Tuesday, April 17, 2001

Grand jury may get case in a week

Prosecutors won't confirm timetable

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The grand jury investigation into the death of Timothy Thomas could begin next week.

        Hamilton County prosecutors will likely need that long to sift through the evidence, review reports from the police and prepare their case for presentation to the grand jury.

        When asked about the status of the investigation Monday, Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen would say only that a grand jury will be convened “soon.”

        But law enforcement sources said the case is expected to be presented by the middle or the end of next week.

Thankful for prayers
               Flanked by her attorney, Ken Lawson, and Rev. Damon Lynch III, chairman of the Cincinnati Black United Front, Mr. Thomas' mother, Angela Leisure, said “a lot is riding” on the outcome of a grand jury investigation into the actions surrounding her son's death.

        The trio held a news conference Monday.

        “I'm doing this as calmly as I possibly can. I'm running off prayers, not just mine but the community's prayers, to give me strength,” Mrs. Leisure said.

        Mr. Thomas, 19, was killed April 7 by Cincinnati Police Officer Steve Roach. He had been wanted on multiple traffic violations and had run from police. Unarmed, Mr. Thomas, was shot in an alley near 13th and Republic Streets in Over-the-Rhine.

        “All we're saying is that she seeks justice,” said Mr. Lawson of his client. “When we walked the streets (Saturday) we kept hearing the same thing — the young people kept saying — we want something to happen to this cop — jail, etc.

        “Everyone has called for a stop to the violence. And we told (the young people) to trust the legal system. Trust it and let it work for you. That's why they have stopped. Hopefully, we would like to see it work for her,” he added.

Investigation must be fair
               Mr. Allen said public opinion cannot be allowed to affect the outcome of the grand jury's investigation.

        “We will present the case and let the grand jury determine the outcome. We don't know any other way of doing it. We have to be fair to any potential defendant in a case,” he said.


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