Ohio News Briefs

Ohio funeral home owner pleads not guilty to more charges

TOLEDO (AP) — The owner of a northwest Ohio funeral home where bodies were found in a state of decay has pleaded not guilty to additional charges of corpse abuse.

Records show funeral director Robert Tate Jr. entered the pleas Tuesday in county court in Toledo. He is charged with nine counts of corpse abuse — four felonies and five misdemeanors.

In late May, authorities removed 11 bodies intended for cremation, including some that were stored in a garage at Tate Funeral Services in Toledo.

The funeral home has maintained it didn’t violate state law. Its attorney has said delays in cremation were because doctors delayed handing over death certificates.

The board that oversees Ohio funeral homes has suspended Tate’s license.

Patrol to meet with prosecutor on fatal Ohio van-train crash

HAMILTON (AP) — A State Highway Patrol official says troopers will meet soon with county prosecutors to discuss their investigation into possible charges for the driver of a van carrying children to vacation Bible school that crashed into the side of a freight train in southwest Ohio.

Patrol Lt. Clint Arnold tells the Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News that lab tests have been completed in the case in Butler County. A blood sample was taken from 63-year-old driver Judith Ashley, after the July 28 crash left a female passenger dead and Ashley and nine children injured.

Arnold didn’t disclose the lab results. Investigators have said Ashley told paramedics she took the prescription drugs Vicodin and Adderall before the evening crash.

The Patrol said crossing gates were down and warning lights activated.

Ohio leads country in insurance claims for copper theft

COLUMBUS (AP) — Ohio leads the country in the number of insurance claims for thefts of copper and other kinds of metals.

A report released Wednesday by the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows Ohio reported 4,438 insurance claims for metal theft from 2012 through 2014 from homes and businesses. Most involved thefts of copper.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Ohio reported far more claims than Pennsylvania, Texas, New Jersey, California and New York. Those states each reported more than 2,000 claims, but less than 3,000.

Nationally, claims peaked in 2012. But claims in Ohio are three times higher than they were in 2009. The newspaper reports that the reason for Ohio’s high claims rate isn’t clear.

Columbus reported the most claims tied to metal thefts among Ohio cities with more than 570.

Ohio man gets life in slayings of father, his 2 children

AKRON (AP) — A northeast Ohio man has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole in the fatal shooting of a father and his two teenage children during a home invasion on New Year’s Eve 2013.

Twenty-three-year-old Michael Hendon was sentenced this week in Akron after a jury convicted him last month of aggravated murder and other charges.

Hendon was found guilty in the slayings of 42-year-old John Kohler, 18-year-old stepdaughter Ashley Carpenter and 14-year-old son David Kohler-Carpenter at Kohler’s Barberton home. Kohler’s girlfriend was shot in the head but survived.

Authorities have said Hendon’s 32-year-old brother Eric fired the fatal shots. He faces the death penalty when his trial starts Oct. 13. Michael Hendon didn’t face the death penalty after being deemed mentally incompetent.

Legislative term-limit effort clears initial hurdle in Ohio

COLUMBUS (AP) — A ballot effort to cap at 12 years the combination of time a person could serve in the Ohio Legislature has cleared an initial hurdle.

Attorney General Mike DeWine has certified a petition for a proposed constitutional amendment dealing with legislative term limits.

Ohioans voted in 1992 to limit state representatives to four two-year terms and senators to two four-year terms. That doesn’t bar them from moving between the House and Senate once they have reached those limits or running again after a few years.

The proposal would prohibit people from holding more than 12 combined years of elected legislative office and keep them from holding the seat for more than eight years.

The state’s Ballot Board will next decide whether the proposal includes one or more issues.

Columbus man pleads guilty in fatal hit-and-run accident

COLUMBUS (AP) — A 37-year-old Columbus man has admitted to his role in a fatal 2014 hit-and-run accident that killed a 21-year-old man crossing the street.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Jason Powell pleaded guilty to failing to stop after an accident and obstructing official business.

Police say William Crockett was struck by Powell’s vehicle Nov. 1 as he was crossing Westerville Road in Columbus.

Crockett was pronounced dead soon after arriving at Mount Carmel St. Ann’s hospital.

Police say Powell fled the scene but was apprehended the following day after concerned citizens tipped off investigators to his car’s location.

Powell wasn’t charged in the death because Crockett wasn’t near a marked crosswalk when he was struck.

Powell faces a prison term of a little over 3 years at sentencing Oct. 1.

Ohio teen will be tried as an adult for May shooting death

COLUMBUS (AP) — An Ohio teen will be prosecuted as an adult in connection with the fatal shooting of a man during a robbery outside a Columbus apartment complex.

The Columbus Dispatch reports a Franklin County Juvenile Court judge ruled that prosecutors established probable cause that 16-year-old Lawson Harris was involved in the shooting death of 28-year-old James Johnson.

Testimony provided by 18-year-old Charles Scott, one of four adults charged, helped sway the judge’s decision.

Scott said he saw Harris shoot Johnson in the face with a semi-automatic rifle during the May 8 robbery on Shore Boulevard East.

Scott is expected to plead guilty to charges as part of a deal with prosecutors.

Harris’ attorney says Scott’s testimony “is not to be believed” due to the deal.

Police chief wants jail time for woman who assaulted officer

AKRON (AP) — A northeastern Ohio police chief is questioning a judge’s decision to let a woman who assaulted a police officer leave court with no jail time.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that 38-year-old Jashawn Fisk of Akron had pleaded guilty to felonious assault and was given two years of probation.

Summit County Common Pleas Judge Tammy O’Brien sentenced Fisk to a residential treatment program at a community correctional facility.

Akron Police Chief James Nice says he and the assaulted officer had wanted six months in jail for Fisk. Nice said he was “astounded.”

Nice says Fisk got out of her car, grabbed the officer, jumped on top of her and beat her face into the cement during the Dec. 1 incident.

Fisk’s attorney says the officer had been overly aggressive.

University of Akron secures funds for law school renovation

AKRON (AP) — The University of Akron has received the final piece in its funding puzzle for a $21 million project to renovate the C. Blake McDowell Law Center.

The Beatrice Knapp McDowell Family Foundation gave the law school $2 million and now it has the necessary funds to begin construction on the building in December.

Matthew Wilson, head of the UA School of Law, says they have been trying to secure funding for the project for about eight or nine years. He says the $21 million will be paid through state funds, money already saved by the university and private donations.

The project will be completed in two phases and construction is estimated to take 18 months. The building will be downsized in addition to cosmetic renovations.

Ohio college offers workshop on Pope Francis

CINCINNATI (AP) — Want to cram for the papal visit to the United States? A college in southwest Ohio is offering weekend workshops to help prepare.

Xavier University in Cincinnati says a full-day session this Saturday and a half-day session Sept. 19 will preview the Pope Francis visit that includes addresses to Congress and the United Nations. He’s expected to continue his messages on climate change and structural inequality.

The Jesuit Catholic college’s Institute for Spirituality and Social Justices invites the public to take part in workshops on key themes.

The full-day workshop is $25 and includes lunch; the half-day session is $10. Both are on the Xavier campus.