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Montgomery County Jail pepper-spray trial scheduled for March 22

Published: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 @ 9:56 AM
Updated: Wednesday, December 27, 2017 @ 2:33 PM

Her jury trial was scheduled for March 22.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office captain charged with misdemeanor assault for pepper-spraying an inmate in a restraint chair had her trial scheduled for March 22.

Capt. Judith Sealey did not appear in court Wednesday afternoon, but defense attorney Anthony VanNoy and Cincinnati Prosecutor’s Office assistant Natalia Harris met with Dayton Municipal Court Judge Christopher Roberts before the pretrial hearing.

Sealey was a sergeant in November 2015 when video shows she sprayed inmate Amber Swink while Swink was in a seven-point harness.

RELATED: Former jail sergeant alleges cover-up of pepper-spray incident

The case is being handled by the Cincinnati Prosecutor’s Office because Dayton City Prosecutor Stephanie Cook — a member of a Montgomery County Jail oversight committee — said it would be seen as a potential conflict of interest for her office to try the case.

Sealey, who has filed for possible medical disability retirement, has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Montomery County Jail surveillance video obtained by a local attorney shows then Sgt. Judith Sealey pepper-spraying inmate Amber Swink, who is in a restraint chair.

RELATED: Jail captain in pepper-spray case pleads not guilty

VanNoy has said Sealey did not commit a crime. An internal review of the incident has not been made public and may be ongoing, according to sheriff’s office employees.

“We believe that Judy followed the training that was available to her at the time,” VanNoy said in August. “Although the video seems to depict a particular thing, we believe that Judy did not break the law in the context of a criminal matter.”

RELATED: Captain in pepper-spray case ‘did not break the law’

A grand jury earlier this year declined to indict Sealey on felony charges and findings of a federal probe into this incident and other jail issues have not been announced.

The pepper-spraying incident drew national and international coverage as a potential example of police brutality. A civil lawsuit brought by Swink was settled for $375,000.

SPECIAL PROJECT: Justice in the Jailhouse: Lawsuits, accusations plague region’s county jails

In an exclusive interview with the Dayton Daily News earlier this month, retired Sgt. Eric Banks said he and another sergeant brought the video to a local attorney and to the FBI because they feared a cover-up.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow Mark Gokavi on Twitter or Facebook

“The sheriff’s office is mad that a couple people crossed that coveted blue line and told the truth about what happened,” Banks told this news organization.

VanNoy said Sealey never asked anyone to destroy any evidence.

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Police pursuit starts in Preble County, ends in Middletown

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 12:31 PM


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A chase that started in Preble County this morning continued into Butler County before the driver was apprehended.

The pursuit started at 10:03 a.m. at South and Franklin streets in the village of Gratis and continued down Browns Runs Road, with Gratis Police Department and Preble County Sheriff’s Office tracking the vehicle. It lasted until the suspect was arrested near Ohio 4 and Corlee Lane in Middletown.

There’s no word yet on the driver’s name and age or why he sought to elude police.

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Pike County murders: 3 big questions, 2 years later

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 10:30 AM


            Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden and Hannah Gilley were killed and two childrens’ lives spared in their mobile home on Union Hill Rd. in 2016. Two years after the murder of eight Rhoden family members in rural Pike County, the crime remains unsolved. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
Clarence “Frankie” Rhoden and Hannah Gilley were killed and two childrens’ lives spared in their mobile home on Union Hill Rd. in 2016. Two years after the murder of eight Rhoden family members in rural Pike County, the crime remains unsolved. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

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.

» Who are the Wagners? Pike County murders investigators want to know

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.

» Pike County murders: ‘There will always be a scar on this town’

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.

» Pike County murder victims: A closer look at the 8 who died

“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.”

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Dayton woman loses 2nd Chihuahua to neighbor’s dogs 

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 12:56 AM

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.

>> Victims ID’d in double fatal shooting outside Dayton nightclub

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.

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

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SUV hits buggy: Woman killed, husband, 2 infants critical; driver jailed in Shelby Co.

Published: Friday, April 20, 2018 @ 9:11 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 4:00 PM

Crash

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.

Steven Eugene Hunter(SHELBY COUNTY JAIL)

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.

(JIM NOELKER / STAFF)

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.

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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.

>> E. coli outbreak: CDC warns to ‘avoid all types of romaine lettuce’

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.

FIRST REPORT

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.

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

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