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Gag order in Carlisle buried baby case was ‘unusual,’ official says

Published: Friday, March 02, 2018 @ 1:51 PM

A state appeals court has lifted the gag order imposed in the case of a Carlisle teenage mother accused of killing her newborn last spring.

While there are no statistics on the number of times a trial court judge might opt to order the parties in a case not to make public comments or set other limitations, there are few instances from Butler or Warren counties that actually reach the state appellate court for a ruling.

In Ohio, judges may decide to issue a “gag order” to anyone associated with the case, such as the defendant, family members, lawyers and law enforcement, from making public comments so that it does not impede the defendant getting a fair trial or tainting the potential jury pool from the pre-trial publicity.

MORE: Appeals court lifts gag order in Carlisle buried baby case

Bennett Manning, administrator for the 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown, which oversees 52 trial courts in Butler, Warren, Preble, Clermont, Brown, Clinton, Fayette and Madison counties, believes other judges may have issued orders similar to the one issued last August by Warren County Common Pleas Judge Donald Oda II in the case of Brooke Sklyar Richardson, the Carlisle teen accused of burning and burying her newborn baby last May.

“This is the only one called a ‘gag order’ that I can remember that has got to the Court of Appeals,” said Manning, the court’s administrator since 1991. “It’s kind of unusual that one was put in place.”

On Monday, the 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown lifted Oda’s gag order in the case against Richardson.

MORE: Gag order opposed in Carlisle buried baby case; judge’s decision soon

The teen was indicted last year on charges of aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering.

Richardson has a hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. on Monday. A five-day jury trial has been scheduled to start on April 16 in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

Court said lesser alternatives were not sought

While the appellate court understood Oda’s concerns and believes he acted with his best intentions at heart, it also agreed with the appellant that Oda’s “sweeping conclusion” that a gag order is necessary in this case serves as nothing more than “an impermissible leap from his findings that the case has garnered media attention,” according to the opinion.

“To presume that there may be news coverage that threatens the administration of justice, whether that be against the state or the defendant, is nothing more than pure speculation,” the court opinion reads.

The appellate court also said there was little evidence indicating Oda fully considered any less restrictive alternatives than the gag order at issue, nor any evidence in the record to support Oda’s finding there was “no lesser restrictive alternative” available in this case, according to the opinion.

MORE: Prosecution opposes trial relocation in Carlisle dead baby case

The appellate court opinion said, “Nothing about this decision, however, should be considered an invitation for either the state or the defendant to try this case in the court of public opinion as opposed to the court of law, nor does this court’s decision bar Judge Oda from revisiting this issue in the future if justice so requires.”

Richardson remains free on a $50,000 bond and under court-ordered house arrest that was a condition of her release.

In a text message to this news outlet, Charles M. Rittgers, Richardson’s attorney said, “There is a lot we could say about the case but we understand Judge Oda’s concern about publicity. The Judge wants a fair trial for Skylar and we want to abide by his desire to limit pretrial publicity.”

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell declined to comment on the appellate court’s decision when contacted Thursday.

A phone message seeking comment from Oda was not returned.

This report contains previous reporting by Staff Writer Lauren Pack.

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Centerville High School student charged with sexual imposition

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 7:14 AM

            A 16-year-old Washington Twp. resident has been charged with sexual imposition as a result of an ongoing investigation by Centerville police.
A 16-year-old Washington Twp. resident has been charged with sexual imposition as a result of an ongoing investigation by Centerville police.

A 16-year-old Washington Twp. boy has been charged with sexual imposition as a result of an ongoing investigation by Centerville police after an alleged incident at Centerville High School.

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John Davis, community relations officer with the Centerville Police Department, confirmed the investigation began on May 5 after an incident on the grounds of the high school.

“The suspect and victim are both juveniles, therefore, the details that I can provide are very limited,” Davis said.

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The suspect is a Centerville student, and the matter is now juvenile court.

School officials say that allegations involving sex crimes are taken seriously, and the police were notified immediately.

“We cannot go into much detail since the student involved is a juvenile,” said Sarah Swan, community relations specialist for the school district. “There were school consequences for the student, and the police were notified.”

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We are working to learn more about the case and will update this story.

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Summer solstice 2018: What is the summer solstice and why is today the 'longest' one of the year?

Published: Monday, June 20, 2016 @ 9:02 AM
Updated: Monday, June 20, 2016 @ 9:09 AM

What You Need to Know: Summer Solstice

If you are looking to soak up some sun, today would be the day to do it. 

Thursday marks the summer solstice, and for those in the Northern hemisphere, you will see more daylight than on any other day of the year. 

>>Read more trending news 

What is the summer solstice and what does that have to do with the longest day of the year? Here’s a quick look at what it means.

What is it?

The solstice happens when the sun reaches the highest point in the sky relative to the equator, meaning the Northern Hemisphere is tilted fully toward the sun. In fact, the North Pole is tilted far enough toward the sun to where the Arctic Circle will see 24 hours of daylight.

The sun reaches its northernmost point on Earth during the summer solstice. Do you know where that is? 

The sun will reach its northernmost point when it hits 23 degrees 27 minutes north latitude – in the Tropic of Cancer.

When does it do that?

In 2018, the solstice falls on Thursday at 6:07 a.m. EDT.

Wait, isn’t it on the same day every year?

The summer solstice happens each year between June 20-22. 

Why isn’t it on the same day every year? 

Blame it on math. The fact that the date floats is due, in part, to the difference between the Gregorian calendar system, which normally has 365 days, and the tropical year (how long it takes Earth to orbit the Sun one time), which is about 365.242199 days, according to The Farmer’s Almanac. 

The Georgian calendar adds a leap day every four years to make up for the extra .242199. The leap day, along with other factors, moves the summer solstice backward and forward on the calendar by a couple of days.

Why is it the longest day of the year?

It’s known as the longest day of the year not because it’s any longer than any other day, but because in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the day that receives the most hours of daylight. It receives the most sunlight because the Earth is tilted toward the sun for the longest time during a day.

If it is the longest day of the year and it’s summertime, why isn’t it the hottest day of the year?

It’s not the hottest day of the year because the Earth releases the energy it absorbs at various rates – but it never releases it instantly. On Thursday, the Earth will receive the most energy from the sun, but will release that energy in late July or August, usually. This effect, according to Weather Works, is called seasonal temperature lag. 

Some thousands of people watch the sun rise while standing among the ancient stones at Stonehenge, to celebrate the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge in Salisbury, England, early Wednesday June 21, 2017. The prehistoric monument, Stonehenge is about 5000-years old and is thought to have been constructed to mark the movement of the sun and other heavenly objects according to Pagan rites. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)(Steve Parsons/AP)

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Break-in suspect with huge face tattoo arrested after Facebook post goes viral

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 6:23 AM

Viral Facebook Post Leads to Arrest of Break-In Suspect

An Ohio break-in suspect who goes by "Popeye" and sports a large, unusual face tattoo may be as recognizable as the sailor man himself.

According to WKRC, Anthony Ward was arrested on theft and breaking-and-entering charges Wednesday after the Adams County Sheriff's Office shared his photo on Facebook.

>> Man arrested after trying to pay waitress with her own stolen credit card, police say

"Be on the look out for aka (Popeye) Anthony Ward," the post began. "Subject has Felony warrants through Brown County and wanted for questioning on several B&E's [breaking and entering]. AIso Dottie Worthington is with this subject and are driving a Black Chevy Cruz."

>> See the Facebook post here


Posted by Adams County Sheriffs Office on Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The post quickly racked up 2,700 shares and more than 100 comments from bemused followers.

>> WATCH: Thieves steal kiddie pool from family's backyard on Father's Day

"Don't you have a better pic? This could be anybody," one commenter quipped.

"Now they need to put a 'be on the lookout' for a bad tattoo artist," wrote another.

>> Read more trending news 

Late Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office updated the post, saying Ward was in police custody. 

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The fastest woman alive just landed in Dayton

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 6:00 AM

Vicky Benzing will perform at the Vectren Dayton Air Show for the first time this weekend. KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF
Vicky Benzing will perform at the Vectren Dayton Air Show for the first time this weekend. KARA DRISCOLL/STAFF

The fastest woman in motor-sports just landed at the Dayton International Airport. 

Aerobatic pilot Vicky Benzing, who made Reno Air Race history in 2015 as the fastest woman ever on the course, will perform at the Vectren Dayton Air Show for the first time this weekend. 

“Welcome to my office,” Benzing said, pointing at her glittering purple Extra 300S aircraft. After a more than 12-hour flight from California to Dayton, she leaned against the plane and reflected on prepping for her debut performance in the Gem City. 

“It’s the birthplace of aviation,” she said. “It’s going to be a lively performance, and it really shows the airplane well. It certainly won’t be boring.” 

» WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Here’s how Dayton air show officials prepare for worst case scenarios

Dayton air show officials told this news organization that they were thrilled to add Benzing to the line-up of performers this year, which includes the F-22 Raptor, Sean D. Tucker and the Blue Angels. 

Benzing’s background is anything but boring. She has nearly 8,000 hours of flight time and has completed more than 1,200 parachute jumps. The California native started flying with her uncle when she was in college, and it’s been her passion ever since. 

“I was bitten,” she said. “If it’s in your blood, it’s just something you can’t leave alone for the rest of your life.” 

» TRENDING: Air show legend will fly final solo aerobatics at Dayton Air Show

After earning a PhD in Chemistry, Benzing spent years working in the tech industry in Silicon Valley. In 2006, she cut her hours down to part time. Then in 2012, she decided to “retire” altogether to focus on air shows and racing. 

“I wanted to do it while I was still young,” she said. “It’s physically demanding,” noting she has a regular regimen of weight training and other exercise to stay in top shape. 

She’s gearing up for even bigger goals in the next year. She’d like to beat her own time at the Reno Air Show. She also placed second at the Sport Class Gold race, and now she’s hungry for first. 

» PHOTOS: The Dayton Air Show through the years

“None of these guys want to be beaten by a girl,” Benzing said. 

When she first started flying, there were hardly any female voices she heard over the radio or other women pilots. Now she’s thrilled to see more women enrolling at the California Aeronautical University, the flight school that sponsors her performances. 

 “Really, it’s a great time to be alive as a woman,” Benzing said. “I want little girls to see me and know that girls can do anything guys can do. Train hard. Work harder. You can do anything.”  


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