Chris is the regular news anchor on WQMX's Wynn and Wilson in the Morning and WONE's Tim and Christi in the Morning programs. He first opened a microphone at WZIP-FM at The University of Akron in 1990 but got his first paid radio job delivering weekend news on WZKL-FM & WDPN-AM in Alliance. Chris then moved to WJER AM & FM in Dover where he reported on Tuscarawas County, including stories that made national headlines. Chris has been honored by his peers with first place awards from the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters including Best Reporter, Best Feature Story, and Best Broadcast Writing among others. In addition to his work as a broadcast journalist Chris has also worked in public relations and as an instructor at the University of Akron teaching Broadcast News Writing. Chris enjoys volunteer work, and has served on the boards of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters, Public Relations Society of America (Akron Area Chapter), American Cancer Society Hope Gala Committee and currently serves on the Green Baseball/Softball Federation Board. Contact Chris through the newsroom 330-864-6397 or email at email@example.com
Former Akron Police Captain Doug Prade could get a significant amount of money if an order from Judge Judy Hunter is not overturned. Hunter exonerated Prade for the 1997 murder of Dr. Margo Prade and ordered that he be released from prison.
"When a common pleas court determines an individual to be wrongfully imprisoned, the case comes to the court of claims and they're entitled to damages," said Ohio Court of Claims Clerk Mark Reed.
Damages start with $40,300 for each year that the person was in prison. That could add up to more than $575,000 for Prade, who was sentenced in September 1998. The payout, according to Reed, is detailed by statute.
"The party may be entitled to economic loss for lost wages for the period of time they were in prison, so that part has to be determined as well by the court of claims," said Reed.
Reed says determining an amount for lost wages is determined by presenting evidence in a bench trial that is limited to the financial factor and not used for a judge to decide whether the petitioner was actually guilty of the crime.
At this point, it's all speculative as to whether Prade will receive any money. He could eventually be sent back to prison. Prosecutors are preparing an appeal of Hunter's entire decision, which includes her favorable ruling for Prade to receive a new trial if the other part of her order is overturned. Prosecutors say it will take months for the appeal to be filed, staged and decided. No matter which side wins the appeal, it is likely that the opposing parties will ask the Ohio Supreme Court to hear the case.
A campaign-related disagreement between a pair of Summit County judges is continuing in the Ohio Supreme Court.
A panel previously ruled in favor of Judge Alison McCarty's complaint that Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer broke the rules by benefiting from a fundraiser that ranked people according to their level of sponsorship. Local Democrats staged the event for Stormer and allowed people to offer sponsorship at various tiers. Those donors received recognition.
The ruling noted from the Code of Judicial Conduct: "A judicial candidate shall not participate in or receive campaign contributions from a judicial fundraising event that categorizes or identifies participants by the amount of the contribution made to the event."
Now, Judge Stormer has filed notice of appeal saying, in part, that the rule is vague and it was not proven that she even violated it.
Stormer was ordered to pay nearly $6,000 for half of McCarty's attorney's fees, plus $2,806 in fines and court costs.
Deputies with the Summit County Sheriff's Office are investigating a robbery that was reported Wednesday night at Family Video Manchester Road.
Employees reported that two men walked into the store just after 11:30 P.M. wearing bright scarves over their heads and faces. They demanded money and at least one of them showed a gun. The two men took off on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.
Only a vague description is available: The men were white, about 5'8", 160-180 pounds. Other than the scarves, they were wearing dark clothing.
How about a $25,000 performance bonus?
Not bad, especially in a city where the median household income is $34,190. That makes The University of Akron President Dr. Luis Proenza's bonus about 73% of what Akron households are making in an entire year.
$25,000 is not enough, according to University of Akron Board of Trustees Chairman Richard Progue. Progue says Proenza's performance bonus is less than some other Ohio university presidents and suggests that it should be significantly higher. He stopped short of asking for a different amount, citing "economic pressures" faced by the university.
The bonus is based on how well the trustees think Proenza fulfilled established goals. In this case, Proenza gets credit for efforts that include fundraising, capital improvements, enrollment growth and various partnerships that can help students, the university and the community.
A Coventry Township woman faces charges for her alleged involvement in the drug overdose deaths of two men, three years apart.
Summit County Sheriff's Department Inspector Bill Holland says Danielle Hoover, 29, was with Richard Davies at around the time of his death from a heroin overdose in September of 2009 at his Coventry Township home. Roland Harmon was found dead at Steve's Motel in Green last month, also from too much Heroin. Hoover was also there at around the time he died.
"As our detectives looked into this, there were numerous similarities between these cases in the manner of death and the source of the narcotics," said Holland.
Hoover is charged with two counts each of involuntary manslaughter, corrupting another with drugs and a single count of tampering with evidence. Holland won't disclose at this time what exactly deputies believe Hoover did to aid in the deaths of the two men.
Former Akron Police Captain Douglas Prade has been declared innocent of the 1997 murder of his ex-wife, Dr. Margo Prade. After 15 years of maintaining his innocence, Prade was officially released from Madison Correctional Institution at 4:37pm Tuesday afternoon. An order released this morning by Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge Judy Hunter declared Prade innocent and set him free. Late Tuesday afternoon Hunter turned down a request by the Summit County Prosecutor to keep Prade in prison while her decision was appealed to the Ninth District Court Of Appeals.
In Hunter's ruling, she states the no jury would ever find him guilty of aggravated murder and says that he is "actually innocent of aggravated murder" and that "he shall be discharged from prison forthwith."
Hunter says that if her ruling is overturned on appeal, a new trial should be granted.
Prade's attorney, Carrie Wood, with the Ohio Innocence Project, says it's the news that they've been waiting for years to hear.
"He broke down this morning for the first time in a long time," said Wood, referring to Prade. "To be fighting all of these years to get someone to listen to you and finally the DNA made somebody listen. It was overwhelming for him."
Prade, however, cannot try to forget about the last 15 years yet. The Summit County Prosecutor's Office is appealing both rulings by Hunter and asking that Prade remain behind bars while the newest chapter in the case is resolved. Wood tells AkronNewsNow that she's planning on meeting with Prade this afternoon to oversee his immediate release.
"We see this as a gross misapplication of the law," said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Brad Gessner, who adds that questionable DNA evidence is not the only thing that put Prade in prison. "Doug Prade was a serial stalker of Margo Prade. His convictions for wiretapping her at her home remain in effect.
Judge Judy Hunter has been weighing evidence presented at a hearing last year surrounding the results of new DNA testing. One of the results showed that a bite mark found on Dr. Prade's lab coat - an important piece of evidence used to convict Prade - did not contain his DNA.
Click here to view the Douglas Prade ruling.
Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh plans to appeal the ruling:
Summit County Prosecuting Attorney Sherri Bevan Walsh today announced that her office will be appealing Judge Judy Hunter's ruling exonerating Douglas Prade of the murder of Dr. Margo Prade.
“This is a gross misapplication of the law, and we will be appealing Prade’s exoneration. The defendant had to present new evidence so convincing that no juror would have found him guilty, and he failed to do so,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “The DNA evidence presented by the Ohio Innocence Project on behalf of Prade is contaminated and unreliable. It does not prove innocence.”
Dr. Margo Prade was found shot to death in her minivan outside her medical practice in November 1997. Her husband, Akron Police Captain Douglas Prade, was convicted of her murder, along with wiretapping charges, and sentenced to life in prison. The Ohio Innocence Project took up Prade’s claim of innocence and petitioned the Court for his release or at least a new trial. They based their motion on additional DNA testing that they say excludes Prade as a contributor to the partial male DNA profiles present in the area where Dr. Margo Prade was bitten. DNA experts from the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, however, interpret the test results as insufficient and unreliable and most likely proof of contamination or mistakes.
“We are disappointed in Judge Hunter’s opinion exonerating Doug Prade,” said Akron Police Department Chief James Nice. “All of the evidence clearly points to Prade as Dr. Margo Prade’s killer. He was proven guilty in front of a jury using a substantial amount of other evidence.”
“Senior prosecutors in my office, none of whom were involved in the original prosecution against Douglas Prade, have reviewed this case and agree with the jury’s interpretation of the facts and evidence,” said Prosecutor Walsh. “All of the evidence points to Prade as the person who murdered Dr. Margo Prade. He was a serial stalker. He tapped her phones and recorded more than 400 of her personal calls. He had verbally abused and threatened her. And we know Margo was afraid of him. Additionally, we have Prade’s handwritten tally of the bills he owed subtracted from the life insurance he'd get if Margo died, and we have two eyewitnesses who place Prade at the murder scene. We have not seen any credible evidence that suggests innocence, and we are taking all available actions to keep a dangerous killer off the streets.”
The State has an appeal of right with regards to the exoneration, which means the Ninth District Court of Appeals must consider the State’s appeal. If the Court of Appeals reverses Judge Hunter’s ruling, then the State has 30 days to file a motion in the Court of Appeals requesting permission to appeal the decision for a new trial. The Court of Appeals may take several weeks to decide whether to hear the appeal. Prade’s conviction on six counts of Interception of Wire, Oral or Electronic Communications and one count of Possessing Criminal Tools was not part of his motion for his conviction to be overturned.
Late Tuesday afternoon Judge Hunter denied the County Prosecutor's motion to keep Doug Prade in prison until the case was appealed. The County was next prepared to appeal to the 9th District Court Of Appeals to overturn Hunter's decision.
Prade's Daughter Reacts To Her Father's Release
One of Doug Prade's two daughters is supporting her father in his effort to declare his innocence and clear his name. Kenya Prade tells AkronNewsNow.com that she's stayed in contact with her father monthly for the past 15 years he's been in prison, convicted of her mother's murder.
Kenya tells AkronNewsNow " He always told me he was innocent. I wasn't there when it happened, so there's no way we can comment on that. But the whole thing is that if he didn't do it, then someone else did and I just want to know who."
Kenya says the judge's ruling still came as a shock . "It's kind of mixed emotions, happy and sad. Sad because he's missed out on 14 to 15 years of my life. Mainly I'm upset because if he was in prison and didn't do it then it's not fair. The evidence showed that he was not the person who made the bite mark."
Kenya says if her father is released from prison she would look forward to seeing him.
Steven Bozsik is at it again. The convicted murderer from Wadsworth Township spends a lot of time petitioning various courts on various matters - to the point that the Ohio Supreme Court saw fit to to deem Bozsik a vexatious litigator. That means he files so many claims that are considered frivolous that the court considers it harassment. He has to ask the court's permission before he can file any claim.
Bozsik gained that designation in 2008, but has tried to file motions since that time, including a request earlier this month. The Ohio Supreme Court turned down the request, so we'll never know the exact nature of Bozsik's latest claim.
Bozsik is serving time for the 1999 murder of his wife. His first parole eligibility is in 2022.
A steady snowfall that began mid-morning was enough to frustrate drivers and keep road crews busy.
"All our indications are that this is a Clipper and one of the characteristics of a Clipper is that they do move through the area kind of quickly," said Brent Kovacs with the Ohio Department of Transportation.
There are 20 trucks servicing Summit County today, spreading calcium chloride.
The weather system is moving from the south, prompting many school districts from parts of Tuscarawas County to Columbus to dismiss students early today. In Summit County, ODOT is thinking the time of the storm - after the morning commute, but before the afternoon rush period - will make the ride home much easier than navigating the deteriorating road conditions around lunch time.
"We are hoping so," said Kovacs. "Our crews are out there battling hard to keep those roads wet for the commute home."
The National Weather Service calls for 1-2 inches of snow this afternoon. Less than a half-inch is likely tonight.
The Summit County Republican Executive Committee picked three people to recommend as a replacement for Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer. Stormer's Summit County Common Pleas Court bench became vacant when she assumed her new role as a judge in the county's probate court.
The Republicans' first choice is Jane Davis. Although she offered very little information to voters, you may recognize her name since Davis ran for an at-large seat on Summit County Council in 2012. Her name tops the list, followed by Akron attorney David Lombardi and Candace Kim Knox, who completed an unsuccessful bid last year to become Summit County's prosecutor .
The recommendations are forwarded to Governor Kasich, who will make the appointment. Stormer is a Democrat, but it's up the governor to make the decision and in this case, it's a Republican.
Summit County Republican Party Executive Director Debbie Walsh says the executive committee considered applications from seven people. She says it's typical for them to send in more than one recommendation, allowing the governor more freedom.
Ice carvers got out their chain saws and other tools to make works of art from 300-pound blocks of ice. The University of Akron's Ice Fest features a tribute to the men's soccer team, a "Zippy throne," and other carvings.
John Dreslinski was getting started on a snowboarder. He expected to it take about three hours.
"It's all this to get the framework done, first, then do the detail last, so it's kind of like construction" said Dreslinski.
Dreslinski does not have to worry about his finished product melting right away., something on the mind of Dr. Charlotte Burrell, who coordinates Ice Fest.
"We had the ice festival one year and we were holding our breath because it was so warm and we didn't want our sculptures to melt before they were viewed by anyone," said Burrell. "But today, as Chef (Alford) said, 'A perfect ice carving day.'"
Burrell says holding the event outside the student center raises awareness of the culinary arts program.
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