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Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 4:31 PM
COLUMBUS — Ohio Supreme Court justices poked holes on Tuesday in the arguments of the lawyer who wants them to spare the life of the second-youngest person on Ohio’s Death Row.
Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor and Justice Terrence O’Donnell were the primary questioners of Timothy McKenna, the lawyer arguing for the life of Austin Myers, 22, of Clayton. The justices also questioned Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell, who personally argued that Myers should be executed for the murder of Justin Back, 18, in January 2014.
McKenna argued for the high court to overturn Myers’ death sentence on a variety of grounds, including his youth — Myers was 18 at the time and the youngest facing the death penalty in Ohio — and the fact his co-defendant, Timothy Mosley, got life in prison without parole in exchange for his testimony against Myers.
O’Donnell pointed out criminal law allowed for Myers to get a harsher sentence although he had a co-defendant who actually committed the murder. Back was stabbed 21 times on the floor during a struggle on the kitchen floor of his home.
“When one does one part, the other does another, both are equally guilty. You know that law,” O’Donnell said during an hour of oral arguments.
O’Donnell pointed out it was Myers who led Mosley to Back’s home outside Waynesville, a point in line with the prosecution’s position.
“They were equally culpable,” McKenna countered. “They should have the same penalty.”
O’Connor pointed out the long history of defendants who cooperate with prosecutors getting lighter sentences.
“It happens all the time,” she said.
McKenna also accused investigators of reading Myers his Miranda rights “late in the game” and failing to provide him a lawyer during interrogation at the Clayton Police Department.
Justice Judith French pointed out Myers was told he was “free to go.”
“How much clearer do the officers need to be?” she asked.
Fornshell said Myers was read his rights and offered legal representation, and was not questioned by Clayton police about the case before the deputies arrived to interrogate Myers and Mosley in adjoining rooms at the Clayton Police Department.
When the deputies arrived, “he was sleeping in the back of a Clayton Police Department cruiser,” Fornshell said, since he was denied re-admittance to the Mosley home after initial questioning.
“Mr. Myers didn’t have a place to live,” Fornshell said, adding it was 15 degrees below zero on the night they were arrested after dumping the body in Preble County.
Fornshell listed cases in which the Ohio Supreme Court had affirmed death penalties for 18- and 19-year-olds and pointed out Myers was a year older than 18, the minimum age standard set for the death penalty in the state.
In response to questions from O’Donnell, Fornshell said there was no diagnosis of a mental condition and said defense lawyers intentionally decided against calling an expert to describe Myers’ mental condition.
“He could have called a mental health expert. He made the decision not to,” Fornshell said.
Fornshell also emphasized that Myers was the one who knew Back and knew that he had a safe at the home outside Waynesville.
In addition, Fornshell laid out a series of steps taken by Myers over two days leading to the killing.
“Austin was more culpable,” he said, urging the high court to “impose the sentence of death.”
McKenna pointed to a notebook produced right before the trial as evidence Mosley was more involved in the planning than prosecutors portrayed and claimed that Myers’ lawyers erred in not calling a mental health expert.
“That expert could have swayed one juror,” he said.
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.)
Published: Saturday, April 21, 2018 @ 3:31 AM
GREENE COUNTY — Two drivers were arrested on suspicion of impaired driving Friday night in patrols in the area of OVI checkpoints held in Beavercreek and Fairborn.
The sobriety checkpoints took place on Colonel Glenn Highway from 8 to 10 p.m. in Beavercreek and 10 p.m. to midnight in Fairborn, Lt. Matt Schmenk of the Ohio State Highway Patrol's Xenia Post said.
Five motorists were evaluated for impairment during the checkpoints but no arrests were made. Two OVI arrests were made during the checkpoints through extra patrols in the area for the checkpoint, Schmenk said.