Ohio News Briefs

Autopsy finds popular 6th-grade teacher was shot and stabbed

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A medical examiner says a popular middle school teacher found dead in her suburban Cleveland home was shot and stabbed.

The husband of 49-year-old Melinda Pleskovic says he found her Monday night inside their Strongsville home with stab wounds to her back.

The Cuyahoga County medical examiner said Friday that Pleskovic died of “gunshot wounds and sharp force injuries.”

Police reports show the family had been complaining about a series of pranks and minor crimes at the home in the months leading up to the slaying. Officers investigated a report last week about an unknown man trying to force open the back door.

Pleskovic was a sixth-grade teacher and taught in the Strongsville school district for 27 years.

Police have asked the public to be patient during the investigation.

Sex offender convicted of raping girl waiting on school bus

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A registered sex offender has been convicted of kidnapping and raping an 11-year-old Ohio girl who had been waiting for a school bus.

Jurors in Dayton convicted 39-year-old Randy Stanaford on all counts Friday.

Stanaford was arrested just days after the girl was abducted and sexually assaulted in September 2016. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Prosecutors say Stanaford had a knife when he grabbed the girl at the bus stop and raped her in a nearby yard.

State records show Stanaford spent five years in prison for attempted kidnapping and public indecency. His sex offender registration lists him as living homeless in Dayton.

Defense attorney Ben Swift says he was disappointed with the verdict and that Stanaford plans to appeal.

Ohio man convicted in beating death of girlfriend’s toddler

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man has been convicted of murder in the beating death of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son.

The Repository reports a jury in northeast Ohio’s Stark County deliberated two hours Thursday before returning guilty verdicts against 27-year-old Brent Fields in Owen Buggey’s death last October.

A medical examiner ruled the boy died from septic shock caused by blunt force trauma to the abdomen.

Fields lived with his girlfriend and her four children in Canton and often cared for them. The girlfriend, Ruth Buggey, previously pleaded guilty to complicity to child endangering and obstruction of justice for lying to authorities about what happened to Owen.

Fields testified at trial that he would discipline Owen and his three older siblings to teach them right from wrong but never meant to harm them.

Off-duty Cleveland officer’s gun stolen during assault

CLEVELAND (AP) — Cleveland police say an off-duty officer moonlighting as a security guard at a Taco Bell had her gun stolen during an attack by two suspects in the restaurant’s parking lot.

A department spokeswoman says the officer was in uniform escorting a customer to a vehicle on the city’s east side Thursday night when two males thought to be in their late teens assaulted her and took her city issued firearm.

Police searched the area with a K-9 after the attack but weren’t able to find the suspects.

The officer was treated for facial injuries at a hospital.

Fourth graders protest for longer trick-or-treating

BROOK PARK, Ohio (AP) — An unusually young group of protesters have taken up their cause in an Ohio city.

Fourth grade students from Brook Park Memorial Elementary School marched to City Hall Thursday for longer trick-or-treating hours. The students wanted to extend their time by 30 minutes in Brook Park, which would have trick-of-treating run from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Close to 200 children signed a petition for the change and brought it to Democratic Mayor Tom Coyne. After meeting with the protesters, Coyne decided to grant their wishes.

The march was part of a lesson on government, and Coyne says he was happy to play a part.

Coyne says those wanting to make a difference and a change in their communities need to get involved.

Officials fire ranger accused of assaulting elderly couple

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio parks district has fired a ranger accused of kicking an elderly woman and throwing her husband to the ground before placing them in handcuffs.

Summit Metro Parks Executive Director Lisa King says the ranger was fired Wednesday for violating park procedures, exceeding his authority and using excessive force.

King says the ranger followed Carl Wilson and his wife Margaret home from an Akron park after they honked their car horn at him. Carl Wilson previously said the ranger confronted him and his wife in their driveway and handcuffed them.

The couple, both in their 70s, was facing charges that included resisting arrest and obstruction of official business. Court records show the charges were dismissed Oct. 2.

Ohio governor recognizes green efforts of schools commission

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio has been named the nationwide leader in building environmentally-friendly school buildings.

The U.S. Green Buildings Council recognized the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission for having surpassed 300 green K-12 school buildings.

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich issued a resolution Thursday honoring the commission and its staff.

David Williamson, the commission’s executive director, says the agency first mandated environmentally friendly design techniques in state-funded K-12 projects a decade ago.

Green-certified schools are designed to be more energy efficient and reduce water consumption.

The commission oversees public school construction and renovation in Ohio along with projects by state agencies and state-supported universities and community colleges.