Ohio News Briefs

Ohio Lt. Gov. stepping down as state insurance director

CINCINNATI (AP) — Ohio’s lieutenant governor is stepping down as the state’s insurance director.

Gov. John Kasich announced Friday that Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor was leaving her job as director of the Ohio Department of Insurance effective Friday. The governor has named department’s deputy director, Jillian Froment, as the new director.

Taylor, a Republican, is continuing as Kasich’s lieutenant and is one of four high-profile Republicans aspiring to governor. Taylor recently created the Mary Taylor for Governor committee and plans to make her campaign announcement later this year.

Taylor told The Associated Press on Friday she wanted to start focusing more on the future of the state. She said her decision also was made partly to allow more time for her campaign.

Police: Fight over man led to woman shot at lingerie store

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Police in Ohio’s capital city say one woman shot another in a lingerie store full of shoppers, apparently because of a fight over a man.

Columbus police say the injured 23-year-old woman was hospitalized in stable condition with a chest wound after the Thursday afternoon shooting.

Deputy Chief Thomas Quinlan tells The Columbus Dispatch the women had “bad blood” between them before they had an unexpected encounter at a PINK store, part of the corporate family that includes Victoria’s Secret. The shooting occurred in an upstairs room of the store at the popular Easton Town Center shopping area, which prohibits firearms.

Police say the 22-year-old woman who fired was jailed on a felonious assault charge.

WSYX-TV reports that PINK says it prioritizes safety and is cooperating with the investigation.

Consultant to Chief Wahoo opponent accused of embezzlement

CLEVELAND (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged an Ohio man accused of embezzling over $180,000 in federal grants intended to help Native Americans.

Cleveland.com reports there’s a twist: Defendant Craig McGuire was a consultant to a Native American man who’s been among the leading opponents of the Cleveland Indians baseball team using the divisive Chief Wahoo logo.

In court documents, authorities allege an embezzlement conspiracy between McGuire and the director of a Cleveland-area nonprofit group that supports Native American causes. The director hasn’t been charged.

McGuire is charged with theft of government funds and with conspiracy to commit theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. The 47-year-old suburban Columbus man is charged in a way that typically indicates a defendant is cooperating with authorities.

His attorney, Patrick Talty, declined to comment Friday.

Man pleads guilty to killing 2, including friend, while high

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A man accused of fatally shooting two people and wounding another near a central Ohio apartment complex has pleaded guilty to murder and felonious assault charges.

The Columbus Dispatch reports 29-year-old Mario Hamilton said he was high on drugs and alcohol and doesn’t remember the April 10 shooting in Reynoldsburg, a Columbus suburb. Hamilton told a judge he realized he had to come to terms with his actions when he heard an expert testifying about the victims’ blood being found on his coat.

He was given a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for more than 35 years.

Prosecutors alleged Hamilton shot a woman as they were riding in a vehicle after partying, then chased a fleeing friend and killed him. Another passenger was hurt.

Prosecutor: No evidence that decomposing veteran was killed

UHRICHSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A couple accused of living with an Ohio Vietnam veteran’s decomposing body and stealing his Social Security benefits aren’t expected to face more serious charges.

The Repository in Canton reports the Tuscarawas County prosecutor told a judge Thursday there’s no evidence that 71-year-old Robert Lee Harris was killed.

Deputies checked on him last week after being told he lived with the family in Wainwright and hadn’t been seen lately. Investigators believe he’d been dead for months.

Initial charges against 49-year-old Brian Sorohan and 45-year-old Stacy Sorohan include corpse abuse and credit card theft.

A message was left Friday for Stacy Sorohan’s attorney. Her husband’s public defender couldn’t be reached for comment.

Their 18-year-old daughter pleaded no contest to failing to report a death. A corpse-abuse charge was dropped.

Sheriff: Worker killed at construction site in Ohio

GALENA, Ohio (AP) — Federal authorities are looking into a construction worker’s death at a construction site in central Ohio.

The Delaware County Sheriff’s Office says 34-year-old Luis Pillcorema died Thursday when he was struck by a beam weighing about 2,500 pounds. Authorities say he was working in the basement of an unfinished home in Berkshire Township at the time. The township is near Galena, about 24 miles north of Columbus.

Authorities say Pillcorema was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the man’s death.

2 brothers indicted in fatal shooting of man, woman in Ohio

XENIA, Ohio (AP) — Two brothers accused in a double fatal shooting have each been indicted on aggravated murder and murder charges in southwestern Ohio.

Twenty-six-year-old Dustin Merrick and 24-year-old Bret Merrick also are charged with aggravated burglary and felonious assault, among other counts, in the indictments filed Thursday in Greene County Common Pleas Court in Xenia. Dustin Merrick also has been indicted on a count of obstructing justice.

Authorities say the brothers are accused in the slayings of 44-year-old William Brown and 63-year-old Sherri Mendenhall in Miami Township, just east of Dayton. Both were found dead Jan. 15. Mendenhall was found in a duplex driveway and Brown was inside.

Dustin Merrick’s attorney, Thomas Kollin, says his client maintains his innocence. Bret Merrick’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Ohio graduation rules work group suggests more flexibility

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A work group that reviewed Ohio’s new graduation requirements tied to more demanding exams recommends giving the first affected high schoolers more flexibility in how they can earn a diploma in a points-based system.

Educators say too many current juniors are at risk of not graduating in 2018 under the requirements, which outline three paths to earn a diploma: through college entrance exams, or through points systems for end-of-course exams and career-readiness. The work group suggests allowing the class of 2018 to earn points for alternatives such as “capstone” projects, community service or strong attendance.

Ohio’s superintendent will review the recommendations before giving his own to the state school board.

The board could alter the number of required points, but changing the three diploma pathways themselves would require legislative approval.