Ohio News Briefs

Congressional redistricting in Ohio takes another step ahead

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A proposed constitutional amendment that would change the way Ohio draws congressional districts has cleared another hurdle on its way to the state ballot.

The Ohio Ballot Board certified the measure on Tuesday as a single issue. The decision clears backers to begin collecting the roughly 305,000 signatures needed to place the issue before Ohio voters.

Fair Congressional Districts for Ohio modeled the proposal after a plan overwhelmingly approved by Ohio voters in 2015. That earlier plan changed the map-making process for the districts of lawmakers in the Ohio House and Ohio Senate. Congressional members serve in the U.S House and U.S. Senate.

Proponents of redistricting changes want to stop lawmakers from creating congressional districts that are overwhelmingly packed with Republicans or Democrats.

Ohio bill would require judge’s OK to change cause of death

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio lawmakers are considering a bill that would require a coroner to get a judge’s approval before changing the cause of death on a death certificate.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the proposal comes after several people raised concerns about the Franklin County coroner’s alterations.

In one case, the office initially said 58-year-old Debra Meadows died from blunt-force trauma after her vehicle was hit by a drunken driver. But a death certificate received later said she died of cancer, and the driver escaped a felony charge of vehicular homicide.

Meadows’ family says the coroner wouldn’t explain the change. The driver eventually was sentenced to six months in jail on a reduced charge.

Republican Rep. Larry Householder sponsored the bill after hearing that story, calling the cancer determination “extraordinary.”

High court once again upholds death sentence for Ohio woman

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state Supreme Court has for the third time upheld the death sentence for Ohio’s only condemned female killer.

The court ruled 6-1 Tuesday in the case of Donna Roberts, sentenced to death for a third time in 2014.

In the past, the court said a prosecutor improperly helped prepare a sentencing motion in Roberts’ case and that a judge hadn’t fully considered factors that could argue against a death sentence.

Justice Terrence O’Donnell, writing for the majority, rejected arguments that allowing a new judge to sentence Roberts after the original judge died was unconstitutional.

The 73-year-old Roberts was accused of planning her ex-husband’s murder with a boyfriend in hopes of collecting insurance money.

The boyfriend, Nathaniel Jackson, also was sentenced to death in the 2001 slaying.

Police say man killed, 2 others injured in Ohio bar shooting

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — Police say a shooting at an Ohio bar killed one man and wounded two others.

Authorities say the shooting happened around 1:45 a.m. Tuesday at D & J Nite Spot in Middletown in southwestern Ohio.

Investigators say 23-year-old Julian Marquis Johnson of Middletown was shot and killed at the bar.

A woman wounded in the shooting was taken to a nearby hospital, while a third person who was apparently also shot left the scene.

Several people were in the bar at the time and police are trying to find witnesses to the shooting. No arrests have been made.

Police say car that killed 2 Ohio girls drifted across line

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say the car that struck four young people on an Ohio street, leaving two girls dead, drifted over a line before the accident.

Two 14-year-old girls were killed and a 15-year-old boy was seriously hurt in the collision Sunday afternoon in Coventry Township, just south of Akron.

Summit County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Bill Holland says the driver has been identified as a 24-year-old woman from nearby New Franklin, and charges are pending.

Holland says the children were walking on the right side of the road when a car drifted across the white line known as the “fog line” and struck them.

A neighbor told WEWS-TV that youth headed to a store or park nearby often walk in the roadway along that stretch because it doesn’t have sidewalks.

Woman freed after ceiling collapses

TIPP CITY, Ohio (AP) — Officials say an Ohio woman had to be freed after a ceiling collapsed at her home.

The Dayton Daily News reports a Tipp City woman was sleeping on her couch Monday morning when the ceiling collapsed.

Firefighters arrived at the scene around 4 a.m. and rescued the woman from the debris. It is unclear if she suffered any injuries.

The cause of the collapse has not been released. The American Red Cross is helping the woman find shelter.