Thursday, May 17, 2001

Lemon Township man accused in wife's death

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A Lemon Township man was indicted Wednesday on charges of murder and gross abuse of a corpse, allegations stemming from the death and partial dismemberment of his wife last month.

        Ronald A. Spence Jr., 35, could appear as soon as today for arraignment in Butler County Common Pleas Court, said David Kash, an assistant county prosecutor.

        The charges were among 45 indictments released by the county grand jury Wednesday.

        Mr. Spence's wife, Shawny, 26, was found dead, wrapped in plastic, in a closet of the couple's home on April 9. The Butler County Coroner's Office estimated she had been dead for three days.

        In a preliminary hearing last month, police testified that Mr. Spence told them he had “accidentally killed” his wife while he was drunk and beating her.

        Mr. Spence, whose bond was set at $500,000, is in the Butler County Jail.

        Other indictments included:

        • Sarah L. Nelson, 19, of Middletown, charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, driving while under the influence and two counts of aggravated vehicular assault. She is accused of causing a Feb. 26 wreck that killed Heather Morgan, 19, of Milford, and injured Jessica Manning, 21, of Middletown, and Jason Blankenship, 20, of Milford.

        • Heather Stickler, 29, of Winston-Salem, N.C., indicted on charges of theft in office and unauthorized use of property. The charges stem from the alleged theft of $781 from three fund-raisers at Fairfield West Elementary School, where she was a teacher, Mr. Kash said.


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