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Drunken driver’s mom jailed for laughing as fatal crash victim’s family speaks in court

Published: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 1:01 PM
Updated: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 1:01 PM

Mother Of Drunken Driver Jailed For Laughing In Court

A Michigan judge last week jailed the mother of a drunken driver for laughing as the victim’s grieving family spoke about the impact his death has had on their lives.

Amanda Marie Kosal, 26, of Redford Township, cried quietly in Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Qiana Lillard’s courtroom on Thursday, as she listened to Jerome Zirker’s sister talk about her brother, who Kosal killed in a drunken driving crash last June.

Kosal’s mother, Donna Kosal, and an unidentified man with her smiled and laughed as they sat in the back of the courtroom, according to WDIV Local 4 News in Detroit. Lillard, who heard their laughter, paused the Zirker family’s victim impact statements to address the behavior.

“It's time for him to go,” Lillard said during the dressing down, which was recorded by the news station and posted to its Facebook page. “And I don't know who he is, but whoever can sit here at a tragic moment like this and laugh and smile when somebody has lost a family member…. In the entire time that Mr. Zirker's sister was speaking, that clown -- and that's what I am going to call him, a clown -- was sitting there smiling and laughing.”

She then addressed Donna Kosal.

“And you can go, too. Because if you don't know how to act, you can go to jail,” Lillard said. “So leave. Anybody that can sit there and laugh and smirk….”

She tells a court officer to “take her, she’s going in the back.”

“Anybody else want to go?” Lillard asked the other people in the courtroom supporting Amanda Kosal. “You can go, too. This is a court of law. And these are very serious matters. I understand that you all are very upset because your loved one is going to prison, but guess what? She's going to prison for the choices that she made. These people are here, grieving, saddened because a senseless act took away their loved one, and you all are sitting around here like it's a joke?”

“Not in courtroom 502. Not today and not any other day.”

 

VIDEO: Judge removes 2 people, calls them clowns during local woman's sentencing for deadly DUI crash: http://bit.ly/2lzukSI

Posted by WDIV Local 4 / ClickOnDetroit on Thursday, February 23, 2017

Lillard told Donna Kosal she was going to jail for 93 days for criminal contempt as a court officer escorted her out.

The judge’s Facebook page was inundated with praise and support after news of her actions went public. She thanked people for visiting the page and expressing their feelings and assured them that, although she could not respond to each person individually, she had read all of their comments.  

“I am honored to have the privilege of serving the citizens of Wayne County,” Lillard wrote.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit this page to express your feelings. I am honored to have the...

Posted by Judge Qiana Denise Lillard on Saturday, February 25, 2017

WDIV reported that a tearful Donna Kosal apologized at a hearing before Lillard the following morning.

“I deeply apologize for what I did,” Donna Kosal said, according to the news station. “I was under a lot of stress.”

The judge amended her sentence to one day, with time served, and ordered that she be released from jail.

“What you have to understand is, as hard as this is for you to see your baby going to prison, imagine what that family feels like when their child is dead,” Lillard told Donna Kosal. “I hope that you learned a valuable lesson from this.”

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Amanda Kosal was sentenced on Thursday to three to 15 years in prison for the June 23, 2016, crash that killed Zirker, 31, and seriously injured his fiancée. WDIV reported that Kisal admitted she was drunk when the pickup truck she was driving crossed the center line and struck the SUV carrying Zirker and Brittany Johnson, 31, of Inkster.

Kosal pleaded guilty to operating under the influence causing death.

Johnson, who is now a single mother to the couple’s five children, told the news station that Zirker had just picked her up from her job as a caregiver at a group home when the fatal crash occurred. The children were usually with their father when he picked her up, she said.

“Luckily, they were at grandma’s house, or it would have been all of us,” Johnson told WDIV.

Zirker’s mother, Rathel Fizer, told the news station that she would rather see Amanda Kosal free and working to help support her son’s children, since he no longer can.

“If she goes to prison or jail, I’m taking care of her,” Fizer said. “I don’t want her to mail a check. I want her to hand-deliver it to them so she can see the faces that she destroyed.”

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Hamilton death penalty trial: Text messages shown, reluctant witnesses take stand

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 1:39 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 2:15 PM

Michael Grevious II Trial Day 2

Hundreds of phone calls and text messages as well as the testimony of reluctant witnesses marked the second day of testimony in the death penalty trial of Michael Grevious II.

Grevious, 25, of Hamilton, is facing the death penalty if found guilty of aggravated murder for allegedly ordering a retaliation shooting in August 2016. He is also charged with having weapons under disability and felonious assault for violence that happened one month earlier at a Hamilton bar that has since been razed.

MORE: No plea deal offered to Michael Grevious II

Here are highlights from Thursday in court:

Text message from Lil Mike: ‘Delete everything’

Hamilton Detective Aaron Hucke testified he extracted data from a cell phone belonging to Zachary Harris, who was in the truck on Aug. 3, 2016 when Orlando Gilbert and Todd Berus were shot and killed in what prosecutors say was a retaliation shooting for gun violence at Doubles Bar.

More than 200 calls and texts were placed from Harris’s phone to a number with the contact “Lil Mike the Skitzo” from the end of July 2o16 to Aug. 2, 2016 when “Skitzo” says to “delete everything,” according to Hamilton police.

The messages used slang and referenced a hit on Orlando Gilbert, according to police.

During cross examination, defense attorney David Washington pointed out there was nothing to indicate money had been paid to kill Gilbert. He also noted there was no proof to the identity of “Skitzo.”

Reluctant witnesses takes the stand

Bryann Johnson, cousin of Kalif Goens, who was killed in the shooting at Doubles Bar, took the stand and admitted she didn’t want to be there.

“In fact we had to arrest you, isn’t that right?” Assistant Prosecutor Brad Burress asked her.

MORE:Hamilton death penalty trial: Witnesses fear for their safety

She answered, “Yes.”

Earlier this week, Judge Greg Stephens issued warrants for two witnesses who did not show up when subpoenaed.

Johnson said she was at Doubles Bar the night of the shooting and saw a commotion between members of two families.

Grevious was “right there with them,” she said, but didn’t know if he was part of the ruckus.

When shots rang out, Johnson said everyone started running and hiding.

She started screaming for someone to help Kalif Goens.

“He was bleeding. He was just laying there. His eyes were still open,” Johnson said.

Burress asked Johnson if she saw Grevious — known to her as “Lil Mike” — with a gun.

“I can’t honestly say that I did,” she said.

But Burress noted that in her statement to police days after the incident she said she saw a gun in Grevious’ pocket.

Erika Ash, a second reluctant witness, took the stand telling the jury she saw Grevious on top of a pool table shooting at Doubles Bar.

“He was shooting,” Ash said while wiping away tears. She said the shots started flying after people began shoving on the dance floor.

Washington questioned Ash about her alcohol intake at the bar. At the time she was 18 years old. Ash said she had two mixed drinks and had been smoking marijuana earlier in the day.

She could not say specifically how may shots she heard fired or what Grevious was wearing or what the gun looked like, when asked by Washingotn.

“In the middle of all this chaos (shooting, people running) you were able to see Mike on top of the table shooting?” Washington asked.

Ash answered, “Yes.”

Items from crime scene shown

Hamilton Detective Steve Hamilton, crime scene investigator, showed the jury eight large shell casings found at drive-by shooting scene.

The jury was also shown photos of both Gilbert and Todd Berus dead in the truck.

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Ex-Kettering sub teacher sentenced for sex crimes involving students

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 6:13 AM
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 2:31 PM

Former Kettering substitute teacher pleaded guilty to sex charges involving two students

UPDATE @ 2:30 p.m.:

Madeline Marx, the former Kettering Fairmont substitute teacher who pleaded guilty to sex charges involving students, was sentenced to five years of community control sanctions for each of two convictions of sexual battery, but will avoid prison. 

Marx was also labeled as a Tier III sex offender, requiring her to register her address every 90 days for the rest of her life.

Marx was ordered to undergo sexual offender counseling, and is not to have contact with any of the victims.

Marx is also not to enter into any Kettering City Schools facilities. 

FIRST REPORT

Kettering Fairmont substitute teacher Madeline J. Marx is scheduled to be sentenced today on sexual battery charges in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

Marx, 24, pleaded and was found guilty of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with two students and was arrested last November. She is to appear today in front of Judge Steven Dankof.

RELATED: Miamisburg school worried ex-teacher flirted a year before sex charges

A 17-year-old student told police he was given oral sex by a teacher July 19 in the parking lot of Big Lots on Wilmington Pike, according to the complaint, affidavit and statement of facts filed in court.

A 16-year-old boy told police he had intercourse with a substitute teacher Sept. 21 in the parking lot of an apartment complex on Smithville Road, according to court documents.

Marx was removed from Fairmont’s building Nov. 8 by police. Marx admitted to having sexual relationships with multiple students, according to court documents.

RELATED: Substitute teacher accused of sex with two students seeks insanity plea

An affidavit said Marx also confessed to sending several nude pictures via Snapchat and Instagram.

A prosecutor’s office press release indicated Marx also substitute taught in Oakwood. School officials in Oakwood sent parents a letter saying that they did not know of any victims in their school district.

State records indicated Marx has a four-year teaching license as a K-12 education intervention specialist.

RELATED: What we’ve learned about Madeline Marx

Marx graduated in 2012 from Chaminade Julienne High School in Dayton and graduated from the University of Dayton in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in education, according to CJ and UD officials.

According to her UD transcript included in her personnel file, Marx withdrew from a fall 2013 class on sexual ethics.

MORE: Read other stories from Mark Gokavi

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Police: 2 shot and killed at Trotwood apartment complex

Published: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 12:17 AM
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 1:16 PM

2 killed in shooting at Trotwood apartment complex

UPDATE @ 1:15 p.m. (April 19): 

Two people were shot and died from their injuries at a Trotwood apartment complex late Wednesday night, police confirmed Thursday. 

Both victims were found shot multiple times inside a car in the complex parking lot, according to investigators. 

The victim found in the front seat, identified by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office as Elmer Rucker, 23, of Dayton, was transported to Miami Valley Hospital but did not survive his injuries, police said. 

The driver, identified by the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office as Antonio F. Collins, 25, of Dayton, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to investigators. 

Additional details were not available. 

FIRST REPORT (April 18):

Residents reported hearing eight to 10 gunshots in a deadly shooting Wednesday night at the Pinewood Gardens apartments.

Shortly after midnight, an investigator with the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office was on the way to the complex on Pinewood Circle off West Main Street between End and High streets.

>> Meth poisoning sickens 14 jail staff Tuesday, Wednesday in Darke County

Medics and police were called sometime after 11 p.m. after there were reports of eight to 10 shots fired, according to the Miami County Regional Dispatch Center.

Residents reported hearing gunshots and then seeing ambulances, fire trucks and police cruisers at the rear of the parking lot.

In a 911 call to dispatchers, one resident reported that the multitude of shots actually forced them to get down on the floor inside of the apartment.  

>> Police: Knife-wielding man robs 2 Dollar General stores less than 2 miles apart

It was not immediately clear how many people were shot or injured by the gunfire, nor whether police have any suspects.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

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Meth poisoning sickens 10 more Darke County Jail staff; shuts down jail until Monday

Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018 @ 10:43 PM
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 12:48 PM



Getty Images/iStockphoto
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

UPDATE @ 12:50 p.m. ( April 19)

A total of 28 prisoners were removed from the Darke County jail and taken to neighboring counties as a result of a meth poisoning.  17 were sent to Miami County and 11 were sent to Mercer County. A case is being presented to the grand jury currently to bring charges against the suspect. The Darke County jail will be closed until at least Monday. 

EARLIER REPORT: 

The Darke County Jail is shut down after 10 more officers were sent to the hospital Wednesday after a Tuesday meth spill got into air-handling system.

The white powder spilled at the jail around 1 p.m. while Stephen Garner was being booked, according to a release from the Darke County Sheriff’s Office. The powder was identified Wednesday as methamphetamine by the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab.

>> Darke County Jail officers overcome when exposed to unknown white powder

Four officers and Garner had to be taken to WayneHealthcare, where they were treated and released. Garner was placed into the Ohio Adult Parole Authority’s custody, deputies said.

The jail resumed normal operations Tuesday and was believed to have been decontaminated.

However, in the morning hours Wednesday, In the morning hours, air-handling units were turned back on in the affected area.

“After several hours of routine operation, deputies and corrections officers began to feel ill and experienced abnormal vital signs,” the release stated.

Five corrections officers were taken to WayneHealthcare, and later as crews worked to identify and contain the situation, five more officers began to show signs of contamination and were taken to the hospital.

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“It is believed that the methamphetamine was drawn into a ventilation air handler at the time of the spill,” according to the release. “When the air handler was turned back on it distributed enough methamphetamine throughout the prisoner booking and intake area of the jail to result in toxic exposure to jail staff.”

The Darke County Jail structure operations on multiple separate air-handling units, and other areas of the jail, including inmate wards, 911 dispatch and the road patrol areas were not affected.

>> Prosecutor: Man ‘set on revenge’ ordered retaliation shooting from jail cell

However, 28 inmates were taken to Miami County and Mercer County jails and the jail operation will remain shut down until a private environmental contractor can clean and decontaminate the affected area, according to the sheriff’s office.

All sheriff's office numbers, and the 911 communications center, remain in service and will be answered as usual.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to newsdesk@cmgohio.com

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