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 Prosecutors, PD revisit charges in Middletown mother shooting

Published: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 @ 10:11 AM
Updated: Tuesday, March 01, 2016 @ 2:01 PM

Man charged with murder in Middletown mom death
Man charged with murder in Middletown mom death

The investigation continues into the shooting death of a Middletown mother Brittany Russell, the woman found shot to death in her vehicle at a Dayton apartment complex on Feb. 10. Her 6-month-old daughter was in the car at the time of the shooting. Friday, a panel of Montgomery County prosecutors did not approve charges against Brandon Carr, 34, the man arrested earlier this week on suspicion of Russell’s murder.

Key facts in the investigation:

  • Victim: Brittany Russell, 29, found in car on Free Pike
  • No charges approved for man arrested, Brandon Carr, 34
  • Carr remains in custody on federal probation violation
  • The infant, Haven, has been reunited with her father
  • No weapon was recovered at the scene

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UPDATE @ 1:56 p.m. (March 1):

Prosecutors are once again meeting with Dayton police to discuss possible charges against Brandon Carr in connection to the shooting death of Brittany Russell.

Carr, 34, remains in the Montgomery County jail on a federal probation violation.

UPDATE @ 2:27 p.m. (Feb. 25):

Montgomery County prosecutors did not approve formal murder charges against Brandon Carr, 34. The case was referred back to Dayton detectives for further investigation and prosecutors may meet again next week with detectives to review the case again. Carr, however, will remain in the Montgomery County jail on a federal probation violation, stemming from a 2011 federal drug trafficking and firearms conviction, according to court and jail records.

UPDATE @ 6:05 p.m. (Feb. 24):

Chris Edwards had just returned to his Middletown home Wednesday when he began hearing and seeing reports that a man was in jail in the homicide of his child’s mother.

Brittany Russell, 29, died the morning of Feb. 10 in her car of multiple gunshot wounds to the head, with 6-month-old daughter Haven safely strapped in her car seat with the car and heater running.

“It’s a great thing because he won’t be able to do this to any other families; he is off the street,” Edwards said. “It is a relief, but nothing … will bring her back.”

Edwards said he has been racked with confusion and grief trying to decide what to do next, but Haven is flourishing.

“As soon as I got I her took her to the doctor and had her checked out … her hearing from the gun shots and stuff like that. But she is fine. Really great,” Edwards said, adding he hopes she does not remember the terrible last moments of her mother’s life.

“I think about it all the time, how long did she cry before she finally fell asleep. What did she do when the gun went off,” Edwards said. “I do know that someone was watching over her that night, that is for sure.”

UPDATE @ 4:21 p.m. (Feb. 24):

Dayton police took Brandon Carr, 34, into custody in the first block of South Halloway Street. He was interviewed at the Dayton Safety Building, where he was then arrested and booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of murder.

No official charges have been approved for Carr. However, Dayton police plan to meet with the prosecutor’s office Thursday morning, Sgt. Richard Blommel said.

Blommel said Carr was taken into custody without incident and through a collection of evidence and interviews investigators were able to identify him as a suspect.

UPDATE @ 9:56 a.m. (Feb. 18):

No additional charges have been approved for a man questioned in connection to the shooting death of Brittany Russell, but the investigation is still ongoing, according to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Curtis Burdette, 37, has been charged with an unrelated drug offense and was identified by a Cincinnati media outlet as a person of interest interviewed in the case; however, police have never officially identified him as a person of interest in Russell’s death.

UPDATE @ 11:54 a.m. (Feb. 16):

A man a Cincinnati media outlet says was arrested on unrelated drug charges after being questioned in connection to the shooting death of Brittany Russell appeared in Vandalia Municipal Court.

Curtis Burdette, 37, was arraigned on a single count of possesion of cocaine, a charge that stems from an offense in that court’s jurisdiction.

Burdette remains in the Montgomery County Jail on a $100,000 bond.


Dayton police have conducted “numerous interviews” as officers search for the person or people responsible for the Feb. 10 shooting death of Middletown’s Brittany Russell.

Russell, 29, was found with multiple gunshot wounds to the head in her car at 4115 Free Pike. Her 6-month-old daughter was found unharmed inside the running car with the heater operating.

>> EARLIER: Killer still on loose after mom found slain

Dayton police said that, on Friday, detectives interviewed a 37-year-old man in connection with the investigation. The man was found with illegal drugs in his possession, officers alleged. After the interview, the man was arrested and booked into the Montgomery County jail on felony drug charges.

A Fox 19 Cincinnati report said the man arrested after the interview was Curtis Burdette, who is 37 and is in jail on felony drug charges. A Dayton police spokeswoman Monday would neither confirm nor deny that Burdette was the man apprehended in connection with Russell’s death.

The report paraphrased Dayton police Sgt. Richard Blommel saying that more charges would be discussed with prosecutors on Tuesday, the same day Burdette is due in court on the drug charges.

Visitation for Russell will be from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Herr-Riggs Funeral Home, 210 S. Main St., Middletown, with services scheduled at 1 p.m. Interment will be at Woodhill Cemetery in Franklin. Friends and family members said Russell struggled with an addiction to heroin.

Burdette was found guilty of third-degree felony possession of heroin in Butler County Common Pleas Court in 2010 and sentenced to five years community control. Burdette violated his probation and was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison with 280 days of jail-time credit.

Burdette has been booked into area jails at least 11 times since 1999 on charges of criminal trespassing, theft, parole violations, domestic violence, assault and a drug trafficking charge for which he was not indicted in 2010.

Court records shows Burdette has a history of not appearing for hearings, use of illegal drugs and probation violations.

In March 2002 after serving 14 months of a two-year sentence for burglary, Burdette applied for judicial release. He wrote that he had grown mentally and spiritually, attended bible studies, was baptized, earned his G.E.D., completed drug and alcohol addiction programs and planned to study at Sinclair Community College and hold down a steady job.

“I am now realizing how important my life is to me and my goal is to keep all kinds of negativity out of my life now and forever,” Burdette wrote, adding that he could be a role model. “I do not want to see anyone follow my path of bad choices and end up in here or worse.”

Burdette’s motion for early release was denied.

For the latest updates on this story download the WHIO news app.

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HOT CAR WARNING: How quickly heat can kill your child or pet

Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2018 @ 11:37 AM
Updated: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 6:35 AM

Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini talks about how to keep your pet safe in the heat.

A Heat Advisory has been issued for the Miami Valley Monday from noon until 8 p.m.

Temperatures will be in the low 90s with heat index values reaching 100 degrees, according to Storm Center 7 Meteorologist Kirstie Zontini.

The heat index is a “feels like” temperature.

High heat, humidity and sunshine can allow your car to rapidly heat up. At 93 degrees, in about 15 minutes, the inside of your car can get to about 110 degrees.

>>Live Doppler 7 Radar: Storms possible today

>>RELATED: Atlanta dad went to prison for leaving son in hot car

Heat inside cars can be deadly to both pets and children within a matter of minutes. 

In 2016, Governor Kasich signed a law protecting good samaritans who need to smash a car window to rescue a child or pet in a hot car. 

A child dies in a hot car every 9 days according to, and organization aimed at raising awareness to prevent more tragedies. 

>>RELATED: Boy, 3, died in hot car in Moraine in 2016

Ways to help you prevent hot car incidents: 


  • Put something in the back seat so you have to open the back door when leaving the vehicle - cellphone, employee badge, handbag, left shoe, etc.  
  • Every time you park your vehicle open the back door to make sure no one has been left behind. "Look Before You Lock."  
  • Ask your childcare provider or babysitter to call you within 10 minutes if your child hasn't arrived on time.  
  • Keep a stuffed animal in your child's car seat and move it to the front seat to remind you when your baby is in the back seat.  
  • Focus on driving and avoid cellphone calls and any other distractions while driving. 

If you discover a pet or child trapped inside a hot car, call 9-1-1. If a child is in imminent danger, break a window.

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Woman trapped in vehicle for over an hour after Oakwood crash critically injured

Published: Friday, June 15, 2018 @ 1:33 AM
Updated: Saturday, June 16, 2018 @ 11:32 AM

Injury crash reported in Oakwood

UPDATE @4:40 a.m. 5/18/18 

Ra Shonda M. Fears, 46, of Dayton, remains in critical condition at Miami Valley Hospital.

>> Two injured after motorcycle goes airborne after crash with truck on U.S. 35

UPDATE @ 11:30 a.m. 5/17/18

Ra Shonda M. Fears, 46, of Dayton remains in critical condition at Miami Valley Hospital after a vehicle crash Friday morning left her trapped for over an hour in Oakwood.

UPDATE @ 4:45 p.m. 6/16/18 

The Dayton woman trapped in her car for more than an hour after she hit the center concrete island and overturned on Far Hills Avenue at Old River Trail is fighting for her life.

The driver, identified as 46-year-old Ra Shonda M. Fears by the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Dayton Post, remained in critical condition at Miami Valley Hospital.

The crash is under investigation and Fears has not been cited, troopers said.

UPDATE @ 5 a.m. 6/15/18

A woman was headed north on Far Hills Avenue when she hit the center concrete island early Friday and flipped her vehicle onto its top at Old River Trail in Oakwood.

She was trapped for almost an hour, and crews had to use a wrecker to life the car and free her.

The woman was in critical condition when she was taken to Miami Valley Hospital.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Dayton Post is investigating the single-vehicle crash reported around 1:15 a.m. Troopers said speed in this 35 mph zone may have played a factor.

The crash shut down Far Hills Avenue in both directions, but southbound lanes were opened at 3 a.m. and all lanes were open at 5 a.m.

UPDATE @ 3:01 a.m. 6/15/18

A woman was taken to Miami Valley Hospital with injuries considered life-threatening following a crash in Oakwood early Friday.

Troopers said speed appears to be a factor in the single-vehicle crash. It’s unknown if drugs or alcohol played a part.

>> TRENDING: 2 riders fall more than 30 feet when roller coaster derails at Daytona Beach Boardwalk

Southbound Far Hills Avenue is now open. Northbound lanes remain closed.

UPDATE @2:25 a.m. 6/15/18

A driver that was trapped for over an hour in an overturned vehicle has been extricated.

A wrecker had to lift the car so crews could free the driver, according to our crew on the scene. The driver was taken to a local hospital with unknown injuries.


Crews are working to extricate a woman trapped in a car following a crash in Oakwood.

The crash was reported around 1:15 a.m. in the area of Old River Trail and Far Hills Avenue. The car is upside down, and crews have been unable to make contact with the trapped female driver.

>> Dayton traffic from the WHIO traffic center

Far Hills Avenue is closed in both directions.

Got a tip? Call our monitored 24-hour line, 937-259-2237, or send it to

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Secret shopper scam leaves local man out almost $12,000

Published: Monday, June 18, 2018 @ 4:00 AM

If you've got some spare time, there's a new free iPhone app that will let you earn a couple bucks here and there by being a secret shopper.

While secret shoppers are a real job, a man was bilked out of almost $12,000 when he tried it using his West Chester Twp. bank account.

MORE: Suspected Kohl’s thief eludes police through woods and then on stolen bicycle

A 43-year-old Kentucky man signed up to be a secret shopper and was told to deposit checks in his account, keep a certain amount for himself and put the rest in another bank account, according to township spokeswoman Barb Wilson.

She said the man is now out $11,700. The incident was reported to West Chester police June 7.

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Motorcycle rider transported by medical helicopter after Middletown crash

Published: Sunday, June 17, 2018 @ 5:42 PM


A wreck in Middletown on Sunday afternoon sent a motorcyclist to the hospital via helicopter.

Officials were not immediately able to provide many details about the crash, which happened at Grand Avenue and Burton Road, according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol dispatcher. The patrol was assisting Middletown police at the scene.

MORE POPULAR STORIES: Police believe motorcyclist died in Warren County crash after racing vehicle

Officials believe it involved a collision with a vehicle, and the motorcyclist was not wearing a helmet, a dispatcher said.

The man was flown by CareFlight at 4:05 p.m. to Miami Valley Hospital. No information was available about his condition.

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