Ohio News Briefs

Columbus schools buy offices of closed online charter ECOT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The school district in Ohio’s capital is buying the former mall that served as headquarters for a massive online charter school that closed in January after the state told it to repay about $80 million in public funding.

Columbus City Schools says it had the winning bid of more than $3.1 million Tuesday for the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow building a few miles south of downtown. Various fees raise the total cost above $3.4 million.

The district says it’s a solid investment because the price was below the average market rate and the purchase could enable it to consolidate business operations and save money over time.

ECOT office furniture and supplies and hundreds of other items also were auctioned separately. ECOT’s assets are expected to be used to pay creditors.

Black bear struck, killed on highway

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Authorities say a tagged black bear from Pennsylvania has been struck and killed on a highway in Ohio.

Akron police say the male bear was killed on Interstate 77 in Akron around 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

A spokeswoman with Ohio’s Division of Wildlife says biologists estimate the bear was 4 years old and weighed 225 pounds. Spokeswoman Jamey Emmert says there had been numerous sightings of the bear throughout northeast Ohio since mid-May.

Emmert says the bear was likely searching for mate, adding that his chances of finding companionship in that part of Ohio were “slim and none.”

She says the bear never acted aggressively as it traveled through populated areas, although it would occasionally raid bird feeders and bee hives for a snack.

Businessman found guilty of embezzling nearly $1 million

CLEVELAND (AP) — A jury has found an Ohio businessman guilty of embezzling close to $1 million in employee payroll taxes and retirement plans.

Cleveland.com reports 65-year-old C. David Snyder was found guilty Tuesday of embezzling from an employee pension fund and failure to pay taxes.

Prosecutors say Snyder collected nearly $860,000 in payroll taxes from his employees at Attevo, a now-closed technology consulting company based in Cleveland. He also embezzled more than $126,000 from a 401(k) and profit-sharing retirement plan for employees.

Prosecutors say Snyder used the money to renovate a pool, travel to resorts in Florida and buy women’s clothing at high-end stores such as Neiman-Marcus.

His attorney has declined to comment.

Snyder’s sentencing is scheduled for October.

House where 2 women slain is demolished

ASHLAND, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio home where two women were slain has been demolished.

Shawn Grate was convicted last month of aggravated murder and kidnapping in the women’s deaths and sentenced to the death penalty.

The home in Ashland where 43-year-old Stacey Stanley and 29-year-old Elizabeth Griffith were found dead in 2016 was torn down Tuesday. The Mansfield News Journal reports that a crowd gathered to watch the demolition and some cheered as the house was knocked down.

The women’s bodies were discovered after a third woman called 911 and said she was being held captive.

The 41-year-old Grate had been squatting in the abandoned house at the time of the killings.

Authorities have said he is a suspect in at least two more slayings.

Panel opts not to change school’s Redskins team name, mascot

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Cincinnati-area high school whose teams have been called the Redskins for over 80 years will keep that mascot for now after a committee heard heated debate and decided against recommending any change.

It’s the latest round in a recurring fight over use of the Redskins name at Anderson High School.

People pushing to change the name argue it’s offensive and inappropriate to use the racial reference. Advocates of keeping the name contend that it is part of school tradition and that changing the branding would be an unnecessary expense of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The clash echoes debate in professional sports over the NFL’s Washington Redskins’ moniker and the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo logo. The Indians’ logo is being removed from players’ uniforms but not from other merchandise.

Metal scrapping blamed for Ohio home explosion

CLEVELAND (AP) — Investigators say people scrapping for metal likely caused the Ohio home explosion that killed one person and left another critically injured.

Cleveland police say a 50-year-old man sought in connection with the explosion was arrested Tuesday. Another 50-year-old suspect in the scrapping operation is also in custody.

Cleveland.com reports the explosion in East Cleveland Sunday killed 27-year-old Tracey Brooks and injured 51-year-old Craig Kelly.

The East Cleveland Police Department says Brooks, Kelly and the two 50-year-old men were stealing metal from the home and likely caused a natural gas leak. No charges have been filed.

The home was recently sold to a new owner who had planned for $10,000 in renovations.

Ohio sheriff: 1 dead, suspect shoots self after standoff

TRENTON, Ohio (AP) — A southwest Ohio sheriff says a man who fired at deputies during an hours-long standoff has turned his gun on himself, and a woman has been found dead inside the home.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said the man was still alive and speaking Wednesday as he was being taken to a hospital. Jones said the man had released one hostage, but that a woman’s body was found inside the house in the small city of Trenton.

Jones says the man is also a suspect in an overnight homicide in nearby Madison Township. Jones says deputies were searching for him Wednesday morning when he opened fire on them after they knocked on the house’s door.

Deputies returned fire, and were joined by other police. None was reported wounded.

Mother, partner convicted in beating death of girl

CLEVELAND (AP) — An Ohio woman convicted of fatally beating her partner’s 5-year-old daughter after the girl wet herself could face life in prison at sentencing in July.

Cleveland.com reports a jury in Cleveland on Tuesday convicted 38-year-old Ursula Owens of murder, reckless homicide and felonious assault in the March 2017 death of Ta’Naejah McCloud. The same jury found Ta’Naejah’s mother, 27-year-old Tequila Crump, not guilty of murder and guilty of reckless homicide and endangering children.

Prosecutors said the girl had been abused, neglected and malnourished for months and that the women waited 13 hours to call 911 after the beating. The prosecution’s key witness was Owens’ 16-year-old son.

Crump’s attorney argued at trial there was no evidence that Crump participated in the beating.

Owens’ attorney couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.