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The Ohio Supreme Court has set a hearing for July 12, when Justices will hear arguments for and against upholding the death sentence for an Akron man convicted in a double-murder. 34-year-old Dawud Spaulding of Buchtel Avenue was convicted and sentenced to die for the murders of his ex-girlfriend, 28-year-old Erica Singleton and her new boyfriend, 31-year-old Ernest Thomas. In February 2013, Spaulding saw his execution date tentatively set for March 3, 2014...pending appeals. He shot Patrick Griffin on December 15, 2011, leaving him permanently paralyzed. Later that day, he returned to the scene where he shot and killed Singleton and Griffin's uncle. Spaulding's trial was the first capital murder case to be heard in Summit County Domestic Violence Court.
A group that was planning to place a medical marijuana issue on the November ballot have done an about-face, now that the State Legislature passed House Bill 523 this week. Ohioans for Medical Marijuana announced on Saturday that the ballot campaign has been suspended, citing the likelihood that Governor Kasich will sign the legislative measure into law that will eventually allow medical marijuana to become legal in the state. The group mounted the ballot effort after last year's push for legalization of pot for both personal and medicinal use. That proposal was defeated in all 88 Ohio counties, though most voters who were surveyed said they would support medicinal use.
The suspect in a pair of home-invasion crimes in Stark County has been arrested. Agents from the US Marshals Service Violent Fugitive Task Force located the suspect shortly before 12:30 Saturday morning, arresting 34-year-old Dimitrius Laury of Massillon in the 2200 block of Winfield Way NE in Canton. He was wanted on warrants for attempted rape and aggravated burglary. Authorities accuse Laury of breaking into the home of an elderly woman in Jackson Township early Monday morning and trying to rape the victim. He's also the suspect in a May 21 break-in at another home on Oxford Avenue NW. Laury is in Stark County Jail under a 500-Thousand dollar bond.
A head-on crash between a motorcycle and a car claimed the life of a Medina man on Friday afternoon. The State Highway Patrol says 22-year-old Michael Funk was riding north on State Route 252 near Abbeyville Road in Liverpool Township when he tried to pass another motorcycle – then rode into the path of the oncoming car. Funk was ejected and died on the scene, despite the fact he wore a helmet. A 63-year-old Valley City man driving the car and his 61-year-old passenger were both taken to a hospital in Brunswick after the 3:00PM crash. Both of them are expected to recover.
LeBron James scored 33 points, Kevin Love had 20 points and 12 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers secured their second straight trip to the NBA Finals by beating the Toronto Raptors 113-87 in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night.
It's the third finals appearance in team history for the Cavaliers. Cleveland lost to Golden State in six games last year and got swept by San Antonio in 2007.
For James, it's his sixth straight trip to the finals, including four with Miami. He finished with 11 rebounds and six assists.
Kyrie Irving had 30 points and J.R. Smith had 15 for the Cavaliers, who will face the winner of the Golden State-Oklahoma City series on June 2.
Authorities in Pike County have filed death certificates for the victims of the Rhoden family massacre that happened in April, revealing that seven of the eight victims had been shot in the head – and most of them suffered multiple head wounds. The Pike County Coroner's office says that 40-year-old Christopher Rhoden Sr was the only victim who took bullet wounds to other parts of his body – including the head, torso and extremities. No one's been arrested and a motive or suspect remains to be determined for the slayings that happened in four separate locations near Piketon.
It's the third time and counting for a life-saving action on the part of a Medina County police officer. The State Highway Patrol says troopers encountered an unconscious woman along I-71 on Thursday and determined that she had overdosed on drugs. The 25-year-old Wooster woman wasn't breathing when Montville Township Police Officer Ryan Gibbons rolled-up in his cruiser and grabbed a Narcan kit, treating the victim on the scene while helping the trooper perform CPR. A second dose of the antidote was needed to revive the woman before an EMS unit arrived to take her to the hospital. The incident marks the third time in less than a year that Officer Gibbons has had to administer the Narcan dose to save the life of an OD victim.
The search continues for the man who assaulted an elderly woman during a home-invasion in Jackson Township. Police say Dimitrius Laury of Massillon is wanted on warrants for attempted rape and aggravated burglary. He allegedly broke into the victim's home and attacked her around 2:00AM last Monday. He's also a suspect in another break-in that happened last Saturday on Oxford Avenue NW, where police say he had a knife but ran out of the house when someone inside confronted him. Police are looking for tips from the public leading to an arrest. Call 330-832-1553.
Licking County authorities have charged a Newark woman with setting fire to her home several times, including an incident that trapped her and her children inside, in a failed effort to frame her estranged husband for the crimes. 39-year-old Amy Wilson currently faces one aggravated arson charge, but more are expected once a Grand Jury completes a review of her case. Wilson allegedly started a fire in the downstairs bathroom of her home on North 31st Street on February 12. She and her three kids had to be rescued from the upstairs of the house by police before fire crews arrived. All four required hospital treatment for smoke inhalation. That was the third suspicious fire at the house and authorities had initially targeted the husband in the investigation. Wilson finally admitted to police this week that she had bought disposable phones, then sent bogus text messages made to appear that the man was threatening her. She's in jail under a 100-Thousand dollar bond.
A North Carolina police department has had second thoughts about sending officers to wade-through security detail at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. The city of Greensboro has rescinded the pledge it made in October to send 50 officers to Cleveland, with officials saying the lakefront city isn't prepared to handle the huge event and the Thousands of protestors it's expected to draw. Greensboro officials say Cleveland hasn't agreed to offer workers' compensation coverage for the out-of-town officers and wanted to require physical exams that insurance will not cover. Greensboro Police Department is already short on manpower with 30 vacant patrol jobs.
This guy has apparently given authorities plenty of evidence on which to get a conviction, thanks to the fact he wore a GoPro camera while allegedly leading officers on a chase. When an Alliance Police officer noticed the fictitious plates on the back of a motorcycle, he tried to stop 19-year-old Tyler Dragan of Louisville – who turned to acknowledge the cop in pursuit before gunning the gas and hitting speeds well over 100 miles an hour. During his run from the law, police say Dragan almost hit a tree and a house and the chase was called-off for safety reasons. Stark County Sheriff deputies later paid a visit to Dragan's home to find the bike with the license plate removed. After first denying any wrongdoing, Dragan admitted he fled because the plate was invalid and he didn't have a Motorcycle Endorsement. The GoPro camera he wore during the chase, the motorcycle and other items were confiscated as deputies arrested Dragan on list of charges.
The state of Ohio may turn-over some grant money to local school districts to address issues involving elevated lead levels in drinking water. A grant program with that intent was included in legislation that was approved by state lawmakers on Wednesday and awaiting the Governor's signature. It would provide 12-Million dollars for schools to tap into for replacement of lead-contaminated plumbing fixtures that put school drinking water supplies at risk. The grants would cover up to 15-Thousand dollars in material costs per building, with the funding controlled by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission and the Ohio Water Development Authority.
The state of Ohio is thumbing its nose at the Obama administration's orders regarding transgender bathrooms and locker rooms in public schools. State Attorney General Mike DeWine said this week that Ohio has no intention of complying with Obama's order...although he stopped short of joining 11 other states in a lawsuit against the administration over the matter. DeWine says he has sent a letter to the Justice Department, however, warning that the state will take action to defend itself if more Federal action is taken without first being approved by Congress.
Three people who allegedly ripped-off televisions from an area store tried to outrun responding officers in Alliance, but instead crashed the stolen pickup that was used as the get-away vehicle. Police say officers were called to a Wal-Mart store in the 2700 block of West State Street early Thursday morning, where the accused thieves pushed carts filled with five TV's through an emergency exit and drove-off at a high rate of speed. Police chased the vehicle until it crashed and rolled-over near State Route 43 in Marlboro Township. Two men and a woman inside the cab were taken to the hospital for treatment of their injuries, then jailed on felony theft charges and other counts.
Some alarming news coming out of Cuyahoga County regarding the rate of drug-related deaths. The Medical Examiner's office reports that the month of March saw a record number of people die from heroin and fentanyl use – with 34 fatalities reported for the month. Officials say the county is on pace for a record number of such deaths for the year, as well. The Medical Examiner says if the trend continues at the current pace, the county could see more than 450 deaths related to heroin and fentanyl for the year.
A Stark County Court jury didn't spend much time deliberating the case of 38-year-old Dragan Sekulic before coming back with a guilty verdict in the murder of his ex-wife last winter outside the Canton Township nursing home where she worked. Before Thursday's closing arguments in the trial, the prosecution and defendant sparred in a number of heated exchanges during cross-examination, with Sekluic the only witness called by the defense. He told the court that he planned to kill himself in front of his wife, Zeljka. Instead, he turned the gun on her and shot her several times on December 9. The murder happened after the victim had secured a protection order against the accused after he allegedly ran the woman's car off the side of the road and caused it to flip on November 24. The jury deliberated a short time on Thursday before returning to the courthouse Friday morning and coming back with the guilty verdict before the Noon hour. Immediately after the verdict, the judge ordered Sekulic to spend the rest of his life in prison without parole plus 14 years.
Flames destroyed a home in northern Mahoning County early Friday morning. Firefighters went to the house in the 10-Thousand block of Robinson Road near Newton Falls around 4:30AM, where fire broke-out in a garage and spread quickly into the living area, bringing crews from several other departments to the scene in an effort to knock-down the blaze. The scene is just south of the border between Mahoning and Trumbull Counties and the State Fire Marshal's office was called to investigate the cause. No one was home at the time of the fire and damage estimates were not immediately available.
A school teacher in Norton has been suspended from her job, pending the outcome of child-abuse charges that have been filed against her. Channel 3 reports that 37-year-old Seneca Lehman was arrested on May 18. The Third-Grade teacher in the Norton School system is accused of abusing her own daughter, allegedly grabbing her by the hair and throwing her to the ground. The report says that Lehman had been arrested at least once before on similar charges within the past year.
A Columbiana County Grand Jury has indicted a woman on 35 counts involving voter fraud, saying she falsely registered more than 30 people – including five who are dead. 33-year-old Rebecca Hammonds of East Liverpool was charged after election officials found the dead people's names among new registrations. Hammonds faces 32 counts of false voter registration and three counts of false signatures. Investigators say she has already been fired from her post with an activist group that assisted with voter registrations last year.
Flames broke-out and began to spread in a Jackson Township restaurant on Thursday night, bringing fire crews to the scene and forcing staff and customers to evacuate. The call came-in around 7:20PM from Palombo's Italian Restaurant in the 4100 block of Portage Street NW, where authorities say the fire originated in a wall near the kitchen and bar area, then began spreading to the roof. The incident was quickly brought under control, although crews had to cut holes in the wall and parts of the roof to address the problem. No injuries were reported and the restaurant remained closed until the investigation is completed and repairs can be made. No damage estimate was provided.