Ohio News Briefs

Teen denies charges in death of Ohio woman, 98

MEDINA, Ohio (AP) — A 17-year-old boy has denied aggravated murder and other juvenile charges filed against him in the death of a 98-year-old woman found by police inside a closet at her northeast Ohio home.

The teen made an appearance in a video link Wednesday in Medina County Juvenile Court. He also faces aggravated burglary and abuse of a corpse charges.

Margaret Douglas was found by Wadsworth police April 9 after a nephew reported she hadn’t been heard from in nearly a week.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports police believe Douglas was killed April 6. Wadsworth’s police chief has said it appears Douglas was strangled.

The teen was arrested Monday after Douglas’ wallet was found during a search of his family’s home in Wadsworth. He lives in the same neighborhood as Douglas.

Cruz backs GOP’s Mary Taylor in Ohio governor’s race

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has endorsed Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor in the race for Ohio governor.

Taylor’s campaign announced the former Republican presidential candidate’s backing Thursday. Cruz asked Ohio voters to carefully consider their choices and “stand with those who have proven themselves to be conservatives of conviction.”

Cruz’s endorsement comes as Taylor seeks to boost her conservative credentials in the Republican primary race against Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.

DeWine’s campaign is labeling Taylor a “phony conservative” in a $1 million television ad buy in what’s become a notably nasty contest. Taylor is working with Republican consulting firm Axiom Strategies, which has Cruz ties.

Taylor on Thursday noted Cruz’s upset Senate victory in 2012 against an “establishment-backed” candidate. She said Cruz overcame “very long odds” similar to her own.

Agency to probe worker’s death at Ohio construction site

GROVE CITY, Ohio (AP) — Police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the death of a worker killed at a hospital construction site in central Ohio.

The Columbus Dispatch reports emergency crews responded shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday after a man fell down an elevator shaft at a hospital being built in Grove City outside of Columbus. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His name hasn’t been released.

Sean McKibben, president of the Mount Carmel West hospital system, said in a statement the man was employed by thyssenkrupp Elevator. The system is building a new five-story hospital that’s scheduled to open in November.

A thyssenkrupp spokesman said the company is cooperating with the investigation.

Third lawsuit filed over fake police officer in school

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A third lawsuit has been filed against an Ohio school district for allowing a man convicted of handcuffing and assaulting students as part of a fake “scared straight” program into elementary schools.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports the mother of a Leggett Elementary School student filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday, bringing the total amount sought in legal complaints against the Akron school district to $74 million.

The lawsuits allege the school district violated children’s constitutional rights and failed to provide a safe environment.

Christopher Hendon was sentenced to nearly six years in prison in March after pleading guilty to charges that included abduction, assault, endangering children and impersonating a police officer.

Akron school officials have declined to comment about the lawsuits.

Methamphetamine spill sickens officers, closes Ohio jail

GREENVILLE, Ohio (AP) — A methamphetamine spill has sickened sheriff’s deputies and temporarily closed a jail in western Ohio.

Authorities say the drug spilled around 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Darke County Jail in Greenville as deputies booked a suspect.

The Darke County Sheriff’s Office says four deputies complained of feeling ill Tuesday and the suspect collapsed unconscious moments later. The deputies and suspect were treated at a hospital.

The Dayton Daily News reports 10 more deputies became sick Wednesday morning. Authorities believe the drug got inside the jail’s air vents.

The jail has been closed for cleaning and decontamination. The Sheriff’s Office says 28 inmates have been moved to jails in Miami and Mercer counties.

Greenville is about 100 miles (161 kilometers) west of Columbus.

Feds charge 6 with smuggling drugs into Ohio prison

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a prison kitchen worker and five inmates worked together to smuggle drugs into an Ohio prison.

An indictment announced Thursday accuses the six men of conspiring to distribute cocaine, methamphetamine, marijuana and Suboxone, a drug used to help kick opioid addiction but also can be abused.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Columbus says the men smuggled the drugs into London Correctional Institution located about 30 miles (48 kilometers) west of Columbus.

Authorities say one defendant was a contract employee with the prison’s food service company and worked in the prison kitchen.

All six are charged with one count of conspiring to possess with intent to distribute narcotics. They face up to 20 years in prison.

Woman pleads guilty in apparent mercy killing attempt

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio woman has pleaded guilty to posing as a doctor and trying to administer a lethal dose of an opioid to an ailing elderly woman.

Prosecutors say the plot by 41-year-old Lilly Brunoni and a relative of the elderly woman appeared to be an attempted mercy killing. They say Brunoni would have had nothing to gain from the woman’s death. The victim was revived with the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.

The elderly woman’s relative, Nicole Dailey, apparently believed Brunoni was a doctor. She pleaded guilty to attempted murder in February and agreed to testify against Brunoni.

The Canton Repository reports Brunoni, a Canton resident, was sentenced Wednesday to six years in prison on charges including attempted murder and practicing medicine without a license.

Brunoni’s lawyer says he believes she has undiagnosed mental health issues.

Police: Passer-by catches child falling from porch roof

SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) — Police say a passer-by caught a small child who fell from the roof of a porch at an Ohio home.

A police report says the woman was driving down a street in Sandusky on Sunday when she saw an 18-month-old boy hanging from the edge of the porch roof. The Sandusky Register reports that she stopped her car and ran toward the house, banging on the side to try to get the attention of someone inside.

The boy then fell, but she was able to catch him, preventing him from getting hurt. She returned the child to his mother inside the home.

The mother told police the boy must have slipped through a window to get on the roof. A local child welfare agency was notified.

Man accused of cyberstalking Ohio sheriff now wants trial

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man has asked a judge for permission to withdraw his guilty plea to a charge of harassing a county sheriff in the state for nearly 20 years via letters, emails and websites.

A criminal affidavit filed last year said the harassment began in 1999 when Columbus resident William Young was arrested by Russell Martin, then a Delaware County officer and now the county sheriff.

Young pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this year to a charge of cyberstalking. He’s set for sentencing May 1 where he faces five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Young’s attorney, Andrew Sanderson, said in a Wednesday filing Young now wants a trial. Sanderson says Young was surprised to learn he was facing a maximum five years even after pleading guilty.

Ohio man faces murder charge in death of toddler niece

CINCINNATI (AP) — A 19-year-old Ohio man has been charged with aggravated murder for allegedly striking and killing his 15-month-old niece.

Recardo Woods, of Cincinnati, was indicted Tuesday by a Hamilton County grand jury. He also faces murder, felonious assault and endangering children charges in the death of Kassidy Smith and for injuries to her 4-month-old sister, Korri.

He’s being held on a $500,000 bond. His attorney didn’t return messages seeking comment Wednesday.

Police have said Woods struck the girls while caring for them April 6. Both were hospitalized. Kassidy died April 9 after being removed from life support.

The girls’ mother, Danielle Stallworth, told WLWT-TV that Woods babysat the girls while she attended a funeral. Stallworth says Kassidy died of a severe brain injury and Korri remains hospitalized with a brain bleed.

Trump OKs disaster declaration for 18 Ohio counties

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for 18 Ohio counties hit by severe storms, flooding and landslides in February.

The declaration announced Tuesday in a White House statement provides federal funds on a cost-sharing basis to state and local governments and to some nonprofit groups for emergency work and for repairs or replacement of facilities damaged by the storms.

The eligible counties are mostly in eastern and southern Ohio and include Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Columbiana, Gallia, Hamilton, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Scioto, Vinton and Washington counties.

The Trump administration says more help could be provided if requested by the state.