State auditor wants photos added to food-stamp cards in Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s auditor and two Republican legislators want to add photo identification to food-stamp cards in the state as a way of helping prevent fraud.
State Auditor Dave Yost and the legislators announced the legislation Wednesday.
Yost has said an audit last year of Ohio’s $2.5 billion program, found weaknesses that allow for potential fraud. The Republican auditor says the photos would help avoid trafficking in food-stamp cards.
State Rep. Tim Schaffer introduced the legislation in the House on Wednesday. State Sen. Matt Huffman is to carry it in the Senate.
Yost says Ohio’s food-stamp error rate, which includes administrative errors and fraud, is nearly 5 percent.
Lisa Hamlet-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, says the legislation is unnecessary and could intimidate people needing the benefits.
Natural gas company files lawsuit to build pipeline
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A gas company has filed a lawsuit in order to complete a pipeline that cuts through privately owned land in Ohio.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Rover Pipeline filed an eminent domain suit on Friday after a year of negotiating with landowners for access to their land. Many landowners have not agreed with the company’s contracts which delayed the project.
Lawrence Piergallini, an attorney representing some of the landowners, said that a judge would probably grant Rover’s request because the project has already been cleared by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
The proposed 713-mile-long pipeline will cross through 18 counties in Ohio to connect with lines in Michigan, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Company officials say the pipeline will begin in Washington County and end in Defiance County.
Pair of bald eagles attempt to nest at national park in Ohio
BRECKSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A pair of bald eagles is attempting to nest at a national park in northeast Ohio.
Officials at Cuyahoga Valley National Park say the eagles are tending a nest in the Pinery Narrows section of the park, so the area around that tree will be closed through July.
Eagles lay their eggs in late winter. Adult eagles must remain on the nests constantly because the eggs are extremely sensitive to cold temperatures, and human disturbance can jeopardize nesting success.
Federal laws prohibit taking, killing, selling, or otherwise harming eagles, their nests or their eggs.
Bald eagles returned to the area in 2006 after an absence of 70 years. They have nested in the Pinery Narrows every year since then. There have been 12 fledglings since 2007.
Teen accused of starting church fire enters insanity plea
HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — The attorney for a 16-year-old boy charged in a fire that extensively damaged a southwestern Ohio church has entered a denial of the charges and an insanity plea for the teenager.
The boy is charged in Butler County Juvenile Court with aggravated arson, breaking and entering and theft for allegedly starting the Jan. 22 fire at Tytus Avenue First Church of God in Middletown. The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports a judge on Wednesday ordered an evaluation to determine the teen’s competency to stand trial and his mental state at the time of the alleged crimes.
Fire officials said the blaze damaged a large portion of the church, with damages estimated at around $450,000.
No injuries to people were reported, but police say a 40-year-old box turtle died inside church offices.
County seeks DOJ review of Ohio jail amid civil rights cases
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — Commissioners in the Ohio county that includes Dayton are asking the U.S. Department of Justice for a civil rights investigation of the county jail following allegations of inmates being mistreated.
The Montgomery County Board of Commissioners says that seven civil cases are pending over alleged misconduct or civil rights violations, and that the sheriff declined to work with the board on a plan to address concerns.
Sheriff Phil Plummer vigorously defended jail employees on Wednesday. He says they do an excellent job of managing a “difficult population” that includes murderers, rapists and other criminals.
The board’s president says commissioners can’t comment on pending cases but feel more action is warranted to address the concerns. The commissioners say a federal investigation is needed to determine whether corrective action is necessary.
Man dies after shooting by deputy called to Ohio home
GENEVA, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a 26-year-old man has died after being shot by a sheriff’s deputy responding to a disturbance at a northeast Ohio home.
Ashtabula County Sheriff William Johnson said the deputy was called to the home near Geneva on Wednesday afternoon. Johnson’s office didn’t immediately release further details about what happened but said it expected to share more information on Thursday.
The shooting and the circumstances that led to it are under investigation by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office in Cleveland says the wounded Geneva man was ultimately taken to a Cleveland hospital, where he died later Wednesday.
The deputy wasn’t hurt.
Ohio dad convicted of murder in beating of 3-year-old girl
CANTON, Ohio (AP) — A northeast Ohio man charged in the beating death of his 3-year-old daughter has been convicted of murder and sentenced to 23 years to life in prison.
The Repository in Canton reports that a jury also convicted Mathew Miku of child endangering. The 23-year-old Canton man was sentenced Wednesday after offering a brief apology in court.
He was charged after the March 2016 death of his daughter, Hailey, whose autopsy showed bruises and cuts all over her body.
The Stark County judge who sentenced Miku concluded that testimony showed a pattern of abuse against his daughter.
His girlfriend, who wasn’t the girl’s mother, is accused of failing to intervene. She pleaded guilty to child endangering and testified against Miku under the plea deal.
Sheriff: Brother, 18, charged with raping his half-siblings
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities in Ohio are accusing an 18-year-old of raping three of his half-siblings who are under the age of 10.
The Summit County sheriff’s office says deputies arrested the teen Wednesday and charged him with three counts of rape.
They say he was one of nine children living with their parents in a home near Akron when the children were removed in January during an investigation into the family.
A sheriff’s office spokesman say they began looking into what was going on inside the Coventry Township home after getting complaints about neglect, sexual assaults and deplorable living conditions.
The children ranged in age from teens to a newborn.
The sheriff’s office says the investigation is ongoing and that more charges are possible.
Court weighs case of adult charged with alleged rape as teen
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether an adult identified as a suspect in a rape he allegedly committed as a teenager can be prosecuted.
The issue heard before the court Thursday involves the long-unsolved rape of a 14-year-old girl in 1993 in Cuyahoga County.
Defendant Darlell Orr was indicted in 2013 for the attack after a DNA sample taken when he was arrested on a murder charge matched DNA from the 20-year-old attack.
A county judge and a state appeals court ruled that laws in place in 1993 barred juveniles from being prosecuted as adults.
That law changed in 1997, and prosecutors say Orr can be brought to trial. Attorneys for Orr say applying that change in law retroactively is unconstitutional.
Man dies after Ohio explosion; parents hurt in rescue effort
MEDINA, Ohio (AP) — Emergency responders say an apparent explosion and fire at a northeast Ohio apartment building left an 18-year-old man dead and his parents badly burned after they tried to rescue him.
The Medina County fire chief tells WJW-TV that the parents went back in to try to save the young man as the building burned early Thursday in Medina. The parents were critically hurt and were rushed to a hospital.
WKYC-TV reports the young man was believed to have died when a wall came down on him.
The explosion and fire severely damaged the multi-unit apartment building, displacing about 20 people.
The cause is under investigation by the state fire marshal’s office.
Jurors find Ohio man guilty in murder of delivery driver
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man has been convicted in the shooting death of a pizza delivery driver.
A jury found 22-year-old Latrell Richey, of Columbus, guilty of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping on Wednesday. Police say Richey and two teens robbed and killed 59-year-old James Flannery while he was on a delivery in 2015.
Police say Sir Jeffrey Carroll Jr. and Jalen Hughes, who both took plea deals in exchange for testifying against Richey, called in a delivery to a vacant house in order to rob Flannery. Officials say Flannery was then fatally shot in the back by Richey after struggling against the three young men.
Richey faces life in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for March. Carroll and Hughes will be sentenced at a later date.