Ohio News Briefs

Renacci coordinated attacks on rival with Citizens for Trump

CLEVELAND (AP) — Some of U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci’s (reh-NAY’-seez) recent attacks against Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted) in the four-way Republican contest for Ohio governor were coordinated through a private entity called Citizens for Trump.

Cleveland.com reports the Renacci campaign registered the domain name dishonestjonny.com on Sept. 5 and transferred it to Citizens for Trump. A spokesman says Renacci’s campaign discussed some of the attack website’s content with the group. He says such coordination is legal under Ohio election law as long as it appears on campaign finance filings.

Citizens for Trump endorsed Renacci earlier this year. It bills itself as a grassroots organization but is part of Patriotic Strategies, a Texas-based limited liability corporation.

The website had gone dark as of Thursday. The company couldn’t immediately be reached.

Canadian sentenced after plane landing in Ohio with drugs

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Canadian passenger on a plane forced to make an emergency landing in Ohio with 290 pounds (132 kilograms) of cocaine onboard has been sentenced to just over five years in federal prison.

The Columbus Dispatch reports 46-year-old David Ayotte was sentenced to 63 months Thursday in Columbus after pleading guilty to a drug charge in June.

Ayotte was aboard a twin-engine plane that landed at Ohio University’s airport in March after an engine began smoking. The plane was met by local and federal authorities. The Windsor, Ontario-bound plane had been tracked by U.S. authorities after leaving the Bahamas.

Ayotte apologized in court through a French interpreter. His defense attorney said the criminal case has caused hardship for Ayotte’s family.

The plane’s Canadian pilot, 48-year-old Sylvain Desjardins, awaits sentencing.

Mom enters insanity plea for 5-year-old daughter’s death

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman is pleading not guilty by way of insanity after her 5-year-old daughter’s body was found hidden in the family’s restaurant.

Mingming Chen, of Jackson Township, entered her plea during a court hearing Thursday. The 29-year-old woman is facing several charges including murder, tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse.

Authorities say Chen repeatedly punched her daughter, Ashley Zhao. Prosecutors say Chen’s husband, Liang Zhao, tried to revive his daughter before helping hide the body.

Township police say the two falsely reported the girl missing Jan. 9. Investigators found her body inside Ang’s Asian Cuisine in North Canton the next day.

Zhao pleaded guilty in September to charges that include obstructing justice and gross abuse of a corpse. A murder charge against him has been dropped.

Mother of suspected thief reports son to police

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say an Ohio mother called police after she recognized her son and another teen in surveillance photos taken during an alleged theft.

Police say security camera footage from a Columbus home captured the teens taking more than $6,000 worth of musical instruments, an iPad, Xbox and other electronics Sept. 27.

Authorities posted the footage on social media last week asking for help in identifying the teens.

Columbus Police said in a Facebook post Thursday that one of the suspect’s mothers called with their names.

Police say charges are pending, and they thanked the mother for doing the right thing.

Officials: Explosion leveled home, cause under investigation

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — An explosion has leveled a home in Ohio.

Authorities say the explosion was reported around 7 p.m. Thursday in Bethel Township near Dayton. Investigators with the township fire department say the home’s occupant was out of town at the time of the blast.

No injuries were reported, and there are no reports of damage to nearby homes.

Fire Lt. Andrew Porter says propane has been identified as the source of the explosion, but the cause is still under investigation.

Nearby residents say the blast knocked photographs off the wall, and a mushroom cloud was visible.

An investigation is ongoing.

Police: Concrete slab falls, killing construction worker

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the death of a construction worker who police say was killed when a concrete panel fell on him from an aerial lift in Cleveland.

The worker has been identified as 56-year-old Joseph Matulis, of Akron. He was pronounced dead at the construction site at Cleveland State on Wednesday.

An OSHA spokesman said Thursday that Matulis was working for a Cleveland company called Coleman Spohn that’s involved in work on a building on the campus located on the edge of downtown. The project’s general contractor, Rhode Island-based Gilbane Building Company said Wednesday that Matulis was a pipefitter.

A police report says the man operating the aerial lift told officers the panel slipped as it was being removed and struck Matulis on the head.

Man convicted of national park shooting gets life sentence

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Federal authorities say an Ohio man who pleaded guilty to attempted murder for shooting a woman at a national park has been sentenced to life in prison.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Ohio’s northern district says 28-year-old DeZay Ely was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Akron in the July 2016 shooting at Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) Valley National Park. The judge sentenced the Akron man to 20 years for attempted murder and a life sentence for discharging a weapon during a crime of violence.

Prosecutors say Ely test-fired a gun before shooting the woman in the head, leaving her with “lifelong, serious injuries.”

Authorities had said Ely wanted to kill the woman to prevent her from revealing robbery plans.

Ely’s public defender didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.