Ohio News Briefs

Death of girl hurt as a baby may prompt more charges for dad

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities will consider whether an Ohio man imprisoned for assaulting his infant daughter in 2011 should now face more charges because the bedridden girl has died six years later.

The Dayton Daily News reports prosecutors had reserved the possibility of pursuing murder charges against Marcus Merrick, who is serving a 10-year sentence.

He pleaded no contest and was convicted of assault and child endangering. His attorney previously said in an appeal that Merrick was remorseful.

Authorities said his daughter, Joani Marie Merrick, was beaten and shaken as a 3-month-old, leaving her with little brain activity and being fed through a tube. She died July 30.

A spokesman says the Montgomery County prosecutor’s office will review the autopsy before deciding whether to pursue further charges against Joani’s 35-year-old father.

Teen mom of buried newborn to be arraigned in murder case

LEBANON, Ohio (AP) — An 18-year-old woman whose newborn infant’s remains were buried outside her southwest Ohio home is set to be arraigned on charges including aggravated murder.

Brooke Skylar Richardson’s Monday arraignment in Warren County comes days after her indictment in the May death. She’s also charged with involuntary manslaughter, child endangering, evidence tampering and corpse abuse.

The baby’s remains were found July 14 in Carlisle, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Cincinnati.

Richardson’s attorney has called the teen a “good person” but hasn’t commented specifically on the allegations.

Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell alleges that the baby was born alive about 38 to 40 weeks into the pregnancy and that Richardson “purposely caused” the death, then burned and buried the baby. Fornshell has said the cause of death hasn’t been determined.

Ohio crime lab seeks help to handle increased drug-testing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state crime lab that tests drugs for Ohio law enforcement agencies wants to get help from other labs to deal with increasing demand for testing amid the opioid epidemic.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the attorney general will ask the state Controlling Board this month for an extra $440,000 to have some testing done at crime labs near Cincinnati and Cleveland instead of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. The money might come from a criminal forfeiture fund and general revenues.

BCI anticipates doing over 27,000 drug tests this year, nearly twice as many as in 2010.

BCI Superintendent Tom Stickrath says drug tests have become more complex and time-consuming as technicians sometimes deal with more hazardous, potent substances, such as the powerful painkiller fentanyl and potent animal tranquilizer carfentanil.

Boy riding in vehicle is shot in head on Cleveland highway

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland police say a 4-year-old boy was shot in the head and wounded while riding in a vehicle when someone fired at it as his mother drove on a highway.

Police say the woman reported that she honked the horn to pass a vehicle blocking a roadway late Sunday night, and that vehicle followed her onto Interstate 90. She told police that two men were in the trailing vehicle, and someone fired shots toward her.

She said she exited the highway to call for help for the boy, who was in the backseat. He was taken to a children’s hospital for surgery.

WEWS-TV reports that police found a shell casing on the shoulder of the highway, along with shattered glass.

8-year-old discovers body of man killed in shooting

CLEVELAND (AP) — Police in Ohio are investigating the shooting death of a man whose body was discovered by an 8-year-old boy taking out the trash.

The boy’s mother, Dejenaba Lockett, tells Cleveland.com the boy found the body around 11:30 a.m. Sunday in the driveway of their Cleveland home. She says the body was not there when she went outside about two hours earlier, and she never heard any commotion.

Investigators say the man, whose name has not been released, died after being shot once in the chest. Detectives are investigating his death as a homicide.