comment on the case, and the prosecution will be filing a response soon.

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911 caller: ‘He’s stabbing me!’

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:16 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 12:37 PM

            Fairfield Police Department and Ohio BCI on the scene of a stabbing and shooting on Friday, June 22, 2018. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Fairfield Police Department and Ohio BCI on the scene of a stabbing and shooting on Friday, June 22, 2018. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

The three-minute, 20-second 911 call from an officer-involved fatal shooting this morning in Fairfield reveals a woman making panicked pleas.

Screaming “no!” and “help!” the woman yelled out the address once very quickly, and said: “He’s stabbing me!”

RELATED: Police chief: Officer shoots, kills man who fatally stabbed woman

The dispatcher continues to ask the woman to say the address again.

“Please yell your address to me so I can send help,” the dispatcher says. “Shout your address, your apartment number.”

One of the officers says: “I heard someone yell ‘help!’”

The dispatcher said an officer is outside if someone could run outside and flag them down.

An officer says: “There’s a lot of movement upstairs, I hear crashing.”

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Kettering officer shot passenger from stopped vehicle who refused to drop gun

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 9:00 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 3:30 PM


One man was shot and injured in a police officer-involved shooting in Dayton:

  • Shooting occurred Thursday night at Smithville Road and Ewalt Avenue
  • A Kettering police officer initiated traffic stop, the shooting followed
  • The passenger was shot and wounded, the driver is in custody

UPDATE @ 3:30 p.m.: 

The passenger, identified as 31-year-old Wayne Morgan, was shot when he refused the Kettering police officer’s order to drop a handgun, Kettering Police Chief Christopher Protsman said at a news conference held at Kettering Fire Department Headquarters.

Morgan had run from the stopped vehicle, and then broke away from the officer during a confrontation with the officer a short distance from the stopped vehicle.

Protsman said the officer, while giving chase on foot, saw that Morgan had a handgun and ordered him to drop it. Morgan ran into an alley, where the officer fired and hit Morgan in the arm and side. 

Morgan remains in a hospital.

The driver of the car police stopped was not charged and has been released, the chief said.

The officer’s name is not being released, the chief said.

The city of Dayton will handle the criminal investigation.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m.: 

Kettering police Lt. Michael Gabrielson said he’s working on downloading the cameras and radio traffic from the shooting and there might be video and audio available of what happened available later today.

The Dayton Police Department is conducting a separate investigation into the incident, he said.

A Kettering police officer tried to pull over a vehicle at Smithville Road and Ewalt Avenue on Thursday night. Within one minute, at 8:45 p.m., the officer reported shots fired. A call for officer needs assistance was issued to surrounding agencies, according to information from the Kettering Police Department.

>> DASH CAM: Man shot, injured by Dayton officer ID’d

“We can confirm a Kettering officer was involved in an officer-involved shooting as a result of this traffic stop. No further details are being released at this time,” Lt. Gabrielson stated in the release.

The traffic stop was initiated in Kettering, but the shooting happened in Dayton.

“A passenger fled. There was an altercation about a block down the street and a Kettering officer fired at the suspect, wounding him,” said Mark Ecton, Dayton assistant police chief and deputy director.

The driver is in custody, he said.

It’s not clear how many shots were fired or whether the suspect fired at the officer but a weapon was recovered, Ecton said.

>> WATCH: Police shocked during scuffle in Dayton, officers injured


The man was taken to a hospital. We’re working to learn more on his condition. The officer was not injured.

>> No criminal charges for Miami Twp. officer in 2017 fatal shooting

The investigation has not mentioned whether the incident was connected to a hit-and-run crash nearby.

Nick Kauffman of Kettering said he was on his way to a motorcycle ride when his path was blocked by all the police activity.

“It’s pretty wild. You don’t expect to see this stuff outside your back door,” he said.

There were officers from at least three police departments.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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‘He showed us a gun:’ Robbery victims testify in teen’s carjacking case

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 11:37 AM

            Surveillance footage shows an armed robbery at a Miamisburg Shell Station.
Surveillance footage shows an armed robbery at a Miamisburg Shell Station.

Armed robbery victims testified in juvenile court Friday about a Dayton teen alleged to have taken money from a Miamisburg Shell Station, attempting to carjack a motorist and being shot by an off-duty police officer.

The 17-year-old juvenile was accused of carjacking a man Feb. 4 and then pointing a weapon at cashiers at the Shell at Ohio 725 and Byers Road before trying to commandeer another person’s car and getting shot on Feb. 5.

“I hear tapping on my passenger-side window,” testified a man who was allegedly carjacked on Feb. 4. “I look to my right and there’s a gun tapping on my window.”

RELATED: More charges filed in officer-involved shooting case

The man testifying in front of Montgomery County Juvenile Court Judge Anthony Capizzi said a black male wearing a black hoodie with white trim said, “Just get out” and then, “I’m doing this for my mother” before the man took the witness’ car and drove away.

The boy’s mother was in the courtroom Friday to hear testimony from an estimated 10 to 14 witnesses during a probable cause hearing that could take most of the day. The boy could be bound over to adult court, but no decision was expected today.

RELATED: Teen, 17, is suspect in police-involved shooting on Ohio 725 near I-75

Two female cashiers at the Shell described how a man with a red ski mask entered their store on Feb. 5 and pointed a weapon.

“He showed us a gun and told us it was for real,” said the cashier who hit a panic button before emptying her cash drawer.”

Surveillance video showed a man in a red ski mask take money from both tills, put it into a bag and then exit the store.

Police have said that after robbing the store, the 17-year-old attempted to take another person’s vehicle at gunpoint and was shot by an off-duty Miami Twp. police officer.

The boy was shot and taken to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

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Retired Troy firefighter, and now a co-defendant, accused in rape case

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 7:08 PM
Updated: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 10:50 AM

Retired Troy firefighter arrested for rape, son arrested hours later

UPDATE @ 10:20 a.m. (June 22): A retired Troy firefighter and a co-defendant remain in jail on a rape charge, while the former firefighter's son also remains in jail on a weapons charge. 

Jeffrey Paul Covault, 48, had his bond set at $200,000 cash on a single count of rape. His plea of not guilty was taken this morning. 

Thomas Perkins Jr., 54, identified as a co-defendant in the rape case, had his bond set at $200,000 as well. According to authorities, Perkins worked for Jeffrey Paul Covault's lawn care business. 

Aaron Jacob Covault, 24, had his bond set at $22,000 cash during his court appearance via video in Miami County Municipal Court. 

He is detained in the Miami County Jail on charges of weapon possession as a felon (a felony) and weapons possession while intoxicated (a misdemeanor).

Aaron Jacob Covault, left, and Jeffrey Paul Covault

The elder Covault and Perkins are accused of engaging in sexual conduct with an intoxicated 21-year-old woman on March 2, in the parking lot of The Vault, on North County Road 25A, county Prosecutor Tony Kendell said. According to the indictment, the victim was impaired because of a mental or physical condition and the alleged perpetrators had cause of know of that impairment.

Common Pleas Judge Christopher Gee issued a “no contact order” for the elder Covault and Perkins, meaning they are to have no contact with the alleged victim or with each other.

The elder Covault worked as a Troy firefighter/paramedic from May 1996 until he retired April 1, according to city personnel records.

A criminal records check shows he has been convicted for operating a vehicle under the influence in 2011 and for disorderly conduct in 2012.

The father and son were arrested hours apart Thursday from the same home, a residence in the 700 block of County Road 25A, north of Troy.

Aaron Jacob Covault, was arrested at the same address hours after his father was taken into custody. Police said the younger Covault was upset over the arrest of his father and discharged a gun.

>> TRENDING: Kettering officer-involved shooting: Man shot by officer, gun recovered

There were no report of injuries.

>> Suspect in Seattle homicide arrested in raid in Dayton

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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