Wednesday, December 17, 1997
Witness to cop killing sent home
Girl, 14, to be sentenced on Dec. 23

The Cincinnati Enquirer

In the Line of Duty
Enquirer coverage of the deaths of Officers Pope and Jeter

A Hamilton County Juvenile Court magistrate gave a 14-year-old homicide witness a break Tuesday and released her to home incarceration pending sentencing Dec. 23 on a charge of failure to report a crime.

The girl admitted to fleeing a Clifton Heights apartment about midnight Dec. 5 after seeing Alonzo Davenport shoot two Cincinnati plainclothes police officers to death.

As she sat silently next to her mother in court Tuesday, her hands cuffed behind her back and her feet shackled, she cried and told the court she had nothing to say but ''I'm sorry.''

Order violated

She was one of three of Mr. Davenport's friends at the West Hollister Street apartment the night of the shooting. Only one, Marvin Jones, stayed to call 911. Mr. Davenport, 20, fled and shot himself to death moments later. The 14-year-old and 23-year-old Angela Mills ran in the other direction.

The pair face charges of failing to report a crime, a fourth-degree misdemeanor. Ms. Mills was released from jail Friday and is awaiting a grand jury's decision about what charge she will face.

Juvenile Court Magistrate Sara Schoettmer released the 14-year-old Tuesday from juvenile detention instead of sending her to a reformatory or Hillcrest School, a Hamilton County juvenile detention center. The Enquirer is not naming the girl because of her age. She will be sentenced next week, the magistrate said. The maximum is a small fine, court costs and work detainment.

''She's not the shooter,'' Magistrate Schoettmer said after court. ''You've got to put that in perspective.''

But she reprimanded the girl for violating a court order issued four days before the shooting telling her to stay away from Ms. Mills. Her other contacts with the court have been juvenile convictions for breaking and entering, violating curfew, aggravated menacing and truancy.

Lives near memorial

Her mother said she has a 10 p.m. curfew, but that she is severely behaviorally handicapped and often gets into trouble. She took her daughter home Tuesday afternoon to their Ezzard Charles Drive apartment, just blocks from police headquarters and the memorial for the slain officers.

The girl, who will wear an electronic bracelet on her ankle to track her whereabouts, plans to return today to school. She declined to comment.

Her mother said the girl is recovering emotionally after a draining week.

Recovery also is coming slowly at police headquarters, where an investigation continues to determine exactly what happened inside the apartment, where police Officer Daniel Pope and Spc. Ronald Jeter were each shot in the head.

The Hamilton County coroner's office is expected to release autopsy results today. Coroner Dr. Carl L. Parrott Jr. has already confirmed that Mr. Davenport died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Police also are reviewing whether emergency response was handled properly. It took 45 minutes after the first 911 call for police to respond to the West Hollister Street address where the officers were shot.

Communication supervisors are conducting an administrative review of the 911 operation to find out what led to confusion and a delay in response, police spokesman Lt. Tim Schoch said. The police division's Integrity Management Unit is focusing on whether procedures were followed properly. Lt. Schoch expects results of those investigations by next week.