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Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 9:24 AM
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 @ 1:40 PM
WARREN COUNTY — UPDATE @ 1:30 p.m. April 17:
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell has filed a written response opposing Brooke Skylar Richardson’s release from house arrest, which has been requested by defense attorneys.
Fornshell said the house arrest restriction is necessary to assure Richardson’s appearance in court and for public safety, noting she is accused of aggravated murder.
Richardson is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering in death of her infant daughter.
“Defendant waited until the 11th hour before her scheduled jury trial to file a motion … regarding this doctor-patient privilege issue. Now the trial is postponed indefinitely while both sides are waiting on a ruling from the 12 District Court of Appeals,” Fornshell wrote in his response.
“Defendant should not now be rewarded for filing her motion so close to the trial date by having her house arrest restrictions lifted while the case is pending appeal,” he said.
Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II has not yet issued a ruling on the defense’s motion to lift house arrest.
INITIAL REPORT, April 16:
Brooke Skylar Richardson’s trial was scheduled to begin today in Warren County Common Pleas Court, but was cancelled last week as the 12th District Court of Appeals considers a ruling about medical records.
It could take months for that decision from the appellate court, and Richardson’s attorneys say their client should be free during that time of constraints placed on her by Judge Donald Oda II.
Oda set bond at $50,000 with a 10 percent rule, meaning Richardson could post $5,000 bond at arraignment in July. But the judge ordered she wear an ankle monitor and be placed on house arrest.
The defense team, in a motion filed Monday, said, “Skylar Richardson was given a $50,000 bond at arraignment with the restriction of house arrest. Eight months have transpired since she was placed on house arrest and it is counsel’s understanding that here have been no incidents or infractions. Skylar just turned 19 in March and resides with her parents where she will continue to reside until conclusion of the case.”
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said the state will object to the defense’s motion.
Oda has not yet ruled on the motion.
Richardson is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering, for the May 2017 death of her infant daughter whom defense attorneys say she named Annabelle.
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 10:30 AM
PIKE COUNTY — Two years after eight people were murdered in their homes in Pike County, Ohio, the shooting deaths remain unsolved.
Hannah Rhoden, 19, Christopher Rhoden Sr., 40; his ex-wife, Dana Rhoden, 37; their sons, Christopher Rhoden Jr., 16, and Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden, 20; Frankie’s fiancee, Hannah Gilley, 20; and relatives Kenneth Rhoden, 44, and Gary Rhoden, 38 died in the shootings.
FULL REPORT: Pike County Murders: 8 deaths, 2 years, no answers
1. What happened to the family in Alaska?
Last June, DeWine announced he was “laser focused” on members of the Wagner family, a family in Kenai, Alaska who formerly lived near the Rhodens in Ohio. The Bureau of Criminal Investigation and other agencies executed search warrants at their former residence.
The Wagners appeared to still be in Alaska as of December, when, according to Alaska court records, Edward Jacob “Jake” Wagner, 25, pleaded no contest to a speeding ticket issued in Soldotna, about a three hour drive south of Anchorage.
Wagner fathered a daughter with Hannah Rhoden, one of the victims, but DeWine has not named him or three other family members — George “Billy” Wagner, his wife, Angela, and their other son, George — as suspects.
The Wagners “continue to be saddened by the loss of the Rhodens,” John Kearson Clark Jr., the family’s attorney, told this newspaper this month. “Especially with each passing year, and yet the case is not resolved.”
“Despite what has been said and alleged, the Wagners were on friendly terms with the Rhodens,” Clark said by email. “Therefore, the Wagners had no reason to wish them harm.”
2. What happened to James Manley, the brother arrested for alleged tampering?
In May, authorities arrested James Manley, the brother of victim Dana Manley Rhoden, on charges of evidence tampering and vandalism after allegedly destroying a GPS tracker placed on his car during the investigation.
A Pike County judge dismissed the charges against Manley so that evidence could be presented to a grand jury. There have been no announcements since of any grand jury action.
Manley’s attorney, James Boulger, and Pike County Prosecutor Rob Junk did not respond to requests for comment.
“I have nothing I can say about that,” DeWine said when asked about Manley’s case.
3. Will the next attorney general keep the investigation as a top priority?
Because officials have characterized the case as the largest criminal inquiry in Ohio history, the two candidates to become Ohio’s next attorney general - DeWine leaves office in January - face the decision of whether they would continue to consider solving the Pike County murders as the office’s number one priority.
“Anyone who would predict this nine months before taking office, without seeing the evidence and understanding the posture of the investigation at that time, is a fool, or a poltroon, or both — and not fit for the office of attorney general,” said Dave Yost, the Ohio auditor and Republican candidate for attorney general, in an email.
Yost’s Democratic opponent, Steve Dettelbach, held his cards even closer.
“I’ve spent two decades as a prosecutor,” Dettelbach, the former U.S. attorney for the northern district of Ohio, said by text message. “I don’t and won’t politicize an important murder investigation.”
Read more stories:
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 12:56 AM
DAYTON — A Chihuahua was mauled to death Saturday afternoon by a larger dog owned by a neighbor.
The 1-year-old dog named Ace was chained outside shortly after 12:30 p.m. when a dog, also named Ace, came from across the street in the 5300 block of Dushore Drive and ripped the smaller dog off the chain and ran with it in its mouth.
After the larger dog’s owner, identified as Jeffrey Cox, got his black Labrador retriever mix back inside, another of Cox’s 11 dogs got out and charged the Chihuahua owner and her husband, who had to fend it off the second dog with a metal chair until Cox could secure it, according to a Dayton police report.
The Chihuahua owner told police it was the second dog she lost to one of Cox’s dogs; the last time was when her previous Chihuahua was killed in the fall of 2016, according to the police report.
The Montgomery County Animal Resource Center took the dog that killed the Chihuahua.
It is not clear whether Cox’s 11 dogs were licensed or had previous complaints documented against them.
Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 9:11 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 4:00 PM
SHELBY COUNTY — UPDATE @ 4 p.m.
A Sidney man is facing aggravated vehicular homicide charges in connection to a fatal crash involving an SUV and horse-drawn buggy.
Steven Eugene Hunter, 42, was booked into the Shelby County Jail early this morning. He is being held without bond.
A 23-year-old woman was killed, and her husband and two infant children all remain in critical condition at hospitals in Dayton.
The Amish family who lives in the Maplewood area all were ejected from a buggy that was struck from behind just before 9 p.m. Friday on state Route 47 near Tawawa-Maplewood Road in Shelby County near the Logan County line.
UPDATE @ 11:50 p.m.
A 23-year-old woman was killed and two infants and a man critically injured Friday night after they were ejected from a buggy in an alcohol-related crash.
“The preliminary investigation indicated that the buggy was westbound, properly lit, on state Route 47. A westbound SUV struck the buggy from behind,” Lt. Tim Bender of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office said of the deadly crash involving four members of a local Amish family.
The crash happened just before 9 p.m. in the 22000 block of state Route 47 West near Tawawa-Maplewood Road in Shelby County near the Logan County border.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Two infants were flown by CareFlight to a Dayton hospital, and a man was taken to Wilson Memorial Hospital, then transferred to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. The infants and man “are in critical condition at this time,” Bender said.
None of the victims’ names have been released.
The SUV driver, whose name also has not been released, attempted to flee but his vehicle was stuck so he ran on foot, the lieutenant said.
“He was apprehended by Logan County Sheriff’s deputies about a mile from the scene,” Bender said. “It is possible the driver of the vehicle was alcohol-involved.”
The SUV driver suffered minor injuries.
“The horse (pulling the buggy) also had minor visible injuries and was taken to a farm nearby,” Bender said.
The 911 call originally went to Logan County because the crash happened so close to the county line,and both agencies are handling the crash jointly, Bender said.
The SUV driver will be cited for assured clear distance and likely will face more charges in the fatal crash.
Crews were called tonight to a serious crash between a vehicle and buggy.
The collision was reported just before 9 p.m. in the 22000 block of state Route 47 West, near Township Road 33 North.
According to initial reports, there are at least three people injured.
The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office dispatch said no other information was available at this time.
Two CareFlight medical helicopters have been requested.
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 6:14 AM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 10:21 AM
DAYTON — UPDATE @ 10:15 a.m.:
The two victims who died after a shooting this morning outside a Dayton nightclub been identified.
Darion Harris, 29, of Dayton died at the scene and Ashley James, 28, of Dayton died of her injuries at Miami Valley Hospital, according to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.
Two people were killed in an early morning shooting outside Rick Jazz Lab.
Crews were dispatched around 3:40 a.m. to the 1800 block of Lakeview Avenue on a report of a shooting.
A 27-year-old man died at the scene and a woman was taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where she died, Sgt. Thomas Schloss of the Dayton Police Department said.
The victims were found shot inside a blue Ford pickup truck outside the club, Schloss said.
Police are not releasing if they have any suspects at this time
Anyone with information is urged to call Miami Valley Crime Stoppers at 222-STOP(7867.)