Ohio News Briefs

Cincinnati council adds needle exchange to 2018 budget

CINCINNATI (AP) — The Cincinnati City Council has approved funding in the city’s 2018 budget for a needle exchange aimed at stopping the spread of HIV and hepatitis C by intravenous drug users.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the council voted last week to provide $150,000 to the program based at the University of Cincinnati. City money will pay for at least four mobile sites served by a van.

The program had been funded a 20-county nonprofit health agency called Interact for Health. A Cincinnati councilman began pushing for city funding of the needle exchange program after grant money dried up.

It will be the first time the city has helped pay for such a program.

Ohio man sentenced to 20 years for wife’s shooting

CINCINNATI (AP) — A suburban Cincinnati man who called 911 and reported he shot and killed his wife has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Jeffrey Hawkins had previously pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault following the death of his wife, Jo Ann.

Hawkins told authorities his wife took money from their bank account and refused to talk with him before he shot her multiple times with a handgun.

He surrendered at his home April 25, 2016.

His attorney has called the situation “an anomaly.” Hawkins was found not eligible for a not guilty by reason of insanity plea in August 2016.

Elk Grove Village Police Chief says Hawkins resigned from the force in 1999 after being investigated following a complaint that he used unnecessary force.

Ohio officers shoot and kill suspected active shooter

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — Officials are investigating after an Ohio deputy shot and killed a man suspected of shooting at a moving train.

A Butler County dispatcher says the shooting happened around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in St. Clair Township.

Police were responding to the area after receiving reports of a man taking shots at a train.

Deputies engaged with the suspect, who quickly fled. A news release says the suspect began firing at officers who also responded with gunfire.

The suspect was shot and killed as a result. Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones says no deputies were shot.

Jones calls the shooting a “tragic situation,” but he says a preliminary investigation shows it was justified.

The identities of the suspect and the officer involved will be released Wednesday.

Governor names attorney to head Ohio’s health department

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The governor has named an attorney as director of the Ohio Department of Health.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has announced that Lance Himes will head the cabinet agency. Himes has served as interim director since March 31, after former director Rick Hodges left for a private-sector job.

The governor’s office said Tuesday that Himes served as an attorney for the health department for more than 13 years and was named its general counsel in October 2011.

Himes has specialized in environmental health and public health compliance issues. The governor’s office says he played a key role in coordinating the state’s Ebola response in 2014.

Himes also served as the department’s interim director from February to August 2014.

Grievance alleging misconduct by Ohio justice is dismissed

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — One of two complaints filed over an Ohio Supreme Court justice’s speech at an event put on by an anti-abortion group has been dismissed.

The complaints alleged that Justice Sharon Kennedy violated the Ohio Code of Judicial Conduct by speaking before Greater Toledo Right to Life in March, after the court agreed to hear an appeal involving an abortion clinic.

Toledo Right to Life has said Kennedy’s speech at a “legislative briefing” breakfast didn’t mention abortion.

She has denied any wrongdoing.

A retired attorney who filed a grievance over the speech tells The Blade in Toledo that it was dismissed by a judicial panel.

A separate complaint from a coalition of groups and individuals sought a disciplinary counsel investigation of Kennedy.

Ohio court weighs death row appeal over DNA evidence testing

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Supreme Court is considering a request from a condemned killer of two to allow DNA testing the inmate alleges could determine his innocence.

Death row inmate Tyrone Noling wants access to results of DNA testing previously completed, plus new testing on shell casings and other evidence from the 1990 double murder in Portage County in northeastern Ohio.

The 45-year-old Noling was convicted of killing Bearnhardt and Cora Hartig, both 81, at their home. He maintains his innocence.

Justices heard arguments Tuesday, with a ruling expected in the next few months. No execution date has been set.

Earlier this year the court said it’s allowing offenders sentenced to death to appeal directly to the high court when an application for DNA testing is rejected.

Police: 13-year-old boy fatally shot while playing with gun

BARBERTON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a 13-year-old Ohio boy has died from a gunshot wound to the head that occurred while he was playing with a gun with friends.

Barberton police spokesman Marty Eberhart said Tuesday that the shooting in the Akron suburb is being investigated as an accident.

Police say the boy was holding the gun when it fired shortly after 3:30 a.m. Monday. He died at a hospital several hours later.

The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the boy as Gabriel Elverton, of Akron.

Police say Elverton was visiting friends at a Barberton residence when the shooting took place

Eberhart declined to say how the teens got the weapon or identify the type of gun.