Springfield teens search for dad's killer

Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 @ 4:11 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 @ 4:11 PM

SPRINGFIELD - Two teenagers are determined to find out who killed their father 13 years ago. They recently reached out to News Center 7 in a letter asking us to
look into this Clark County cold case. 

The body of Chad Mullenix, 23, was found by a neighbor in his apartment at the Ashton Meadows complex on January 23, 2003. He was laying on his back in the kitchen
with a gunshot wound to the head. 

Chad's children were only babies when he was shot to death but now Kiersten Mullenix, 17 and her brother Phillip, 16, are on the hunt for his killer.

"I just want to know why and who? I could be seeing the guy everyday, or her," said Kiersten. "I just want to know why and why...why my dad?"

Kiersten, who is graduating from high school in May, is planning to go to college and major in criminal justice. 

"I want to be a detective. I want to help people get justice that I haven't gotten," said Kiersten. 

Phillip is interested in cars and his mother, Heather Moore, said he looks a lot like his father. 

"They've always known about their dad," said Moore. "I've always kept the memory alive." 

Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said the Mullenix murder is on his list of cold cases. Detectives just need that additional piece of evidence to bring this case to a conclusion. 

"We believe that we've had a viable suspect and we believe that the person who took his life, who committed this homicide, still lives in this area," said Sheriff Kelly.

Detectives said Mullenix, who suffered from Cerebral Palsy, was taking prescribed painkillers. They also know that he had been a victim of arson when a girlfriend set his van on fire.
They also know that he was alive on Jan. 21 when he was captured by a bank camera getting money out of his account.

However, robbery does not appear to be the motive because nothing was missing from Chad's apartment and he has $500 in his pocket at the time of the murder.

"Chad left behind two children and in his memory, we would like to solve this crime," said Kelly.

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Dayton’s newest brewery will open next week. Here’s why it’s different from the rest.

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 8:10 AM

Branch & Bone Artisan Ales to host grand opening on Wayne Avenue in Dayton’s South Park.

The Dayton area’s newest craft brewery, Branch & Bone Artisan Ales, has set its grand opening to unveil its own tasting room, but will also offer local beer enthusiasts a peek at a few of their inaugural brews at a downtown Dayton beer pub this Friday.

>> PHOTOS: A sneak peek inside the new Branch & Bone brewery

Branch & Bone’s grand opening will be held from noon to 10 p.m. June 2 at the brewery and tap room at 905 Wayne Ave. in Dayton’s South Park neighborhood. But this Friday, May 25, from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., The Barrel House beer pub at 417 E. Third St. in downtown Dayton will host a “Branch & Bone Sneak Peek” at which three of Branch & Bone’s beers will be tapped to help introduce local beer enthusiasts to Dayton’s newest brewery.

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The new brewery is the brainchild of founders John Joyce, Brett Smith and Kevin Kriegel, long-time local brewing enthusiasts whose love for Belgian-style brewing methods promises to make Branch & Bone’s brews a bit different than the beers of other Dayton-area craft breweries.

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“We are passionate about funky, sour, farmhouse-inspired beers, and not a lot of other people do that,” Joyce told this news outlet during a tour of the new brewery on Wednesday. The new brewery will not have a “core lineup” of beers as other local craft breweries do, but will brew a range of ales “that will encourage exploration,” its founders say.

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“Beers that people like, we’ll brew more than once, but our list will always rotate,” Joyce said.

The tap room will hold about 55. The brewery does not have a kitchen, but the nearby Pizza Factory delivers, and other carry-in food is welcomed, Joyce said. Food trucks will be on-site on busy nights. Long-term plans call for adding a patio and additional parking.

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Branch & Bone’s tasting room has a 12-tap system expandable to 16. Plans call for serving only Branch & Bone’s beers from those taps.

“In our minds, the tap room is an extension of our brewery,” Joyce said. “Serving other people’s beers wouldn’t really fit.”

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Among the opening-day lineup will be an IPA dubbed “Here Is The Thing” that is massively dry-hopped with Simcoe and El Dorado hops, and a Berliner Weisse brewed with ginger, lime and butterfly pea blossoms, the brewery co-founder said.

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“We will eventually explore meads and ciders that we would produce,” Joyce said.

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The Wayne Avenue space previously housed P&D Body Shop. Joyce said much of the renovation was completed by the founders.

“This neighborhood intrigued us a lot,” Joyce said. “It’s an eclectic group of people. This neighborhood is improving, and we want to be a part of that improvement.”

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After the June 2 grand opening, hours will be Wednesday and Thursday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday noon to 10 p.m., and Sunday noon to 8 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday.

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Fight to lead Ohio House leads to accusations of threats, bullying

Published: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 7:14 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 @ 7:14 PM

Ryan Smith and Larry Householder
Ryan Smith and Larry Householder

The battle to pick an interim speaker of the Ohio House took a bizarre turn Wednesday as accusations were made about threats, bullying and extortion.

State Rep. Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, who is vying to be speaker for the remainder of the two-year session and the next session starting in January, held an extraordinary press conference outside the House chamber accusing his opponent of intimidating staff and House members.

“There is no sugar coating this. There is no use in trying to walk around the issue. It is very much him,” Smith said of former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford.

Smith is battling for control of the Ohio House, which cannot vote on bills until a new speaker is picked

Householder said in a written statement: “It’s my understanding that Rep. Smith made a litany of unfounded allegations that are unequivocally false. I don’t believe wild accusations and name calling is a responsible course to resolving conflicts and only leads to greater divides.”

Householder and Smith are both seeking the speaker’s gavel in January 2019, after the November election seats new members. Smith and state Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, are vying to serve as speaker for the next seven months. Smith called Thompson a proxy for Householder.

By all accounts, it was a bad day for the Ohio House Republicans: their former leader Cliff Rosenberger had his home raided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, bills piled up into a logjam and all the sessions scheduled for this week got canceled.

The Ohio House cannot pass legislation until members pick a speaker to serve the remaining seven months of the two-year session. The chamber has been without a speaker since Rosenberger resigned a month ago amid an FBI investigation. Agents raided Rosenberger’s house in Clarksville and a storage area in Wilmington on Wednesday.

Related: FBI raids Rosenberger house, nearby storage building

Smith denies any wrong doing and says he has not been contacted by the FBI nor has he hired an attorney.

“Let me be very clear: I won’t make a deal today, tomorrow or ever with people who act like this. It’s despicable. I want nothing to do with it,” Smith said. “I came to Columbus with my integrity. I’m going to leave here with my integrity, whether I win or not.”

Related: The fast and furious fall of Cliff Rosenberger

Issues that impact large swaths of Ohioans are tied up in the legislative logjam: money for new voting machines, plans to revamp how child support orders are calculated, and sweeping reforms to payday lending practices.

Sources familiar with the FBI investigation say agents are looking at international trips Rosenberger took while House Bill 123, the payday lending reform bill, stalled on his watch. Payday lenders helped underwrite the cost of the trips, documents show.

Related: Big money and political muscle on display in payday lending clash

Related: Payday lender made 3 international trips with ex-Ohio House speaker

Smith said failure to pick a new speaker served the interests of the payday lending industry. “The best thing for them to happen is for us never to come back and then we can’t pass the bill,” he said.

Six major business groups, including the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio Manufacturers’ Association, issued a statement this week, urging lawmakers to pick a new speaker and get back to work.

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2 police officers fired amid accusations they beat, kicked black man in face

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 3:16 PM

A trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol talks to a driver at a DUI checkpoint December 15, 2006, in Miami. Two Mississippi police officers were fired earlier this month after they chased a man who turned around at a driver's license checkpoint and allegedly beat and kicked him during his arrest.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
A trooper with the Florida Highway Patrol talks to a driver at a DUI checkpoint December 15, 2006, in Miami. Two Mississippi police officers were fired earlier this month after they chased a man who turned around at a driver's license checkpoint and allegedly beat and kicked him during his arrest.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Two Mississippi police officers have been fired -- and could face criminal charges -- following an investigation into claims that they beat a black man, kicking him in the face several times, after he turned around from a police checkpoint earlier this month and led them on a high-speed chase. 

James Barnett, 36, of Laurel, told WDAM in Moselle that he was injured so badly he cannot currently work and will require surgery to his eye. His nose was also broken. 

Photos taken by the news station show Barnett’s face bruised and battered, his right eye bloodshot. Click here to see the photos. Warning: The images may be too graphic for some readers. 

Barnett said he was driving early the morning of May 16 when he came upon a driver’s license checkpoint being conducted by the Laurel Police Department. He said he turned around because he was driving without a license. 

Two of the officers at the checkpoint followed him.  

Barnett admitted to leading the officers on a high-speed chase for about 20 miles before stopping. 

“As I was getting out, they had their guns drawn on me, telling me to get out with my hands out and get on the ground,” Barnett told the news station. “So, I laid flat on the ground, face-down (and) they came up continuously kicking me in my face.”

Barnett said the officers, both of whom are white, stopped kicking him only when a Jasper County sheriff’s deputy arrived at the scene. He said the officers took him to a hospital, where they continued to taunt and harass him. 

At that point, four additional officers were there as well. All six stood around his bed, he said. 

“I (was) nervous because I’m thinking it’s going to be the end of my life in there,” Barnett said. “So, I played like I was asleep -- my eyes closed.”

Laurel police Capt. Tommy Cox, who held a brief news conference Monday with Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee, said supervisors realized quickly something about Barnett’s arrest was not right. 

“It became apparent to the supervisors on duty that there was a problem with the manner in which the arrest occurred,” Cox said at the news conference, streamed on Facebook by WDAM. “It has always been the policy of LPD that all use-of-force events are reviewed by several levels of supervisors and administration.”

An internal investigation began the morning of Barnett’s arrest and was completed the following day, Cox said. The findings of the investigation resulted in the firing of the two officers, whose names were not released. 

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is conducing an outside review of the case to determine if criminal charges are warranted, Cox said. Body camera and dashboard camera footage are being withheld until the investigation is complete. 

“The officers and administration of LPD take these kinds of allegations very seriously,” Cox said. “It should be noted that the internal investigation was initiated only hours after the incident, before any media attention, social media posts or even a formal complaint from the other individual involved.”

Barnett took to Facebook the day after his arrest, posting graphic photos of his injuries and demanding justice. He called the officers “low-life, sorry excuses for human beings” and said he was thankful God let him survive the beating. 

“I wouldn’t wish this on NOBODY,” Barnett wrote. “One even had the nerve to ask me, ‘How did those steel toes feel, boy,’ trying to get a rise out of me, but I just laid there and prayed.”

He wrote that he had never been so afraid in his life.

“I will not let this go. I don’t (want) this to happen to anyone else,” Barnett wrote

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Cox declined to say Monday if the department had received previous complaints about either officer. He also declined to speculate on why they decided to follow Barnett, whose name was not made public at the news conference, when he turned around at the checkpoint.  

Magee praised the department’s handling of the incident. 

“We have handled the situation as we do. It’s said that police can’t police themselves, but in certain instances, they can, and this is evidence of that,” the mayor said

Barnett pleaded guilty to resisting arrest in his first court appearance, WDAM reported. He is still scheduled to appear in court next month, at which time he said he plans to fight the charge. 

“I just want justice,” Barnett told the news station. “I want what’s right, done. They (did) me wrong, so something has to be done about that. 

“If you’re working for the law, do right by the law. Don’t uphold the law by trying to take the law into your own hands.”

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School shootings: Mental health symptoms parents can watch out for

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2018 @ 10:58 AM

Mourners visit a memorial in front of Santa Fe High School on May 22, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. The makeshift memorial honors the victims of last Friday’s shooting when 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis entered the school with a shotgun and a pistol and opened fire, killing 10 people. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Mourners visit a memorial in front of Santa Fe High School on May 22, 2018 in Santa Fe, Texas. The makeshift memorial honors the victims of last Friday’s shooting when 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis entered the school with a shotgun and a pistol and opened fire, killing 10 people. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

In the wake of recent school shootings, parents should take the time to monitor their children for warning signs of mental illness, a local doctor said.

Dr. Gregory Ramey, vice president for outpatient services and child psychologist at Dayton Children’s Hospital, told Miami Valley’s Morning News on AM 1290 and 95.7 WHIO in an interview today that mood disorders such as depression are on the rise for young people. According to some studies, suicide attempts have nearly doubled over the past 10 years.

“Something strange, something odd, something serious is going on with our young people. It’s a matter that gives all of us grave concern,” Ramey said.

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Ramey said parents should watch children for changes in mood or behavior. Someone who’s depressed might suddenly be more irritable and have changes in eating and sleeping. In clinical depression, the changes in mood will be present over several weeks, not just a few days. If parents notice depression symptoms in their children, they should have them evaluated by their family doctor.

Children and young adults sometimes struggle more than older people with maintaining a sense of perspective, Ramey said. That makes them consider suicide or harming other people.

“When they feel that emotional pain, they think that what they’re feeling today is the way that they’re going to feel forever,” he said. “And what all adults know for sure is whatever’s going on today is going to pass. Kids and young adults don’t have that sense of perspective.”

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If someone other than the child’s parents notice a change in behavior, the child might respond well if that person reaches out to them directly.

“Most kids are very, very receptive to a message of caring and concern as opposed to ‘you’re misbehaving’ or ‘you’re acting like a jerk.’ When framed in that way I find kids are very responsive,” Ramey said.

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