Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Tristate Digest

Man switches plea in wife's slaying

        LEBANON — A 26-year-old man was insane when he went on a jealous rampage that left his wife dead at a Franklin auto parts factory last month, his lawyers contend.

        Michael Pardon, of Franklin, has changed his plea from not guilty to not guilty by reason of insanity. He faces trial in August on charges of aggravated murder and two counts of attempted murder.

        Police said Mr. Pardon shot Shirley Pardon, 39, on March 24 when he tried to kill Charles Weaver, a co-worker.

        He then chased Mr. Weaver through the Digitron factory, firing at Mr. Weaver and shooting Mrs. Pardon's brother, James Allen of Kettering, in the leg, authorities said. Mr. Weaver was not injured. He and other Digitron workers wrestled the gun away from Mr. Pardon.

Measure would allow federal court cameras
        WASHINGTON — Federal judges would have the discretion to allow television cameras into their courtrooms under a bill approved Monday by the House.

        The popularity of Court TV and dramatic televised trials — such as the O.J. Simpson case — have prompted the media and some government reform groups to press for greater access.

        Rep. Steve Chabot, a Cincinnati Republican, added the provision to a larger federal courts bill that passed the House by a voice vote. The provision applies to both criminal and civil trials.

        Conservatives such as Mr. Chabot, who represents most of Hamilton County, see the cameras as tools of accountability.

        “Allowing unfiltered television and radio coverage of trials will help Americans learn more about their government,” he said.

Death of child being investigated
        DEPUTY, Ind. — Indiana State Police are investigating the death of a 2-year-old who fell out of a pickup truck Sunday.

        The incident occurred about 7:25 p.m. Sunday on Bethany Road in Jefferson County, state police said. The child was taken to Children's Hospital in Louisville, where the child later died.Charges are pending.

Inmates-college program under scrutiny
        COLUMBUS — The state auditor is investigating allegations that the prisons department has paid “a significant amount” of money to Ohio colleges for inmates who were either not eligible to take classes or weren't enrolled.

        The audit looks at the Noble and Belmont prisons, said Joe Andrews, a Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokesman.

        The department has launched its own investigation and suspended the college program at Belmont, in St. Clairsville about 80 miles east of Columbus.

        The audit looks at the way funding is administered for the Ohio Central School System, which runs all high school and college prison classes, Kim Norris, a spokeswoman for state Auditor Jim Petro, said Monday.

        Belmont Technical College operates the program at the Belmont prison. Muskingum Technical College operates the program at the Noble prison, 110 miles east of Columbus.

        The Ohio Central School System enables inmates to work toward one- or two-year technical degrees offered by 15 Ohio colleges. About 2,500 inmates in 28 prisons participate.

Key vote is today on large livestock farms
        COLUMBUS — The Department of Agriculture, not the Environmental Protection Agency, would oversee large livestock farms under legislation scheduled for a key committee vote today.

        Environmentalists say the change amounts to a first step toward dismantling the EPA and would lead to more pollution from large farms. The Ohio Farm Bureau says the change is needed to protect the state's agricultural industry.

        Gov. Bob Taft thinks the legislation has improved from earlier versions, but wants changes to make sure penalties are not weakened and to expand public participation when farms apply to expand operations.

        The legislation's sponsor, Sen. Larry Mumper, a Marion Republican, said the bill is needed because weaknesses in the EPA's regulation of livestock operations are scaring off Ohio farmers from expanding their operations.

First in new lecture series at UC Thursday
        The University of Cincinnati's Albert C. Yates Fellows and Scholars Program will sponsor a new lecture series, the Neblett/ Yates Distinguished Lecture.

        The first lecture will feature Walter E. Massey, former director of the National Science Foundation and president of Morehouse College. He will present “Scientific Literacy” at 2 p.m. Thursday in room 118 at UC College of Law.

        The free lecture is open to the public. For more information, call Judith Trent, 556-4337.

Conservation rule up for discussion
        Wayne National Forest will hold two meetings to discuss a proposed rule on roadless area conservation. The first meeting, 6 to 9 p.m. May 31, will be a discussion of the proposal. The second, 6 to 9 p.m. June 28, will be for public comment.

        Both meetings will be at the Ramada Inn in Nelsonville, Ohio.

        For more information, call Kenneth Arbogast, (740) 592-0233, or for information about the proposal, call (800) 384-7623.

Death penalty still possible in murder trial
        URBANA, Ohio — A judge on Monday dismissed several charges against a man accused of killing his two stepchildren, but let stand charges that could lead to the death penalty.

        After the prosecution concluded its case in the murder trial of Kevin Neal, defense attorneys asked Champaign County Common Pleas Judge Roger Wilson to dismiss the charges. They said the prosecution had failed to prove its case.

        Judge Wilson dismissed two counts of kidnapping and two counts of aggravated murder with kidnapping as the underlying offense. But he let stand two counts of aggravated murder as well as abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

        If convicted of the aggravated murder charges, Mr. Neal could be sentenced to death. He has pleaded not guilty.

        The defense is scheduled to begin presenting its witnesses today.

        Neal is accused of killing India Smith, 11, and her half-brother, Cody, 4. The children vanished July 9, 1997. Their bodies were found 8 miles from their home two months later.

Jury selection begins in murder case
        MEDINA, Ohio — Attorneys began picking a jury Monday as the trial started for a man accused of killing his wife and then faking his innocence with a tearful call to police.

        Steven Bozsik, of Wadsworth Township, is charged with aggravated murder and murder in the death of his 33-year-old wife, Carol. She was shot seven times in the garage of the couple's home Nov. 30.

Hoosier man drowns in Lake Erie
        PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio — An Indiana man fell into Lake Erie and drowned trying to climb into his boat docked on South Bass Island, police said.

        Divers found the body of Joseph Tawdul, 31, of Fort Wayne, near the dock, said Put-in-Bay police dispatcher Roy McGary.


Stadium overseer got $1M in private
Prosecutor says city blew case
PULFER: Quick fix needed for preschool
Windsock suspected in Air Care crash
Councilman faces vote fraud charges
Light turnout expected for Ky. primary
SAMPLES: Charity walkers pay to park
3-way talk would be Ohio first
Schools budget assumes levy vote
CHCA, McAuley among the best
Council still not sure about Nordstrom
Banks plan moving forward; county ready to issue bonds
Dyslexic kids learn thorugh phonics
More help for dyslexic students
Olympic hero shares life's thrills, spills
Pig Parade: Sow Spring
Shriver offers plain advice
KNIPPENBERG: Bashful men lured into opera
Chamber choir's jewel perfectly set in Cathedral
Queen City's moments to shine reflected in book
Around the Commonwealth
Bristol's opposed to zoning plan
Bush stresses literacy today in Columbus
Covington faces school woes
Deadbeat dad's bond set at $180K
Edgewood rejects EMS bike plan
Electric rate hike expected
Ex-deputy tossed from sheriff race
Fairfield weighs test incentives
Holcomb to pursue tax flap
Kennedy stumps here for Baesler
Lockland park gets new life
Maifest presents minimal trouble
Mason named a Tree City USA
Middletown makes it easier to reach officials
New Norwood fire pumper limits water damage
Newport angles for Golden Corral on U.S. 27 site
Ohio Legislature enters home stretch
Panel hammers at bill
Student store a lesson for young entrepreneurs
- Tristate Digest