Ohio News Briefs

‘Shawshank Redemption’ tree knocked down by apparent winds

MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio tree that became a popular attraction for its role in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” has fallen.

Jodie Snavely, of the Mansfield and Richland County Convention and Visitors Bureau, says high winds last week apparently downed the tree, which had split during a storm in 2011. The bureau was informed Friday about the downed tree.

The tree is featured in one of the final scenes of the 1994 film. The movie, based on a novella by author Stephen King, stars Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. It’s underneath the tree that Freeman’s character finds an important letter buried by Robbins’ character.

The tree sits on private property, but fans could view it as part of a series places in north-central Ohio related to the film.

Northwest Ohio city looks to crack down on nuisance bars

LIMA, Ohio (AP) — A city in northwest Ohio is looking to take quicker action against troubled bars following a murder and a shooting this year at one local establishment.

The Lima News reports the city of Lima’s law director recently announced plans to go after bars with a history of violence.

Tony Geiger tells the newspaper that the process involves filing a complaint in court under the city’s nuisance law. If approved by a judge, a bar could be closed for up to a year. He says drunken fights, shootings and stabbings are a public nuisance.

Lima Mayor David Berger says the nuisance abatement process allows the city to act more quickly compared with trying to close down a bar by taking away its liquor license.

Ohio teen charged for accidentally firing birdshot at friend

BERLIN HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — A northern Ohio teenager accused of accidentally shooting and seriously hurting his 13-year-old friend as they prepared to go bird-shooting has been charged with negligent assault in juvenile court.

The Sandusky Register reports the 15-year-old boy admitted to the charge and will be sentenced later in Erie County Juvenile Court.

Authorities say he was trying to unload bird-shot from a shotgun last month when he unintentionally discharged several pellets into the back of the younger boy from Berlin Heights. The shooting happened at a home in Berlin Township, roughly 50 miles east of Toledo.

Erie County Chief Deputy Jared Oliver says the older teen was upset that day and has been apologetic. He turned himself in to the sheriff’s office.

Judge cites attorney for wearing a Black Lives Matter button

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — A municipal court judge in Ohio has cited an attorney for contempt of court and given her five days in jail after she refused to remove a Black Lives Matter button she was wearing.

The Vindicator newspaper in Youngstown reports Judge Robert Milich cited attorney Andrea Burton on Friday after briefly meeting with her in chambers.

A Vindicator reporter saw Burton handcuffed and taken to jail.

Milich said he issued the citation because a U.S. Supreme Court ruling bans political buttons in the courtroom.

Attorneys for the Youngstown NAACP branch asked the judge to stay the sentence but he refused.

The newspaper reports an appeals court later agreed to stay the citation and sentence pending Burton’s appeal. In the meantime, she’s promised not to wear the button in court.

Police: Remains are northern Ohio woman missing since ‘98

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) — Skeletal remains found in northern Ohio have been identified as those of a young woman who vanished 18 years ago while acting as an informant for police in a drug case.

The Lorain County Sheriff’s Office recently confirmed that the remains found in March on Huntington Township farmland in southern Lorain County belonged to Angela Marie Hall, who was last seen in January 1998 when she was 25.

A mother of four children, Hall had worked with Lorain city police to convict three drug dealers, who police say later threatened her life, according to The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria. No one has been arrested in her disappearance.

A property owner found the remains March 22 while checking for damage from a wreck in the area a few days before.

“Everyone is sad,” Hall’s half-sister, Myrna Solis, told the newspaper. “We kinda expected for her not to be alive after all these years, but when you actually know it, it feels like it just happened yesterday to actually finally know for sure.”

Solis said the family didn’t speak much with her before she disappeared. They waited a month after she disappeared to report her missing because it wasn’t unusual for her to leave for long stretches.

Hall had felony warrants when she disappeared and was a material witness in a Lorain case, Elyria police Capt. Chris Costantino said.

“She left a note indicating she was in trouble and was going to hide,” he said. “The thought was it was a fugitive situation and not a missing person’s case.”