Ohio News Briefs


Police: 5 charged in Akron high school swastika incident

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Officials in Akron have charged five high school students who they say defaced a door with a swastika and a message including a racial slur.

WJW-TV reports that police charged the students at Ellet High School with misdemeanor criminal mischief and ethnic intimidation. Officials say the swastika and hate message were found on Wednesday.

Authorities say video surveillance helped the investigation.

David James, the superintendent of Akron Public Schools, says the actions of the group are an affront to everything the district stands for as a diverse welcoming community. Mayor Dan Horrigan released a statement condemning the crime.

School officials say the students will face punitive action from the board of education as well.

Lawmaker proposes shifting duties of prison watchdog agency

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio prison watchdog agency that survived a legislative push to eliminate it might have its duties shifted to the state inspector general’s office under possible changes that lawmakers are considering.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Rep. Keith Faber, a Republican, brought up the idea to move the duties of the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee to the inspector general’s office last week at a House Finance subcommittee meeting. Inspector General Randy Meyer testified at that meeting. His office is part of the governor’s administration.

Meyer reportedly welcomed the idea and the potential for more funding for his agency to hire additional staff.

Last year, lawmakers considered a bill that would have abolished and replaced the independent, bipartisan agency. They decided against eliminating the agency after its director agreed to resign.

Cincinnati streetcar’s downtown loop to close for repairs

CINCINNATI (AP) — Officials plan to close the Cincinnati streetcar’s downtown loop for up to four days this month for repairs.

The Cincinnati City Council’s transportation committee on Wednesday approved a plan that will close the downtown loop of the 3.6-mile route to fix crumbling concrete below the tracks of the Cincinnati Bell Connector.

The plan calls for repairs to start March 19. Officials hope to have it completed by the following weekend, with crews working 24 hours per day for two days to demolish the faulty concrete.

The demolition work will be followed by two days of re-pouring concrete and letting it cure before reinstating full streetcar service.

The repairs are under warranty and won’t require additional city funding.

Central Ohio man gets life in prison for 2 shooting deaths

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A 22-year-old man accused in the fatal shootings of two men outside a central Ohio car rental business has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to life in prison.

Connor Jeffries, of Violet Township, was sentenced Thursday in Columbus for aggravated murder and tampering with evidence. Several other counts were dropped under his plea deal.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Jeffries won’t have the possibility of parole for more than 30 years.

A message seeking comment was left for his attorney.

Authorities alleged that Jeffries and his girlfriend drove to the business, where Jeffries approached a parked vehicle, opened fire and fled. The April 2016 shooting killed 20-year-old Gary Francis and 21-year-old James Miller Jr.

Police suspected that a drug deal led to the shooting, but the specific motive wasn’t publicly confirmed.

Painting by condemned Ohio killer offered for sale online

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Prosecutors say they’re sickened that a website is selling a painting purportedly made by an Ohio death row inmate convicted in the killings of three down-and-out men lured by bogus job offers on Craigslist.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports the painting of a hummingbird on a tree branch is signed by Richard Beasley.

The 57-year-old was convicted of teaming up with a teenager in 2011 to lure victims into robberies using promises of jobs on a southeast Ohio farm. One would-be victim got away and notified police.

The operator of the website serialkillersink.net says he got the painting through a third party. It’s priced at $200.

An Ohio prisons spokeswoman says death row inmates can’t sell items for profit but are allowed to send artwork to family and friends.