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Published: Thursday, November 09, 2017 @ 5:43 PM
— A Butler County man was sentenced on Thursday to 4 ½ years in prison for unlawful sexual conduct with a boy less than a quarter his age and illegal use of the boy “in nudity oriented material” in Warren County.
John Hopkins, 61, of West Chester Twp., was also classified a Tier II sex offender, required to register twice a year for the next 25 years.
Judge Robert Peeler sentenced Hopkins after rejecting his lawyer’s motion to set aside a plea bargain and set the case for trial in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
The judge said such crimes against children were often found to be key triggers leading to drug addiction or mental health problems.
“These are the kinds of acts that can scar a child for life,” Peeler said.
Lawyer Jeffrey Meadows motioned for a trial after the victim’s mother called for a maximum sentence, and submitted a bill for more than $1,000 for counseling fees, and a prosecutor, queried by the judge for a sentencing recommendation, called for 5 years in prison or “even more.”
Hopkins has been in jail since his arrest in March in the Lebanon Junior High School parking lot, where he was to meet the boy whom he came to know through an App called Grindr, where men seeking men contact each other.
Instead, he was arrested by a Lebanon detective who began communicating with Hopkins. The arrest happened after Hopkins and the boy had sex multiple times after Hopkins picked him up at his home, according to statements during the hearing.
Meadows urged Peeler to put Hopkins on probation, pointing out he had no record of sex offenses and a criminal record limited to three drunk-driving convictions. He also said the offense was less serious since the boy was willingly communicating with men seeking men and had been turned down twice by Hopkins after he realized the boy’s true age.
The boy’s mother urged Peeler to imprison Hopkins for as long as possible, discounted claims this was Hopkins’ first time engaging with sex with under-age boys.
“You were just caught this time,” said the mother who is not identified to protect the identity of the victim.
Assistant County Prosecutor Chris Delnicki charged Hopkins had preyed on the boy and called for at least 5 years of prison time.
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 6:43 PM
Updated: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 8:59 PM
URBANA TWP. — UPDATE @ 9:06 p.m: One person is in custody after a police standoff that occurred at a residence in Champaign County Sunday evening.
According to officials, they were called out to a residence near the 100 block of East Dallas Road for a complaint around 6 p.m. The suspect just happened to be in the area where police were called and ran when they arrived, prompting officials to chase after him.
A struggle with one of the deputies occurred after they caught up with the suspect, which resulted in the official being hit in the forehead, reportedly with handcuffs, causing injury.
With the officer down, the suspect then ran inside of the East Dallas Road address with handcuffs on, barricading himself.
Police were in a standoff outside the residence for over two hours, using a bullhorn to try and get the suspect to come outside. He eventually was brought out of the residence in handcuffs.
The deputy was taken to a local hospital. No word on his condition.
There were more than 20 cruisers and fire vehicles at the scene, which was blocked at U.S. 68.
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 12:31 PM
MIDDLETOWN — 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.
Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 1:41 PM
— 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.”
The tweet had been shared 65 times and liked more than 500 times, as of this story’s publication.
We didn't get invited to any parties so we went Uptown last night. Thanks to all those that tried to pass Fake IDs to officers last night. Maine tho 🤷🏻♂️? pic.twitter.com/Ms4jOWqX4U— Oxford Police Dept. (@OxfordOhioPD) April 21, 2018
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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Published: Sunday, April 22, 2018 @ 10:30 AM
PIKE COUNTY — 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.
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.
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.
“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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