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Hamilton man’s death penalty trial moves forward; no plea deal offered

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 7:00 AM
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 10:59 AM

Police are on the scene of a shooting in Hamilton on Central Avenue at Knightsbridge Drive.

UPDATE @ 10:30 a.m. April 16:

Jury selection has begun in the trial of Michael Grevious II, who is facing the death penalty if found guilty of aggravated murder for the retaliation shooting that followed a shoot out at the former Doubles Bar in Hamilton’s West Side.

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Before bringing just less than 100 potential jurors into the courtroom, Judge Greg Stephens put on the record that there had been no plea offer from prosecution offered to Grevious.

Grevious, 25, of Hamilton, is charged with felonious assault, having weapons under disability and aggravated murder.

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INITIAL REPORT, April 16:

A trial is scheduled to begin today for a Hamilton man who is the last of eight defendants charged in two deadly incidents in the summer of 2016.

Michael Grevious II, 25, is facing the death penalty if found guilty of aggravated murder for a retaliation shooting that followed a shoot out at the former Doubles Bar in Hamilton’s West Side. He is charged with felonious assault for that incident.

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The trial is scheduled to begin with jury selection in Butler County Common Pleas Judge Greg Stephen’s courtroom.

Michael Grevious II — charged in the 2016 drive-by shooting that killed two men in Hamilton — was in Butler County Common Pleas Court today, Nov. 3. His death penalty trial has been continued. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF(Staff Writer)

According to court records, Grevious was part of of the violence at Doubles, standing on a pool table inside the bar and opening fire, along with others.

In the end, Kalif Goens, who did not have a gun, was dead and his brother, Mondale Goens, was facing two felonious assault charges in the shooting of Katrina Price and Jariaus Gilbert.

Cornell McKennelly II shot and killed Kalif Goens, according to Butler County prosecutors.

During the same shootout, three other people shot and wounded members of the Gilbert family, according to court documents that said: Rodrick Curtis Jr. shot and wounded Tavaris Gilbert; Cory Cook II shot and wounded Orlando Gilbert, who was killed days later in the Central Avenue drive-by shooting.

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After the Doubles Bar shooting, Grevious recruited Zachary Harris to kill Orlando Gilbert for $5,000, according to prosecutors.

Harris and two ex-convicts, Tony Patete and Melinda Gibby, drove about 90 miles from Fairfield County, Ohio, to Butler County and spent several days driving around Hamilton in search of their target, investigators alleged.

Then on Aug. 3, a Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Gibby pulled up next to a black Ford Mustang occupied by Orlando Gilbert and Todd Berus. Patete, the front seat passenger of the truck, opened fire with an AK-47 multiple times, killing Gilbert and Berus, according to court documents.

At least one person was killed when shots rang out inside Doubles Bar on the west side of Hamilton. Police are still investigating.

Prosecutors said that Harris orchestrated the drive-by shooting from the backseat of the pickup truck.

In October, Harris pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder, just minutes before his two-week trial was scheduled to being and was given two life sentences.

In December Patete pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Gibby pleaded guilty to aggravated murder with an agreed to sentence of 30 years to life. She will not be formally sentenced until after Grevious’ trial, where she has agreed to testify.

The four other men involved in the gun violence at Doubles have already been sentenced to prison.

Cory Cook II, 23, of 9th Street in Hamilton, pleaded guilty to attempted felonious assault. He was sentenced to four years in prison.

Rodrick Curtis Jr., 20, of North 7th Street, accepted a plea deal to aggravated assault. He was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison.

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Mondale Goens, 21, of Maple Ave., pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. He was sentenced to 4 1/2 years in prison.

Cornell McKennelly II , 38, of Franklin Street in Hamilton, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter with a gun specification and having weapons under disability for shooting and was sentenced to 17 years in prison.

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Champaign County standoff: Deputy injured, Dallas Road blocked as U.S. 68

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 6:43 PM
Updated: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 7:25 PM

Officer hurt vid

UPDATE @ 7:25 p.m.

A Champaign County Sheriff’s deputy was taken to a local hospital after he was injured this evening in an incident that sparked a standoff.

There were more than 20 cruisers and fire vehicles at the scene in the 100 block of East Dallas Road, which was blocked at U.S. 68.

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Deputies were using a bullhorn to try to get a suspect to come outside he had barricaded himself inside.

We are working to find out what led to the incident.

FIRST REPORT

A deputy is reportedly injured after an incident that led to a standoff in Champaign County.

The police activity is centered in the 100 block of East Dallas Road.

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U.S. 68 is closed at East Dallas Road.

A passerby said the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol and local fire departments are on scene.

We have a crew on the way and will update this developing story.

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

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Police: Driver apprehended after pursuit ‘didn’t want to deal’ with speeding violation and drove off

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


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UPDATED AT 4:26 p.m.

A Butler County man pulled over by police for a speeding violation this morning in Preble County’s village of Gratis allegedly couldn’t be bothered with staying still to receive a ticket.

“He pulled over briefly and told the officer that he didn’t want to deal with it and drove off,” Gratis Police Chief Jeff King told this news organization.

King said the driver led police from three departments — Gratis Police Department, Preble County Sheriff’s Office and Butler County Sheriff’s Office — on a slow-speed pursuit that never exceeded 35 mph.

The nearly 13-mile pursuit ended in Madison Twp. when the driver reached his residence on Corlee Lane, King said.

Robert L. Petitjean II, 49, was charged with failure to comply with order or signal of a police officer, according to Gratis Police Department.

ORIGINAL REPORT: 12:31 p.m. Sunday

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 East South and East Franklin streets in the village of Gratis and continued down Browns Runs Road, with Gratis Police Department, Preble County Sheriff’s Office and Butler County Sheriff’s Office tracking the vehicle. It lasted until the suspect was arrested near Corlee Lane, just west of Ohio 4.

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

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Oxford police troll kids busted for handing cops fake IDs

Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 1:41 PM

Miami University. FILE
Miami University. FILE

Police near Miami University seized at least 16 reportedly fake IDs Friday night.

The Oxford Police Department posted an image on Twitter of the allegedly fraudulent IDs.

“We didn’t get invited to any parties so we went Uptown last night,” the department posted on Twitter. “Thanks to all those that tried to pass Fake IDs to officers last night.”

PHOTOS: See photos of $1.89M mansion built by Charles F. Kettering

REPORT: Pike County Murders: 8 deaths, 2 years, no answers

The tweet had been shared 65 times and liked more than 500 times, as of this story’s publication.

The IDs appear to be from all over the nation, including Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Vermont, Maryland, and Maine. At least one appears to be from Ohio.

Pictures and other details, like addresses and ID numbers, are visible in the photo, prompting some users on Twitter to call out the department.

“Nothing like promoting identity theft…” said one user.

“Wow, how crappy of you to take something that is probably embarrassing and make a joke out of it,” said another. “Funny how you don’t do that for all of your arrests. What makes you so mean today?”

It’s not clear how the department ensured there were no legitimate identity theft victims included in the array of photographs. Oxford police did not immediately respond to emailed questions from this news organization seeking that information.

Also unclear is whether any of the individuals were charged.

Police departments across the country have used Twitter and other social media as a humorous outreach tool to build relationships with the community. This news organization’s partners at WCPO-TV Cincinnati reported last month that Oxford Police have “noticed less hesitance from civilians” since the social media outreach began.

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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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