Jurors have come back with a guilty verdict against 23 year-old Michael Hendon, one of two brothers charged in the murders of John Kohler, his step-daughter Ashley Carpenter, and his son David Carpenter-Kohler.

Hendon was also found guilty in the attempted murder of Ronda Blankenship, who was John Kohler's live-in girlfriend.

The murders took place at Kohler's 7th Street Northeast home on New Years' Eve 2013.

Barberton Police charged that the Hendon brothers came to Kohler's home to steal money and drugs.

Michael Hendon will be sentenced September 8th. His older brother Eric is scheduled to go on trial in October.

(Summit County Prosecutor's Office, news release) Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh announced today that jurors found Michael Hendon, 23, of Fawler Avenue in Akron, guilty in connection with the murders of three people in Barberton on December 31, 2013

Jurors found Hendon guilty of the following charges:

Three counts of Aggravated Murder – felonies of the first degree
One count of Attempted Murder – a felony of the first degree
Five counts of Aggravated Burglary – felonies of the first degree
Two counts of Felonious Assault – felonies of the second degree

On the evening of December 31, 2013, Hendon, armed with a gun, forced his way into the Barberton home of John Kohler with the intent of stealing money and drugs. In the process of the robbery, the 42-year-old Kohler, his 18-year-old step-daughter Ashley Carpenter, and his 14-year-old son David Carpenter-Kohler, were shot and killed. Kohler's live-in girlfriend, Ronda Blankenship, was shot in the head, but survived. Blankenship lost an eye as a result of the shooting.

Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Amy Corrigall-Jones is scheduled to sentence Hendon on September 8th, 2015 at 2pm.

Hendon's brother Eric is scheduled to stand trial in the case on October 13, 2015.

Friday, 28 August 2015 13:32

Akron General, Cleveland Clinic Merger Coming

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The merger will be official - Akron General Health System will become a full part of Cleveland Clinic.

Cleveland Clinic has exercised its option to buy Akron General outright, after it initially invested $100 million dollars in the system.

Akron General president/CEO Dr. Tim Stover says that the move was a natural, and that Cleveland Clinic's investment in the Akron system is already visible.

"First of all, we've knocked down two buildings," Dr. Stover tells WAKR.net. "There's a big hole there right now that will be the site of a $30 million-plus emergency room."

Dr. Stover also cites new equipment and updated medical recordskeeping that was made possible by the Cleveland Clinic's initial investment.

He says that the idea behind the merger is to grow services in Akron, not to send patients or services to the north.

"This is about growing Akron General, not about sending people to Cleveland.
They want Akron General to be as successful as we can be," Stover says. "So that model, the hub and spoke model, is not in play here. It's exactly the opposite."

Akron General has been a "Cleveland Clinic affiliate" since that move. The merger would keep the Akron General name on the local system.

The deal still faces federal approval.

Akron General will have a local advisory boards in Akron after the merger. Dr. Stover says he'll continue to be in place in Akron as well.

The man accused of murdering an elderly Strasburg couple changed his plea to guilty this morning.

Robert Clark, 30, of Dennison, was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of Doyle Chumney, 88, and Lillian Chumney, 79. Clark previously pleaded not guilty in March.

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The couple was reported missing on January 21 and later found dead in a car, which had been set on fire in Coshocton County.

Jeffrey Stewart, 21, of New Philidelphia, was also arrested in connection with the murders.

 

Previous Coverage:

Clark, Stewart Indicted For Chumney Killings

Sheriff: Clark Confesses In Chumney Murders

Clark Nabbed In Arizona, Chumney Family Issues Statement

Reward Offered To Find Fugitive Murder Suspect

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(News Release - Ohio Attorney General's Office) – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Coshocton County Prosecuting Attorney Jason Given, and Tuscarawas County Prosecuting Attorney Ryan Styer announced today that an Ohio man has been sentenced to serve life in prison without the possibility of parole for the January murders of a Tuscarawas County husband and wife.

Robert Clark, 30, of Dennison, pleaded guilty this morning to two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of kidnapping, and one count each of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, and aggravated arson in connection to the deaths of Doyle Chumney, 88, and Lillian Chumney, 79. As part of the plea agreement, all remaining charges and specifications, including death penalty specifications, were dismissed.

Following the plea, Coshocton County Common Pleas Judge Robert J. Batchelor immediately sentenced Clark to life in prison without parole.

The Chumneys were first reported missing from their Strasburg home on January 21, 2015, and their remains were discovered the following day in their vehicle, which was found abandoned and burned on a secluded road in Coshocton County.

According to the investigation conducted by a multi-jurisdictional task force formed to investigate the case, it is believed that Clark and his co-defendant, Jeffery Stewart, 21, of New Philadelphia, kidnapped and killed the couple after a home invasion. Authorities believe Clark shot both victims before the defendants lit their car on fire. Clark was arrested in early February in Mohave County, Arizona, after a nationwide manhunt.

The Coshocton County Prosecutor's Office prosecuted the case with assistance from prosecutors from Attorney General DeWine's Special Prosecutions Section and the Tuscarawas County Prosecutor's Office. Agents from the Attorney General's Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) were also part of the task force that investigated the crime.

"This brutal and senseless crime shocked those across the state and the nation, and this heartless killer deserves to spend the rest of his life in prison paying for his vicious actions," said Attorney General DeWine. "I commend the law enforcement officers and prosecutors who worked incredibly hard to bring this defendant to justice."

"Today's plea agreement was made with the support of Mr. and Mrs. Chumney's family, who expressed concerns about the stress of a lengthy trial, a potential death penalty sentencing phase, and appeals, which would have hindered their ability to try to find closure as it relates to the justice system," said Coshocton County Prosecuting Attorney Jason Given. "This outcome for the family would not have been possible without the superb work of the Coshocton County Sheriff's Office, Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office, and BCI."

In addition to BCI, authorities from the Coshocton County Sheriff's Office, Strasburg Police Department, Tuscarawas County Sheriff's Office, Coshocton County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, Tuscarawas County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, and Coshocton County Coroner's Office made up the task force that investigated the case.

Stewart, who was arrested in late January after task force members released a surveillance photograph of him at an area gas station, is scheduled to go on trial in December.

 

 

Thursday, 27 August 2015 13:23

Sinkhole Damages Home, Forces Family To Leave

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A large sinkhole has caused damage to a Massillon home, forcing a family to move out. And now officials say an abandoned mine could be to blame.

"I went down to our basement and noticed our foundation had a crack in the middle of it," said homeowner Andrew Seese.

That was just the beginning, according to Seese.

Several cracks throughout the home started to appear inside his Orville Street NW home. The cracks continued to increase in size.

"From the time I noticed it to about a week later, it grew almost to an inch from a quarter inch. So I was calling people, frantically, and everyone was like 'Oh, I'll get there in two to three weeks,' and I'm like 'This is growing really fast, and no one seemed to believe me.'"

But it did get the attention of officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources who are now trying to determine if it was an unmarked mine.

"Once we figure out the cause, collect enough data, we'll inject a cement, grout mixture into the underground area which then allows for those repairs to be done once everything is stabilized, " said ODNR Spokesman Eric Heis.

Seese and his family moved out of the home after officials evaluated the structure. Seese said the day they were packing up to move out -- was also his daughter's first day in kindergarten.

"She's sitting there at the end of our driveway while her whole bedroom is being moved out into the front yard," said Seese. "...it's been really tough."

It's unclear if the family will be able to move back into the home and it's not known if the home will be a total loss. A neighbor reported a crack inside their home, but the cause hasn't been confirmed.

ODNR reports the majority of abandoned mines are located under hills in eastern and southeastern Ohio. He says it's rare to find an abandoned mine under a home.

There is state insurance (Ohio Mine Subsidence Insurance) available that helps families who have been affected by unmarked, abandoned mines.

Editor's Note: Andrew Seese is an employee with the Rubber City Radio Group.

Former Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic was allegedly caught by police urinating on a tree on the University of Akron campus.

According to a UA police report, it happened shortly before midnight on Wolf Ledges Parkway. He was found standing next to a rental car, a Chevrolet Camaro, with his pants unzipped.

Plusquellic allegedly told the officers that he knows they "don't do anything" and that he "figured he would give them something to do on a slow night."

The former mayor, who resigned back in May, was issued a warning.

Thursday, 27 August 2015 09:54

KSU Prof In Trouble With Teen

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A Kent State University Professor is facing charges after Akron police found the man with a 15-year-old boy inside a car outside of an elementary school.

Akron Police Capt. Dan Zampelli said officers responded to Smith Elementary School on Chester Avenue to check on a suspicious vehicle in the parking lot around 11 p.m.

"The officers saw the car there, but they couldn't see into the car stating that the windows were steamed up," said Zampelli. "But they saw movement within the car, the car bouncing back and forth."

That's when 44-year-old Willie J. Harrell Jr. and the 15-year-old boy walked out of the car.

Zampelli says Harrell admitted to meeting the boy online three days ago and picked him up at his home before driving to the school for a planned sexual encounter. But Harrell told police that the sexual act did not occur before police arrived.

Harrell has been charged with adult curfew, although there could be additional charges depending on the outcome of the investigation.

Harrell is listed as an Associate Professor of English on KSU's website.

KSU Spokesman Eric Mansfield released this statement: 

"University leaders are aware of the arrest, and Professor Harrell has been suspended pending the investigation. He will have no contact with our students, and his courses will be taught by other faculty members."

 

(UPDATE)

The husband of a woman found stabbed to death Wednesday evening has been found dead himself.

That's according to NewsChannel 5, which reports that 43 year-old Emmanuel Higgins was found dead Thursday afternoon in a parked vehicle on Navarre Road SW. Police say he was found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police say his wife, 45-year-old Sheila Higgins, was found dead in the area of St. Elmo Avenue NE. They issued an arrest warrant for Emmanuel Higgings and had been searching for him since his wife's body was found.

(Earlier coverage) Canton police are looking for a man who they say stabbed his wife to death Wednesday night.

NewsChannel 5 reports an arrest warrant has been issued for 43-year-old Emmanuel Higgins.

Police said his wife, 45-year-old Sheila Higgins, was found dead with multiple stab wounds in the area of St. Elmo Avenue NE.

Police say Higgins drives a 2014 blue Ford Fusion with the Ohio license plate FMX2817.

On the web: www.newsnet5.com

Wednesday, 26 August 2015 16:55

Akron Signs Contract For Sewer Tunnel

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The city of Akron says its moving ahead on a key piece of the federally mandated sewer project.

The city is teaming up with two companies, one based in Chicago and one in Japan, in a joint venture to build the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel.

In a city news release, Mayor Jeff Fusco says the bid came in "well below" the city's estimate - $68 million less, costing the city $184 million.

Mayor Fusco also says the joint venture will exceed the 35-percent local hiring goal to build the 62-hundred foot long tunnel.

(City of Akron, news release) The City of Akron took a major step forward today to meet the conditions of a consent order in federal court and reduce the impact on local waterways from the city's combined sewer overflows (CSO).

Akron Mayor Jeff Fusco announced that the City has awarded the contract to construct the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel – the largest component of the Long Term Control Plan (LTCP) - to a joint venture with substantial experience in building such tunnels, Kenny/Obayashi V, a Joint Venture.

"This bid not only came in well below our estimate," said Mayor Fusco, "but the package submitted by these companies joining forces, gives the city a formidable team to complete this intricate yet massive tunnel project."

As part of the bidding process, the City pre-qualified four national and international
experienced tunneling firms to propose on the project, which is the largest single job within the Akron Waterway's Renewed program

The Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel (OCIT) will have a 27-foot finished inside diameter and will be 6,240 feet long. It will begin at the Little Cuyahoga River north of the Mustill Store on the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath, and extend to Lock 1 of the canal at West Exchange Street in Downtown Akron. The tunnel will control combined sewer overflow at nine separate locations along the waterways, and will store over 25 million gallons of combined sewer overflow.

The tunnel project is scheduled to be in operation by December 31, 2018.

The Joint Venture that has been awarded the bid includes two well-known companies in the field. Kenny Construction was founded in 1927 in Chicago and Obayashi Corporation was founded in 1892 in Japan. Together they have built tunnels throughout the U.S. and worldwide.

This team was prequalified with the other three bidding firms and all were recognized internationally as experienced tunneling firms.

Mayor Fusco indicated that the City Engineer's estimate for the project was over $250-million ($252,212,193), and the contractor's bid was $68 million under the estimate ($184,100,750). The proposal submitted by Kenny/Obayashi V met all goals outlined in the bid, and exceeded the 35% local resident hiring goal with a commitment of 37.26%. The bidder also exceeded our local business goals and our small, minority, disadvantaged and women owned business goals. They also committed to make a good faith effort toward meeting other US EPA hiring goals.

Akron has one of the most stringent CSO Long Term Control Plans and Consent
Decree requirements in the nation, in terms of level of control and schedule. The Plan was estimated to be $870 million in 2012. The Consent Decree was ultimately entered by the Federal Court in early 2014 at a price tag of $1.4 billion.

Under the final Consent Decree, projects currently in design and construction include
CSO Storage Facilities, Pump Station improvements, additional sewer separations, the Ohio Canal Interceptor Tunnel, full scale implementation of expanding biological treatment at the Water Reclamation Facility and the implementation of several projects utilizing "Green Technologies".

Akron is currently negotiating through the Integrated Planning process with the U.S. EPA and Ohio EPA, in an effort to substantially reduce the cost of the overall program and the need for future rate increases while maintaining equal or greater environmental benefits. Akron has continued to make significant improvement to the Cuyahoga Rivers' water quality by increasing operation and maintenance activities, increasing the biological treatment at the Water Reclamation Facility through a pilot project and separating combined sewers to eliminate several combined sewer overflows.

Water quality in the Cuyahoga River has improved to a level that supports fish and bug life and facilitated the return of the Great Blue Herons at the southern gateway to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015 16:51

Medina County Man Sentenced For Elder Fraud Scheme

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A Medina County man behind an investment scheme aimed at older investors has been sentenced to eight years in prison.

Prosecutors and the Ohio Attorney General's Office say that 64 year-old Dennis Flood pleaded guilty to felony theft and corrupt activity charges.

He was sentenced in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court to not only the prison term, but to pay over $1.1 million dollars in restitution to his victims.

Flood's scheme targeted 45 victims in Ohio and Pennsylvania, with a number of victims from all over Northeast Ohio...including Summit, Portage, Stark and Medina counties.

(Ohio Attorney General's office, news release) Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty, and Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor announced today that a Medina County man has been sentenced to serve eight years in prison for orchestrating an investment scheme that primarily targeted older Ohioans between 2009 and 2014.

Dennis Flood
Dennis Flood, 64, of Brunswick, pleaded guilty in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court last month to felony charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and aggravated theft. He was sentenced today by Judge Hollie Gallagher to serve eight years in prison and pay a total of $1,153,163.77 in restitution to the victims who lost money in connection with the scheme.

Today's sentencing comes as a result of an investigation conducted as part of the Ohio Attorney General's Elder Justice Initiative by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation with assistance from the Ohio Department of Insurance and Portage County Sheriff's Office. The case was prosecuted by the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.

Ohio
The investigation found that Flood stole more than $1 million from 45 victims in Ohio and Pennsylvania by deceiving them into purchasing fictitious investment certificates through his company, D.L. Flood Agency. The victims, who were primarily in their 70s and 80s, were promised a large return on their investments, but few ever received any money back.

"This defendant sought out elderly, vulnerable targets wherever he could find them, and some of the victims ended up losing their entire life savings to this predator after he spent their hard-earned money on himself," said Attorney General DeWine. "Crimes against our older residents will not be overlooked in Ohio, and those who take advantage of senior citizens will be held accountable."

"Dennis Flood lined his own pockets by plundering the life savings of his elderly, vulnerable victims. He took advantage of their faith in him and left them penniless in their old age," said Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office Economic Crime Unit Chief Paul Soucie. "His greed merits every day of the prison sentence he's been given, but his shame should continue long after that."

"Targeting our elderly citizens with false investment schemes and stealing their life savings are crimes that will not be tolerated in Ohio," said Lieutenant Governor Taylor, also Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance. "I am pleased that through our partnership, this individual is being held accountable for his inexcusable actions."

The 45 victims were residents of the following counties: Ashtabula, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Crawford, Geauga, Huron, Knox, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Medina, Muskingum, Ottawa, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Wayne, Alleghany (Pa.), Crawford (Pa.), and Washington (Pa.).

Attorney General DeWine launched the Elder Justice Initiative last year to increase the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases and improve victims' access to services in Ohio. Anyone who suspects incidents of elder abuse or financial exploitation should contact their local authorities or the Attorney General's Elder Justice Initiative at 1-800-282-0515.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015 12:22

APD Investigating Two Separate Shootings

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Akron police are investigating two separate shootings that happened in the city Tuesday. A 22-year-old told police that someone fired multiple shots at his vehicle while he was driving near Russell Avenue and Princeton Street around 5 p.m. He was not injured.

The second shooting happened a couple of miles away on Herberich Avenue. Police say a shot was fired into the window of a home shortly before 11 p.m. No one was inside the home at the time of the shooting.

No suspects have been identified.

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