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Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 4:34 PM
An 8-person jury was selected Tuesday in Dayton’s U.S. District Court to hear the civil rights trial of a former Montgomery County Jail inmate who was forced to sleep without a mattress or blanket for parts of his four-month stay. Opening statements are scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Court documents show that both plaintiffs’ and defense attorneys agree that David O. Cooper, 35, has a history of mental illness and tried to harm himself several times during his jail stay in 2012.
The civil lawsuit is the first of several filed against jail staff in recent years for alleged abuse and/or neglect to go to trial. Four other cases have settled for $888,000 plus the county spent another $444,000 on outside legal counsel and litigation costs, according to county records. Other cases are pending.
U.S. District Court Judge Walter Rice questioned prospective jurors on several topics Tuesday morning and afternoon before attorneys for Cooper and Montgomery County had more specific inquiries.
Coopers’ attorney, John Helbling, asked potential jurors if they had a damages number that they just couldn’t go above no matter what the evidence showed if they found a defendant liable.
When Helbling suggested damages could be in the neighborhood of $3 to $4 million, Rice said the number was hypothetical and dealt with facts the jury hadn’t heard yet.
Two potential jury members were dismissed after saying they thought there should be a cap on damages in civil trials or those against public entities.
When being questioned by Montgomery County assistant prosecutor Mary Montgomery, a couple prospective jury members who were nurses or had connections to nurses said they had concerns about a baseline standard of care such as someone not being provided a mattress.
JUSTICE IN THE JAILHOUSE: Lawsuits, accusations plague region’s county jails
No potential jury members were dismissed immediately after voicing their concerns. After peremptory challenges, the seated and sworn jury includes six men and two women.
Case documents show both sides stipulated that remaining Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office individual defendants Major Darryl Wilson and Capt. Chuck Crosby “took steps they deemed necessary” to stop Cooper from harming himself.
That included taking away Cooper’s mattress and blanket for part of his time of incarceration, so that Cooper had to sleep on the floor, according to court documents.
The sheriff’s office has refused to comment about pending litigation and has not made individual defendants available to be interviewed. Court documents show the county argues that Cooper’s incarceration conditions do not rise to liability.
Published: Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 6:30 PM
Updated: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 11:33 AM
DAYTON — UPDATE @ 11:26 a.m.
Montgomery County Coroner’s Office confirmed Sherrell Wheatley, 62, of Dayton was the woman shot and killed Saturday while walking near a house targeted by a drive-by shooting in Dayton.
UPDATE @ 9 p.m.
A woman in her 60s was gunned down this evening when she was walking near a house targeted by a drive-by shooting, police said.
The woman, whose name was not released, was an innocent bystander who suffered at least one gunshot wound; she was taken to Miami Valley Hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries, Dayton police Sgt. Creigee Coleman said.
“A vehicle driven by a male had another male inside the vehicle, and that male fired several rounds towards an unknown house in an attempt to probably cause damage to that house,” Coleman said.
The passenger fired five or six rounds, he said.
Aaron Taylor said the woman was his great aunt.
“I just happened to pull up, see my auntie in the grass dead,” he said.
He described his aunt as a sweet lady and matriarch of his family and the community.
“Definitely innocent bystander walking up the street,” Taylor said.
Police are searching for a silver Ford Taurus or similar four-door car, and also are asking for the public’s help to come forward with any information.
“Now this is a situation where a person was indiscriminately firing a weapon, a large-caliber weapon from what I’ve been told, at a house and a person who was innocent just happened to be walking by and got hit by a bullet that has no eyes,” Coleman said.
Police and medics were called this evening to a shooting.
The shooting was reported at 6:10 p.m. in the 800 block of North Euclid Avenue.
At least one person was shot, according to the Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center.
According to initial reports, a caller heard 12 to 15 gunshots and saw a woman on the ground.
We are on the way and will update this report as we learn details.
Published: Sunday, May 20, 2018 @ 12:08 AM
DAYTON — A woman accused of grand theft auto said she drove off in a stolen car “because it was faster than walking,” according to a Dayton police report.
Police were called around 9:45 p.m. Friday to Church’s Chicken, 2443 N. Gettysburg Ave., after a woman said her white 2018 Chevrolet Equinox rental was stolen from the parking lot after she went inside to get food.
The rented vehicle was tracked using OnStar, and a Dayton officer was able to find it a little more than three miles away in the 100 block of North Plaza Avenue, according to a police report.
Police identified the alleged driver as 36-year-old Brittany Grandberry.
When asked why she drove the vehicle: “she stated that she walked past it and saw it was running and walked back to it. She stated that she drove the vehicle away from Church’s Chicken because it was faster than walking.”
Grandberry is due Monday in Dayton Municipal Court.
Published: Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 11:14 PM
TURTLECREEK TWP. — Law enforcement is asking for the public’s help to find two prisoners who escaped Saturday night from the Community Correctional Center.
Deputies from the Warren County Sheriff’s Office responded around 8:30 p.m. to the area of 5234 state Route 63, the CCC, for a report of two men running through a field. They jumped into an older model silver minivan and fled the area.
The men are identified as Daniel Hatfield Jr. and Jeremy Mink, and were confirmed to have escaped from the facility run by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, according to the sheriff’s office.
Hatfield, 27, stands 5 feet 6 inches, weighs 186 pounds, has blue eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing tan pants and a white shirt. He is sentenced to CCC after being convicted of a probation violation for drug offenses out of Butler County.
Mink 28, stands 6 feet, 1 inch, weighs 195 pounds has blue eyes and brown hair. He was last seen wearing tan pants and no shirt. He was sentenced to CCC after being convicted of drug offenses out of Clermont County.
Anyone with information on either man’s whereabouts is urged to contact the Warren County Sheriff’s Office at 513-695-1280.
Published: Friday, May 18, 2018 @ 7:45 PM
Updated: Saturday, May 19, 2018 @ 10:15 PM
TROTWOOD — UPDATE @ 10:15 p.m.
Patrols near a sobriety checkpoint Friday night in Trotwood netted two OVI arrests, the Montgomery County Combined Agency Task Force announced tonight.
More than 225 vehicles passed through the checkpoint at 4825 Salem Ave., which resulted in five citations: one for no seat belt; two for driving under suspension and two for no operator's license.
In nearby patrols, there were nine traffic stops with two OVI arrests; three citations for no seat belt; one citation for fictitious registration; and one misdemeanor summons for marijuana possession, according to the task force.
The goals of the sobriety checkpoints are to provide public awareness to the consequences of driving under the influence, reduce the number of impaired drivers on the roadways, reduce the number of alcohol-related traffic crashes, and make the roadways a safer place to travel, the task force said.
An OVI checkpoint is planned for tonight in Trotwood.
The Montgomery County Combined Agency OVI Task Force’s sobriety checkpoint starts at 8 p.m. in the 4800 block of Salem Avenue.
Ohio law requires OVI checkpoints to be publicized ahead of time.
There also will be patrols in the area of the checkpoint in addition to patrols for the “Click It or Ticket” campaign through May and June, according to the task force.