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Entries in Ohio (99)

Sunday
Jun232013

Moment of Silence Planned for Pair Killed in Ohio Air Show Accident

Hemera/Thinkstock(DAYTON, Ohio) -- The Vectren Dayton Air Show in Ohio will re-open Sunday afternoon with a moment of silence for the wing walker and her pilot who were killed in this weekend's air show crash, an air show spokesman told ABC News.

The moment of silence will take place Sunday at 11:55 a.m., before the show continues at noon. Continuing an air show after a fatal accident is a time-honored tradition to honor the dead.

"The thing is if you would ask virtually any of the air show pilots if something happened to them during an air show what they would want to have done, they would tell you they would want to have the show go on because that's what they live for and that's what they really love," Andy Stanley, a search and rescue pilot, told ABC News' Ohio affiliate WKEF-TV.

In a statement released on Saturday, organizers of the Vectren Dayton Air Show confirmed the deaths of wing walker Jane Wicker and her pilot Charlie Schwenker.

"The Vectren Dayton Air Show Presented by Kroger expresses its condolences to the families of wingwalker Jane Wicker, 44 and pilot, Charlie Schwenker, 64, whose lives were lost during their performance at the show on Saturday, June 22nd. The FAA and other agencies are currently investigating the accident and results are not expected for several months," organizers said.

Video from the event appeared to show a wing walker sitting on the wing of her single-engine plane as it suddenly crashed into a grassy field at the Dayton International Airport.

"I'm not sure if it was a mistake or if there was a mechanical problem," said Joel John, who witnessed the crash, told ABC affiliate WKEF-TV. "From what I saw the plane was really low, they tried to do a flip and that's where it looked like the pilot lost the balance."

The plane that crashed was licensed to Wicker, an FAA official told ABC News.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA are investigating the crash.

Kris Nuss had worked with the wing walker and pilot before.

"Absolutely fabulous people," she said. "I was amazed at how much trust both of them had in each other."

A post on the Jane Wicker Airshows Facebook also addressed the crash.

"It is with sad hearts that we announce that Jane Wicker and Charlie Schwenker were tragically killed while performing at the Vectren Dayton Airshow," the post said. "We ask for your prayers for the families and privacy of all involved and allow them time to grieve and work through these events."

According to her website, Wicker has been wing walking since 1990, when she answered an ad because she thought "it would be an exciting way to enter the air show business."

In addition to being a wing walker and pilot, she is also a full-time budget analyst at the FAA.

A man who answered the number listed on Jane Wicker's website declined to comment.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar182013

Grand Jury Could Mean Additional Charges in Ohio Rape Case

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) -- Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine announced on Sunday that the state will be convening a grand jury to investigate whether there could be additional indictments or charges in the Steubenville rape case.

"A grand jury is an investigative tool that is uniquely suited to ensure fairness and to complete this investigation," DeWine said at a news conference after Sunday's verdict.  "And this community needs assurance that no stone has been left unturned in our search for the truth."

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, were both found delinquent -- the juvenile court equivalent of guilty -- on Sunday of the sexual assault of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl.

Both were sentenced to at least one year in juvenile jail and could be held until they are 21 years old.  Mays was sentenced to an additional year for a charge related to distributing nude images of a minor.

Attorneys for both of the defendants said they plan to appeal.

"A prosecutor's most important duty is to seek justice.  I believe with these verdicts that justice has been done," DeWine said.  "However, this is not a happy time for anyone.  Every rape is a tragedy.  This is a tragedy."

DeWine said investigators identified 43 people who attended at least one of the two parties where the assaults took place.  Authorities interviewed 27 of those people, but the 16 others refused to cooperate for various reasons.

Additionally, the owners of one of the homes where one of the parties took place was interviewed as well as dozens of school officials.

The contents of 13 cellphones were analyzed, which amounted to 396,270 text messages, 308,586 photos, 940 videos, 3,188 phone calls and 16,422 contacts.

DeWine asked the Jefferson County Common Pleas Court to convene a grand jury to meet on or around April 15.  Evidence will be presented and DeWine said he expected that numerous witnesses will be called to testify.

The grand jury does not necessarily mean that there will be additional charges or indictments, but it is possible.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Mar172013

Steubenville Football Players Guilty in Ohio Rape Trial

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) -- Two Steubenville, Ohio, high school football players accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl have been found delinquent by a judge -- the juvenile court equivalent of guilty.

The teens could serve prison time until they turn 21.

The verdict comes after a four-day trial that included tearful testimony from the accuser who said she was "embarrassed and scared" after hearing about the night she was allegedly sexually assaulted while intoxicated.

"I honestly did not know what to think because I didn't remember anything," she testified. The teen pieced together the night's events from Twitter, Instagram photos, a YouTube video, text messages and witnesses.

Prosecutors accused Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, of using their fingers to vaginally penetrate the girl at an alcohol-fueled party in Steubenville on the night of Aug. 11, 2012, as other teenagers watched. Mays was also accused of later sending text messages that included photographs of the girl with her clothing removed and charged with distributing nude images of a minor.

Brian Duncan, a lawyer representing Mays, told ABC News' "20/20" that what occurred that night was consensual.

"Trent Mays did not rape the young lady in question," Duncan said.

Richmond, in an exclusive interview recently with "20/20" anchor Elizabeth Vargas, said, "I didn't rape anybody. I didn't witness a rape going on.

"And if I would have thought that somebody was being raped or anything like that," he added, "I would have stopped it."

The case drew further attention when some outside the small Rust Belt town accused local officials of willfully protecting the football players, seen as hometown heroes.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar162013

Steubenville Rape Accuser Told Friend She Couldn't Remember What Happened

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) -- A former friend of the alleged victim in the Steubenville, Ohio, rape trial took the stand Saturday morning, saying the 16-year-old girl originally told her she could not remember what happened the night of the alleged attack by two high school football players, but said she swore "we didn't have sex."

The witness, who ABC News has chosen not to identify because she is a minor, gave an account of what she remembered from the night of the alleged incident. She said she no longer speaks to the accuser.

The girl testified that when she went to the first party with the alleged victim and another friend, the three of them drank slushies with vodka in them. She also said she saw the accuser drink alcohol straight from a bottle twice at the party.

The girl said she "noticed she was very drunk" at the first party the two attended together with another friend.

"She was rolling around on the ground," she said.

She testified that she had seen the alleged victim drink like this before and that it was "not really" out of character for her.

The witness said she has known the alleged victim since preschool and would have considered her a best friend. She said that some people believe the accuser has a reputation of being a liar.

The girl testified she went down to the basement of the house in which the party was held because the main floor was too crowded, but said she went up every five minutes to check on the alleged victim. She said at one point she saw her close to one of the defendants, 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond.

"She was just like leaning on him, standing next to him, and talking to him," she said.

Prosecutors accuse Richmond and Trent Mays, 17, of using their fingers to vaginally penetrate the girl at an alcohol-fueled party in Steubenville on the night of Aug. 11, as other teenagers watched. Mays is also accused of later sending text messages that included photographs of the girl with her clothing removed and is charged with distributing nude images of a minor.

Brian Duncan, a lawyer representing Mays, said simply: "Trent Mays did not rape the young lady in question."

Richmond, in an exclusive interview recently with 20/20 anchor Elizabeth Vargas, said, "I didn't rape anybody. I didn't witness a rape going on."

"And if I would have thought that somebody was being raped or anything like that, I would have stopped it," he said.

In her testimony Saturday, the witness said that by the end of the evening, the alleged victim was mean to her.

"She was like snapping at what I would say," the girl said. "If I would tell her to stop drinking, she would get mad at me."

The former friend said she tried to get the accuser to stay at the party, even holding on to her in protest, but "she kind of just swung her arm back and hit me."

"When I told her not to leave, she wouldn't listen to me," she said. "I was trying to get her to stay."

The witness said Richmond was standing by the alleged victim while this was happening, but did not say or do anything.

The next morning, the girl testified, she went to pick up the alleged victim from the house where she slept, and also gave Richmond and Mays a ride.

She said neither the accuser nor the defendants seemed upset in the car.

Once the football players left the car, she testified that she yelled at the girl because she was upset with "her actions from the night before."

Both the prosecution and the defense jousted in court during the girl's testimony this morning in attempts to paint a clearer picture of the alleged victim's character.

Walter Madison, the lawyer representing Richmond, repeatedly asked the witness on the stand whether listening to her police statement again would refresh her memory of that evening. He made a motion to Judge Thomas Lipps to play a portion of her interview in court, which was denied.

But when she was cross examined by Mays' attorney and could not answer a question that referred to her police interview, the judge said he would permit the girl to listen to the audio recording when the court recessed for a one-hour break.

Saturday's testimony picked up following a late court session that went past 10:30 p.m. Friday evening. The court recessed after the examination of J.P. Rigaud, who was the lead detective on the case with the Steubenville Police Department, was complete.

Rigaud testified Friday that in collecting cell phones for evidence, he uncovered three pictures of the alleged victim. One of photos shows the alleged victim being held by Richmond and Mays by her arms and legs and appearing unconscious. It was taken by 18-year-old Cody Saltsman, posted to Instagram and widely disseminated. Saltsman was not implicated in the alleged sexual assault and has not been charged with any crime.

Richmond told ABC News' Elizabeth Vargas that the alleged victim was joking around in Saltsman's picture.

But the other two photos, which were not posted publicly, came from Mays' phone.

In one of the pictures, the alleged victim is seen lying face down, and another hand is seen in the photo.

When asked about the hand in the photo, Rigaud testified "it was darker."

Rigaud also gave an account of his initial interview with the alleged victim in which she describes herself on the night of the incident saying she was "not sober, but was OK."

When Rigaud was cross examined by Madison, he asked him why he did not collect a DNA sample from 18-year-old Evan Westlake, who was present in all three locations that evening.

Westlake had not been interviewed by authorities until October, prior to the probable cause hearing. While Rigaud said he had spoken with the teen's attorney, ultimately, he was unable to get a sample from him.

Under pressure from Madison, Rigaud said that while he could have gotten a search warrant, he did not pursue Westlake further.

If convicted, Richmond and Mays could serve prison time until they turn 21.

The case drew further attention when some outside the small rustbelt town accused local officials of willfully protecting the football players, who they say are seen as hometown heroes.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

 

Friday
Mar152013

Steubenville Accuser: 'They Were Taking Advantage of Me'

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) -- A 16-year-old West Virginia girl allegedly raped by two high school football players emailed one of her accused attackers the day after a long night of partying to ask why he "would let that happen" and why "would you take my clothes off in front of everyone?"

That email was one of more than 100 electronic messages police recovered from the mobile phones of 16 different teenagers who attended a party with the alleged victim and the two Steubenville, Ohio, students accused of sexually assaulting her.

Prosecutors accuse Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, of using their fingers to vaginally penetrate the girl at an alcohol-fueled party in Steubenville on the night of Aug. 11, as other teenagers watched.  Mays is also accused of later sending text messages that included photographs of the girl with her clothing removed and charged with distributing nude images of a minor.

Three of those teenage eyewitnesses are expected to appear in court Friday, the third day of testimony in a case that has drawn international attention.

Two of the boys slated to testify on Friday are believed to have photographed the incident, but no charges have been brought against them.  Their testimony could be critical because the alleged victim says she remembers nothing of the incident.

Friday's testimony follows a dramatic day in court on Thursday, in which a forensic computer expert for the state introduced many of the often graphic messages sent from the alleged victim and the defendants in the hours after the party.

Most of the messages were between Mays and friends, in which the football player gives differing accounts of what took place at the party and how much sexual contact he had with the alleged victim.

In one instance, he claims to have had sex with the alleged victim, in other incidences he says the girl masturbated him and in others he says he digitally penetrated the girl.

In a series of texts between the alleged victim and friends, she pleads for information about what took place.

"Swear to God I don't remember doing anything with them," she texted a friend.  "Wait I think I was drugged.  I have no memory from after I left" the party, she texted one boy.

"I wasn't being a slut.  They were taking advantage of me," she wrote.

Defense attorneys say a toxicology report performed a day later showed no signs of drugs.

After learning about some of the alleged incidents at the party, the girl emails Mays.

"Why the f--- would you let that happen.  Seriously, you have no f---ing respect.  People are telling me so much s--t, why the f--- would you take my clothes off in front of everyone.  You shouldn't have let that happen," she wrote.

If convicted, Mays and Richmond could serve prison time until they turn 21.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar132013

ABC News Exclusive: Steubenville Rape Suspect Opens Up

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Ma'lik Richmond, a high school sophomore football player in Steubenville, Ohio, is accused of raping a 16-year-old girl from across the Ohio River in West Virginia while at a party with several other teenage boys.

The case has created a firestorm in the small football-obsessed city stoked by allegations that officials protected Steubenville football players at the expense of the alleged victim.  Residents there follow the storied Big Red high school football team religiously.  It is a program that Richmond, 16, had dreamed of joining and, on the night of Aug. 11, 2012, he relished the role he played in their first scrimmage win.

"I had two touchdowns and the fans were screaming and cheering," Richmond told ABC News' Elizabeth Vargas in an exclusive interview with 20/20 given a little more than a week before his trial, which begins on Wednesday.  "I was just thinking, 'I just can't wait for the season to start.'"

It's no surprise that he was in a celebratory mood.  But even Richmond admits that some of what happened at the parties he and several of his teammates attended that night crossed the line.

"I knew one person had a fake I.D.," Richmond said.  "People had Bud Light Platinum, and different variety of beers and vodka.  Everybody was drinking."

But, Richmond insists, that was the only crime committed that night.

Prosecutors will argue that the young girl who was allegedly raped was intoxicated and beyond the point of consent when Richmond and teammate Trent Mays, 17, allegedly used their hands to penetrate her vaginally.  In Ohio, as in many states, that constitutes the crime of rape.

"The state doesn't have to prove that she was flat-lined, but it's clear during both of these digital penetrations she was not in the state to consent," Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter said at a probable cause hearing in October.

The alleged victim's civil attorney also insists it would have been impossible for his client to consent that night.

"My client was unconscious that night.  She doesn't have any memory of what happened," Bob Fitzsimmons told 20/20.

ABC News does not name the victims of alleged sexual assaults.

Richmond says he was stunned to get a text from a friend three days after the party saying that one of the girls present that night had accused him of rape.

"I just texted him, like, 'What are you talking about?  Stop playing with me,'" he said.

Watch the full story on ABC's 20/20 Friday, March 22, at 10 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Mar122013

SUV in Deadly Ohio Crash Reported Stolen

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(WARREN, Ohio) -- A speeding SUV that hit a guardrail, flipped over and landed upside down in a pond Sunday morning, killing six teenagers, was stolen, according to the vehicle's owner.

The owner filed a stolen-car report with police on Monday, police said.  It was unclear where the teens got the vehicle or whether they knew it was stolen.

Two boys survived the crash in Warren, Ohio, including Brian Henry, who described the crash and how he survived it to ABC News affiliate WYTV.

Henry, 18, and Asher Lewis, 15, were the only survivors of the crash that killed six of their friends, ranging in age from 14 to 19.

Henry told WYTV that he smacked his head on the dashboard and lost consciousness during the crash.  It was the cold water that woke him up.

"First thing I thought was that I just wanted to give up," Henry told WYTV.  "I was like, I can't go out like that."

Henry tried to smash his way out of the car.

"It took me six or seven times to bust the window," he said.

But when he tried to swim out, he found himself entangled with seatbelts.  He had to take off his shoes and pants in order to escape, Henry said.

As the SUV filled with water, Henry and Lewis sprinted a quarter of a mile to the nearest residence so they could call 911.

"I wasn't thinking about myself," Henry said.  "I was thinking about the other lives that were left behind to get them help.  I didn't care if I was busted up.  I just had to get help there first."

The eight teens had packed into a Honda Passport, which seats five people, and some were likely not wearing seatbelts, authorities said.

It was the deadliest wreck in the history of Trumbull County, located in northeastern Ohio, and the worst traffic accident in the state in at least the past three years, Lt. Brian Holt of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said on Monday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar112013

Six Teens Killed in Ohio Single-Vehicle Crash

Joseph Devenney/Getty Images(WARREN, Ohio) -- Six young lives were snuffed out early Sunday morning near Warren, Ohio, when a Honda SUV carrying eight teenagers veered off a road, struck a guardrail and landed upside down in a pond.

Authorities say two of the occupants managed to get out of the vehicle and call for help, but the others were not able to get out.  First responders from the Warren County Fire Department pulled the six victims out of the water.

Lt. Brian Holt of the Ohio State Highway Patrol says the vehicle was traveling above the posted speed limit.

Holt said the two teens who survived were treated for minor injuries at a local hospital and released.

The site of the crash has been turned into a makeshift memorial for the deceased, who ranged in age from 14 to 19.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb282013

Ohio Bartender Fired After Calling Police on Drunken Driver

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(SHELBY, Ohio) -- A bartender in Shelby, Ohio, claims she was fired over what local police say was the right thing to do.

Twyla DeVito had been a bartender at the American Legion Post in Shelby for almost a year when she called and reported to police that a regular bar patron and a board member of the American Legion had gotten into his car after appearing drunk and drove away.

“There was no cab, I couldn’t give him a ride home and I was working,” she said.

So she called police, who found the patron driving with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, according to Shelby Police Chief Charles Roub.

The patron was issued a citation for operating a vehicle under the influence, according to a police report.

Two days later, DeVito received a call from her commander telling her she was fired.

“He called me and said that I was bad for business,” she said. “[He said], ‘This is nothing personal, this is all business, but I am going to have to fire you.’”

“My commander said I didn’t follow protocol, but there was no protocol,” she added.

An attempt to reach the American Legion Post in Shelby, Ohio, for comment by telephone was unsuccessful.

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, there is not a law that requires a bartender to report a drunk driver.

“I support what she did,” said Roub. “We encourage people to report crimes, we encourage people to report drunk driving and, as a police officer, that helps me do my job.”

DeVito said she does not regret calling police.

“If he had gotten in a wreck that would have been on me, because I was on my shift,” said DeVito. “It was in a lose-lose situation. I choose to possibly save a life.”

“I just want people to understand [that] bartenders are in a catch [22],” DeVito said. “I can cut you off but you are still getting in your car and you’re still drunk. The whole point is being missed. You are still in a car drunk and driving.”

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb132013

Ohio Catholic School Administrator Fired for Supporting Gay Marriage

Mike Moroski(CINCINNATI) -- An Ohio Catholic school administrator who was fired for supporting gay marriage on his personal blog says his faith is unshaken and he has no regrets for taking a stance on the issue.

"My point was I wish I had time to care who married each other but I don't," Mike Moroski, 34, told ABC News.

On Monday, the 12-year teaching veteran was fired from his job as dean of student life at Purcell Marian High School in Cincinnati for "public postings" that "directly contradict well-known teachings of the Catholic Church," according to a letter sent from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to students and parents.

Church officials said they would not comment on personnel issues but did provide ABC News with the letter.

Moroski, who is married to a woman, said he posted a quote on Facebook from President Obama's inauguration speech supporting marriage equality.  It sparked a public discussion with a friend who had an opposing view.

"My friend -- part of the reason I love him so much -- is we have extremely different views on a lot of things, even if we're both Catholic," Moroski said.

When Moroski started a personal blog in late January, he used the discussion as an inspiration for a post titled "Choose Your Battles."

"I unabashedly believe that gay people SHOULD be allowed to marry.  Ethically, morally and legally I believe this," he wrote on Jan. 27.  "Gay marriage is NOT something of which to be afraid."

The principal of Purcell Marian was made aware of the post on Jan. 31, and soon, Moroski said, word made its way to the archdiocese.

Moroski said he was given an ultimatum.

"They said, 'You take it down, recant your statements and agree to publicly not disparage the archdiocese,'" he said.

In order to keep his job, Moroski would also have to create an "action plan" for himself detailing how he planned to live with morality, he said.

"I really, really believe in my conscience and the morals I've developed in my lifetime in the Catholic Church," he said.  "I knew from the get-go I wasn't going to take [the post] down."

On Monday, he received a phone call telling him he was terminated.

"I definitely never thought I would lose my job over something like this," Moroski said.  "I have experienced God more in the past week than my entire life.  I feel like I'm on the right track."

Moroski said he isn't sure what's in store for him next, but he said he already misses his students.

"Because of the stance I'm taking, I can't be with them, but I hope they know I'm doing it to reinforce what I've taught for 12 years," he said.  "Be kind to everyone."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio







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