Ohio News Briefs

Authorities: Police fatally shoot armed man in confrontation

WHITEHALL, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say police officers executing a narcotics search warrant were confronted by an armed man and fatally shot him at an apartment complex in suburban Columbus.

Whitehall police say a person at an apartment in the complex was selling fentanyl-laced heroin. They say police entered the apartment about 8 a.m. Friday and encountered a man armed with a gun.

Police say a confrontation ensued and officers shot the armed man, who later died at a hospital.

Authorities didn’t immediately identify the man or the officers involved in the shooting. Police say they safely removed five other adults and two children from the home. No officers were injured.

Whitehall Police Chief Mike Crispen says Columbus police have been called to handle the investigation.

Judge orders treatment for Ohio man fixated on belly buttons

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio judge has extended the probation of an autistic man who fixates on belly buttons, ordering him to attend an in-patient treatment program for sexual offenders.

Graig Burrier pleaded guilty to sexual battery in 2012 and received probation for attacking a 19-year-old pregnant woman in a stairwell and insisting he had to touch her belly button to pledge a fraternity. Authorities say he has continued asking to touch women’s belly buttons during his probation.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports Summit County prosecutors had pushed to send the 29-year-old from Stow to prison for violating probation.

Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands extended Burrier’s probation Thursday by ordering him to attend a residential program in Minnesota followed by supervision at a halfway house there.

Burrier’s attorney says Rowlands’ decision makes “perfect sense.”

Columbus graduates new police recruits as violence continues

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio’s largest city has graduated its latest class of police recruits at a time of soaring street violence.

Columbus recorded 143 homicides last year, four more than the number of people killed in 1991 during the crack cocaine epidemic.

The city saw its first homicide of 2018 just 14 minutes into the New Year when police say a man shot his wife who later died at a hospital.

Later the same day a shooting killed a pregnant woman whose baby doctors were able to save.

Police spokesman Sgt. Dean Worthington said the 33 officers who graduated Friday brings the total number of Columbus officers to about 1,880.

Jason Pappas, president of the union representing Columbus officers, says an additional 200 personnel are needed.

Ohio man found frozen to death by meal delivery driver

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a 64-year-old Ohio man whose body was found on the front porch of his home by a meal delivery driver froze to death.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports the Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday confirmed that Darnell Wilson, of Akron, died of hypothermia.

His body was found Tuesday by a woman delivering food for the Mobile Meals program. The high temperature in Akron reached just 14 degrees that day.

It’s unclear how long Wilson had been on the partially enclosed porch before his body was found.

Lawyer: Man thought TV host directed him to kill mother

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A northeast Ohio man who reportedly believed he was instructed to kill his elderly mother by the host of “Wheel of Fortune” has been found not guilty in her death by reason of insanity.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that a judge made the ruling Thursday in the murder case against 48-year-old Derrick Williams.

Williams’ attorney, Brian Pierce, says the Akron man believed he was getting messages from the TV game show when he heard his hometown mentioned. He thought that host Pat Sajak was telling him to kill his mother when Sajak said, “Do it.”

Pierce says Williams was off his medication and “clearly was psychotic.”

Williams’ sister called 911 after discovering her mother’s body in December 2016 and told dispatchers her brother was mentally ill and likely responsible.

4 finalists named for national teacher of the year honor

WASHINGTON (AP) — Teachers in New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington state are finalists for the National Teacher of the Year honor from a state education leaders group.

The Council of Chief State School Officers says the winner typically receives presidential recognition and travels the country for education advocacy.

Three of the finalists are art instructor Jonathan Juravich from Liberty Tree Elementary in Powell, Ohio; American Sign Language instructor Amy Andersen of Ocean City High School in New Jersey; and Washington’s Mandy Manning, who teaches refugee and immigrant students at Ferris High School in Spokane. They are the teacher of the year in their respective states.

The other finalist, Kara Ball, was similarly honored among educators under the Department of Defense umbrella for her work at an elementary school for Camp Lejeune.

Ex-firefighter pleads guilty to sexually assaulting minors

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (AP) — An ex-firefighter in Ohio has pleaded guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted minors in the department’s cadet program, where he was a training instructor.

Twenty-four-year-old Jonathan Monroe pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges including sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, compelling prostitution and rape. Prosecutors said that one of the four victims was about 9 years old at the time of the crimes.

The former Springfield Township firefighter could face up to 37 years in prison.

Monroe’s attorney told the Springfield News-Sun Monroe was a juvenile when some of the offenses occurred and some acts were consensual. Defense attorney Regina Richards said Monroe never meant to hurt anyone and came forward in part to prevent victims from having to testify.

Springfield Township is about 50 miles (81 kilometers) west of Columbus.

‘Safe Ride’ driver accused of violating bond terms jailed

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A man who has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting two female college students in Ohio in the vehicle he drove for his “Sherman’s Safe Ride” taxi service has been jailed following claims he violated terms of his bond.

Sherman Jackson II was taken into custody Wednesday in Butler County.

A judge previously set bond at $65,000 and ordered Jackson not to operate his taxi service. Prosecutors say Jackson was reportedly riding in the passenger seat while an employee operated the taxi. Oxford police allege Jackson harassed employees at a gym that terminated his membership.

A message was left for Jackson’s attorney.

Jackson was charged with rape and sexual battery after two Miami University students alleged he assaulted them in his vehicle when they used the taxi service.

Democratic judge announces bid for Ohio Supreme Court seat

CLEVELAND (AP) — A Democratic judge has announced his candidacy for a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Michael Donnelly currently serves on the Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) County Court of Common Pleas in Cleveland. He said Thursday he’s running for the high court this year.

There are two November races for seats on the seven-person court. One is for an open seat being vacated by the retirement of Republican Justice Terrence O’Donnell. The second is for a seat being vacated this month by Democratic Justice William O’Neill, who is running for governor.

Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) is expected to appoint a fellow Republican to fill O’Neill’s seat, and that person will then choose whether to run for the full six-year term.

Donnelly has been a Cuyahoga County judge since 2005.