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Juror’s letter leads Ohio Gov. Kasich to delay killer’s execution

Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 1:41 PM
Updated: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 1:41 PM


            Juror’s letter leads Ohio Gov. Kasich to delay killer’s execution
Juror’s letter leads Ohio Gov. Kasich to delay killer’s execution

Gov. John Kasich is delaying the execution of Raymond Tibbetts after receiving a letter from a juror on his case, saying he should be spared.

The governor moved Tibbetts’ scheduled execution from Feb. 13 to Oct. 17 and asked the Ohio Parole Board to review the letter and consider the issue it raises. The parole board voted 11-1 in March 2017 to recommend against clemency for Tibbetts.

Tibbetts was convicted for the 1997 murders of his wife, Judith Sue Crawford, and the couple’s landlord, Fred Hicks. Crawford was beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed. Hicks died of stab wounds.

Juror Ross Geiger said in a four-page letter to Kasich on Jan. 30 that he has “deep concerns about the trial and the way it transpired.”

Geiger said defense attorneys did not present evidence of Tibbetts’ troubled childhood, drug abuse, prescription painkillers during the sentencing phase of the case. Geiger, of Loveland, said he only learned of the details recently while reading the clemency report.

“Governor, if we are going to have a legal process that can send criminals to death that includes a special phase for mitigation shouldn’t we get it right?” he told Kasich in the letter.

Related: Anger over effort to free convicted killer: ‘He beat my sons to death’

His application for clemency said that Tibbetts’ father was an abusive alcoholic and his mother was a drug addict and the couple had a violent relationship. Tibbetts bounced among abusive foster families, an orphanage and juvenile detention facilities.

Erin Barnhart, the federal public defender for Tibbetts, said in a written statement “Gov. Kasich acted in the interests of fairness and justice by recognizing new information provided by a juror from Mr. Tibbetts’ trial merits careful additional consideration.”

Barnhart noted that a single juror’s vote for life in prison would have made Tibbetts ineligible for a death sentence.

In November, Kasich issued a reprieve for Alva Campbell, Jr., moving his execution date to June 15, 2019 after Campbell’s November execution was halted because staff couldn’t find a suitable vein for the lethal injection process.

Related: New death date set for man whose execution was halted

The Ohio Constitution grants governor’s extraordinary power to grant clemency — pardons, paroles, commutations or reprieves. Fourteen inmates have been executed since Kasich took office in January 2011, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

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Maryland rain-soaked, flash floods wash out Ellicott City

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 6:55 PM

Flash flooding covers Rogers Avenue and Main Streets in Ellicott City, Md., Sunday, May 27, 2018. Flash flooding and water rescues are being reported in Maryland as heavy rain soaks much of the state. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Kenneth K. Lam/AP
Flash flooding covers Rogers Avenue and Main Streets in Ellicott City, Md., Sunday, May 27, 2018. Flash flooding and water rescues are being reported in Maryland as heavy rain soaks much of the state. (Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun via AP)(Kenneth K. Lam/AP)

Heavy rains soaking much of Maryland have led to flash flooding in parts of the state.

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Main Street in Ellicott City, which is just outside of Baltimore, was filled with rushing brown floodwater Sunday afternoon. 

A flash flood emergency was issued for Howard County at 4:40 p.m.

The city was still recovering from a devastating 2016 flood that left two people dead. 

Gov. Larry Hogan has issued a state of emergency and urged residents in flash flood warning areas to seek higher ground.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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‘No place for our kids to go’: Proposed Dayton group home denied

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 5:58 PM
Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 5:58 PM

Griffin Academy LLC wants to turn this former nursing home on Blackwood Avenue in East Dayton into a group home for teens in foster care. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
Griffin Academy LLC wants to turn this former nursing home on Blackwood Avenue in East Dayton into a group home for teens in foster care. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

A company says that Dayton is giving some teens in foster care no place to go after a zoning board denied its request to help establish a new “group home.”

Griffin Academy LLC says that the city’s zoning code does not explicitly define the type of group home for male teens it wants to open at 437 Black Ave. in east Dayton.

The facility would house up to 16 teens in foster care, providing housing, supervision, social services and educational services. 

City of Dayton staff and its zoning administrator say the proposed group home most closely fits the definition of a transitional housing facility, which is not permitted in that neighborhood.

RELATED: Dayton residents, board say ‘no’ to group home for teens

Griffin Academy’s appealed the zoning administrator’s determination that the proposed operation would be transitional housing.

Griffin Academy claims the group home is most like a residential facility, which is permitted in the district. The proposed site of the group home on Blackwood Avenue is a former nursing home that has been vacant for years.

But the Board of Zoning Appeals unanimously voted to uphold the zoning administrator’s refusal.

Griffin Academy did not provide clear and convincing evidence that the zoning administrator’s determination was incorrect and his interpretation seems reasonable, board members said.

City of Dayton staff said the scope of services, length of stay and foster youth clientele for the proposed facility most closely fits the definition of transitional housing.

MORE: Dayton’s $10M deal: Dayton Arcade must reopen by 2020

But Griffin Academy said transitional housing facilities, by the city’s own definition, are run by public or nonprofit agencies, and Griffin Academy is not that — it’s a private company.

Residential facilities, by the city’s definition, are for room and board and other services for developmentally disabled people in a family setting.

The Griffin Academy owners say they are considering taking legal action to try to move forward with opening the group home.

“You are zoning us out,” said Theresa Darr, the company’s owner. “Where are our children supposed to go if we can’t find a place for this in the code?”

“This is just devastating,” she said.

Greg Gantt, an attorney representing Griffin Academy, said other Ohio communities have faced litigation for fair housing law violations after attempting to zone group homes out of existence.

“I believe we fit residential, clearly and convincingly,” Gantt said.

Under the city’s zoning code, uses that are not specifically listed are prohibited, and only if the zoning administrator determines that a proposed use is substantially similar to a permitted use will it be allowed, said John Musto, city of Dayton senior attorney.

In March, some residents who live near the proposed site said a facility for at-risk teens would be a bad fit for the Wright-View neighborhood, which already struggles with crime, drugs and registered sex offenders.

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Customers forced to pay for cheese sue McDonald’s for $5 million, according to lawsuit

Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 6:12 PM

File photo.  (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Scott Olson/Getty Images
File photo. (Photo Illustration by Scott Olson/Getty Images)(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Two McDonald’s customers with a beef about cheese filed a federal lawsuit alleging the restaurant giant is engaged in deceptive and misleading business practices in its sale of the Quarter Pounder with cheese. 

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McDonald’s used to sell four items in the Quarter Pounder category, with or without cheese, with prices ranging from 30 to 90 cents more for cheese than without, then at some point it ended this practice in-store, according to the lawsuit.

"These products cannot be purchased either separately or as part of a value meal, without the customer being overcharged and being compelled to pay for unwanted and undelivered cheese," the lawsuit states, according to The Miami Herald. "McDonald's is being unjustly enriched by these practices, because it receives payment for cheese it does not deliver to its customers."

Cynthia Kissner of Broward County and Leonard Werner of Miami-Dade County filed the class-action lawsuit May 8 asking for $5 million, according to the Herald

The Quarter Pounder was trademarked in 1975 with the following ingredients; a frozen beef patty, sesame seed bun, tablespoon of diced fresh onion, mustard, ketchup and two Heinz pickle slices, according to USA Today.

McDonald’s currently lists the ingredients as; a quarter-pound beef patty, sesame seed bun, pasteurized process American cheese, ketchup, pickle slices and onion. 

The current menu only lists the Quarter Pounder with cheese, however customers have more sandwich options through the restaurant’s app, Andrew Lavin, the attorney who filed the suit, told the Herald

“So McDonald's is offering two specific products: one is a Quarter Pounder and one is a Quarter Pounder with Cheese,” Lavin said. But if you go into the restaurant that option is not available to you."

McDonald’s has 21 days to respond to the lawsuit. 

“We do not believe the claims in this lawsuit have legal merit,” the restaurant told USA Today. "The advertised Quarter Pounder burger comes with cheese. We try to accommodate our customers’ requests by allowing them to customize their orders, such as a Quarter Pounder with no cheese.”

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Arrest made at scene where multiple vehicles were hit by rocks on WB U.S. 35 in Dayton

Published: Saturday, May 26, 2018 @ 10:44 PM
Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 9:49 AM

Multiple vehicles hit by rocks on WB U.S. 35 in Dayton

Nearly 20 motorists pulled over Saturday night in Dayton after their vehicles were struck by rocks while they were traveling west on U.S. 35.

Dayton police arrested one male juvenile at the scene, who admitted throwing rocks according to a Dayton police report. The boy was taken to the Juvenile Justice Center, where he was booked on several counts of vandalism. He said he had an accomplice, another male juvenile, but it was not clear whether that youth was arrested as well.

Thomas Acco of Jefferson Twp. and his girlfriend had just dropped off their children and were headed home when a rock came through the front of the windshield.

“I was in shock that someone would play with someone’s life like this,” he said.

“Glass just flew everywhere. We had a little swerve contest with the car in front of us — their windshield got hit also. We just pulled to the side and it was like 15, 20 cars lined up to the side all with damage.”

Motorists line up along westbound U.S. 35 May 26, 2018, just before the South Smithville Road exit after their vehicles were struck by rocks.(JAMES BUECHELE / STAFF)

Dayton police Lt. Chris Malson said there are no suspects, but plenty of victims.

“We got a report of multiple cars, approximately 18 of them, that were hit with rocks as they were driving westbound on U.S. 35 near Woodman (Drive),” he said. “All the calls came within about five minutes of each other.

The Montgomery County Regional Dispatch Center said they received starting at 10 p.m. The last one received was at 10:29 p.m.

One of the victims was Susan Myers of Lima who was headed back home with her husband, riding in the front passenger seat.

“We heard a loud bang and looked up and saw the damage on the windshield,” she said. “We immediately pulled over and noticed that there were several cars ahead of us also pulled over with their hazard lights on.”

>> Troy bicyclist struck, killed identified

There are no reports of injuries, but Myers said they were shaken and now have to deal with broken glass inside the car and their insurance company.

Tony Gerardi of Xenia said he was driving home from visiting friends in Dayton when his car was struck.

“I hope police get them. I’m safe, thank God,” said Gerardi, “I don’t know why someone would do something like that.”

Earlier Saturday, around 4:45 p.m., another two motorists, one from Illinois and one from Dayton, reported their windshields were struck by rocks. At least one of the windshields shattered just when they went under a bridge. They told police the rocks appeared to come from the north side of the highway but were not able to see the culprits. Police officers found a pile of rocks laying on the side of the highway before the South Smithville Road exit, according to a Dayton police report.

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