Ohio News Briefs


Feds net $1.7M in leasing 759 acres of Wayne National Forest

MARIETTA, Ohio (AP) — Oil-and-gas drilling companies from five states have paid more than $1.7 million for the right to explore parts of Ohio’s only national forest with future hydraulic fracturing in mind.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday that the federal agency leased 759 acres of land in Wayne National Forest to fossil fuel development companies in Texas, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Colorado and Oklahoma.

Environmental groups protested the federal government’s auctioning of mineral rights in the southeast Ohio forest. The Bureau of Land Management received 100 “valid” complaints during its 30-day comment period, all of which were denied on Monday.

Opponents contend that fracking threatens public health and local wildlife by polluting the air and water.

Lessees are still required to obtain a permit before any drilling could begin.

Feds: Ohio businessman accused in fraud scheme pleads guilty

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Federal authorities say an Ohio businessman has pleaded guilty in an investment fraud scheme in which he received at least $1 million from about 21 investors.

The statement from the U.S. attorney for Ohio’s southern district says 70-year-old John Blazer pleaded guilty Wednesday in Columbus to single counts of wire fraud and money laundering and could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison on each one.

A message seeking comment was left at Blazer’s attorney’s office Wednesday.

Court records say the Marion man owned several Ohio businesses from 2011 until August 2013 and promised to put investors’ money in his businesses or in other enterprises, including a gold mining operation in Africa.

Authorities say Blazer instead used investors’ money for personal expenses and to pay off previous investors.

Supreme Court upholds death sentence of Akron man

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence of a man convicted of killing the mother of his two children and her boyfriend.

The court ruled 6-1 Thursday to reject arguments raised by attorneys for Dawud Spaulding of Akron.

He was sentenced to die for killing 28-year-old Erika Singleton and 31-year-old Ernest Thomas outside her Akron home in December 2011. Court records show Singleton had a protective order against Spaulding at the time. Prosecutors said Spaulding had stalked and terrorized Singleton before killing her.

Singleton also was convicted in a related shooting hours earlier that left Thomas’ nephew paralyzed.

Spaulding’s appeal argued he should have had separate trials for the slayings and for shooting the nephew.

A dissent by Justice William O’Neill said Spaulding deserved new separate trials.

Grandmother of children who ate heroin gets jail sentence

WARREN, Ohio (AP) — The grandmother of two small children who swallowed heroin at her northeast Ohio home has been sentenced to 90 days in jail.

The Warren Tribune Chronicle reports a judge in Warren sentenced 44-year-old Lisa Davis on Wednesday after Davis pleaded guilty in October to a felony charge of allowing drug abuse.

The two children, ages 9 months and 21 months, and their teenage mother were living in Davis’ Warren home in February when they had to be revived with a heroin antidote at a hospital emergency room.

A jury last month convicted the mother, 19-year-old Carlisa Davis, of two counts of child endangering. She awaits sentencing.

Lisa Davis’ attorney called it a “tragic situation” during the sentencing hearing. Lisa Davis’ mother now has custody of the children.

Mistrial declared in ex-suburban Cincinnati cop’s rape case

CINCINNATI (AP) — A mistrial has been declared in the case of a former suburban Cincinnati police officer accused of drugging and raping a woman in April 2015.

The jury deliberated for more than 10 hours but was ultimately unable to come to a decision in the trial of 34-year-old Clayton Maher on rape, sexual battery and drug possession charges.

Mayer, a former part-time police officer in Elmwood Place, stood trial in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court last week. The southwest Ohio village fired Mayer from his position as auxiliary officer following his indictment in November 2015.

Defense attorney David Winters says jurors voted 8 to 4 for a not guilty verdict on all counts against Maher.

A Jan. 9 hearing will determine whether the case will move forward with a second trial.