Ohio News Briefs

Ohio sheriff pleads guilty to drug charges, theft in office

FREMONT, Ohio (AP) — A suspended Ohio sheriff has pleaded guilty to stealing prescription drugs and other drug-related charges.

Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer agreed to a plea deal Tuesday after denying the charges for months and saying the investigation against him was politically motivated.

He pleaded guilty to 13 felony counts on charges that include theft of dangerous drugs and theft in office.

Overmyer also pleaded guilty to filing false financial statements.

A special prosecutor accused the two-term sheriff of stealing medications from drug disposal boxes and deceiving doctors into giving him painkillers.

Overmyer had kept his title while he was suspended and in jail, but lost his re-election bid earlier this month.

He will be sentenced on Dec. 13.

Man who had fentanyl marked like less-potent drug sentenced

CLEVELAND (AP) — A northeast Ohio man has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison after authorities searching his car and apartment seized more than 900 fentanyl pills made to look like tablets of a less-potent opiate.

Cleveland.com reports 30-year-old Ryan Gaston of Euclid apologized in federal court on Monday. He says he made a mistake and that he believes the sentence was too harsh.

Gaston earlier pleaded guilty, in a deal with prosecutors, to possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug crime. Both sides agreed to the sentence.

Court documents say the pills initially believed to be Oxycodone were actually the far more powerful and deadlier fentanyl.

The documents describe fentanyl as 80 to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

Right to Life wants abortion without consent case reopened

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio abortion opponents want the state medical board to re-open its investigation into the case of a woman who the state found had her pregnancy ended without proper consent.

The Ohio and Dayton Right to Life groups said Tuesday they were disturbed to learn last week the board has closed their case against three doctors at Women’s Med Center of Dayton without action. The groups want the normally-private investigative file opened.

Documents show the state Health Department found Women’s Med violated informed-consent regulations in the case and it prompted Miami Valley Hospital not to advise in future clinic-related cases. Records showed the woman of unknown identity couldn’t walk, talk or keep her eyes open.

Medical Board letters indicated investigators couldn’t find adequate medical or legal evidence to justify further action.

Ohio school board member resigns due to out-of-state move

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A member of the State Board of Education who resigned because he’s leaving Ohio used his departure to voice concerns about problems that he says will continue to plague the state’s schools.

Former Montgomery County auditor and judge A.J. Wagner, who resigned Friday, had served on the board for two years and advocated on behalf of high-poverty schools and urban districts, the Dayton Daily News reported.

He was appointed in 2014 and elected to a full term later that year. Republican Gov. John Kasich will appoint someone to finish Wagner’s term through 2018, board President Tom Gunlock said.

In his resignation letter, Wagner praised Kasich for demonstrating “a sincere concern for children” but raised numerous concerns about Ohio’s schools.

“I believe education is changing, and not necessarily for the better,” Wagner wrote. “Funding shortages, unnecessary testing, the Ohio report card system, shortage of teachers, elimination of music, art, nurses, recess, counselors and other essential services for our students will certainly haunt Ohio for years to come.”

Wagner also advocated for more pre-kindergarten education, tighter oversight of charter schools and flexibility in graduation standards to account for students “without the talent or money needed for college success.”

He said he hopes his successor achieves more than he did, and that lawmakers are responsive to the voices raising concerns.

Ohio inmate who hid wife’s body in newspaper building dies

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man imprisoned for killing his wife and encasing her body in concrete at the newspaper building where he supervised maintenance has died nearly three decades later.

A state prisons spokeswoman tells the Dayton Daily News that 77-year-old Theodore Sinks died Saturday at a medical center, and officials were awaiting a death certificate to list the cause. Sinks had been imprisoned at the Pickaway Correctional Institution.

He reported his wife, Judy, missing in 1987. Authorities later determined he beat and strangled her and had a subordinate unwittingly help him haul a barrel containing her body to an upper floor of the Dayton Daily News building where they worked.

He was arrested after the body was found and was convicted in 1989. He had repeatedly been denied parole.

Field search yields no new evidence in Ohio student slaying

WAUSEON, Ohio (AP) — A new search near the Ohio cornfield where a slain University of Toledo student was found has turned up no more evidence.

Investigators walked Monday near the area in rural Fulton County where 20-year-old Sierah Joughin was found July 22. An FBI spokeswoman says investigators were checking fields while the crops are down to make sure no evidence was missed.

Joughin’s body was found three days after she was last seen bicycling near her home 20 miles west of Toledo.

The suspect, 57-year-old James Worley, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder charges in the potential death penalty case.

Worley’s attorney tells The Blade newspaper that Monday’s search is just part of a thorough investigation.

Worley was convicted in the 1990 abduction of a woman biking near Toledo.

Ohio high court: Immigrant can withdraw admission of guilt

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court says an immigrant charged with stealing an $80 battery charger can withdraw his admission of guilt because the trial court didn’t warn him that it could lead to deportation.

The 4-3 ruling issued Monday said a state court should have warned the Cleveland man that admitting guilt to enter a pretrial diversion program could hinder attempts at U.S. citizenship. He’s been in the United States legally since 2002.

Issa Kona pleaded not guilty to robbery charges in 2006, then was allowed to apply for diversion and have the charges dismissed after admitting guilt in Cuyahoga County. He tried to reverse that admission after learning it could affect his immigration status.

Prosecutors argued Ohio law didn’t require a warning because Kona didn’t plead guilty or no-contest.

Columbus police use grant to purchase crowd control device

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police in Columbus have used a $40,000 Homeland Security grant to purchase high-tech audio equipment that will help control rowdy crowds in Ohio’s capital city.

Division of Police officials on Monday held a demonstration for its newest tool — a long-range acoustic device mounted atop an armored vehicle.

The LRAD can send an ear-splitting directional blast of sound that acts like a water canon to break up crowds. It also has the ability to clearly broadcast messages within a range of 1.8 miles.

Lt. Paul Ohl, the head of Columbus police’s SWAT unit, says the purchase was made after residents who have been subjected to tear gas in crowds complained that they never heard warnings to disperse.

Police declined to provide technical specifics such as the LRAD’s exact decibel level.

Couple sues Ohio police after officers raid house

ORWELL, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio couple has sued police after officers raided their home only to say later that they had the wrong suspect.

The lawsuit says officers from the Orwell police department along with county sheriff deputies illegally raided the home two years ago and caused injury, property damage and lasting trauma.

Authorities suspected that the woman living at the house was involved in an armed robbery but later said they had the wrong person.

The Star-Beacon in Ashtabula reports the woman says she was injured in the raid and that the couple’s children remain traumatized.

A message seeking comment was left with police.