Friday, December 15, 2000

Moms protest as adult sons ordered to jail

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        LEBANON — Amid their parents' protests, two men who accused Lebanon police of roughing them up during the breakup of a party on Oct. 22 were led off to jail after jurors rejected their claims that police used excessive force during their arrest.

        After a two-day trial and nearly three hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Camargo Court resident Chad Everitt, 28, of two counts of disorderly conduct and a single count of resisting arrest. His roommate, Clay Morton, 25, was found guilty of one charge of disorderly conduct, but the jury acquitted him of resisting arrest.

        Noting that police had been called to Mr. Everitt's residence seven times since May for noise complaints, Judge Mark Bogen of Lebanon Municipal Court sentenced Mr. Everitt to 90 days in jail but suspended all but four days. Mr. Morton was sent to jail for two days after the judge suspended 28 days of his sentence. Each man was ordered to pay hundreds of dollars in fines.

        “I don't believe this,” said Kay Everitt, as she watched her son being escorted back to a holding cell. “A juror told me they cried because they didn't want to convict these boys. But, they said they had to base it on the law and not their hearts.”

        Said Mr. Morton's mother, Penny Morton: “They do not deserve to be in there. I would like to know how many people convicted of disorderly conduct go to jail.”

        The verdict came a day after an independent investigation by the Warren County Sheriff's Office cleared four Lebanon officers — Bruce Bowerman, Laura Baumeister, Robert Buchanan and Christopher Brock — of using excessive force in the arrests. Messrs. Everitt and Morton were charged after neighbors — including Lebanon City Manager Jim Patrick — complained at 2 a.m. Oct. 22 about loud music coming from Mr. Everitt's residence.

        John Lloyd, a Columbus lawyer who represented Messrs. Everitt and Morton, had argued during the trial that neither man was guilty of resisting arrest because police had used excessive force.

        Mr. Lloyd claimed that police acted inappropriately when an officer opened the door without being invited in, and when they pulled Mr. Everitt from inside the door to arrest him because he did not immediately comply with their request for identification.

        Mr. Lloyd contended that Mr. Morton was wrongfully arrested for objecting when he saw police brutalizing his friend. Mr. Everitt was bruised when Officer Brock struck him with a baton.


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