Friday, July 27, 2001

Man held in slaying, alleged rape

Girl helps lead police to suspect

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A 17-year-old girl Thursday helped lead police to a man she said raped her after the man shot her boyfriend and dumped his body in the Great Miami River, authorities said.

        Butler County sheriff's officers arrested James Sedan Jr., 31, about an hour later at his Hamilton residence using information provided by the 17-year-old, and by following Mr. Sedan's muddy tire tracks to his nearby residence on Cherokee Drive.

        Mr. Sedan, who was in the Butler County Jail on Thursday night, could be arraigned today in Hamilton Municipal Court on aggravated murder and rape charges.

        Maj. Anthony Dwyer said the dead man, whose body was pulled from the river Thursday morning, was identified as Ronald Thennis, 20. He said Mr. Thennis and the teen, both of South Dakota, were acquaintances of Mr. Sedan. The couple were in Hamilton visiting the girl's relatives.

        Maj. Dwyer said the teen-ager managed to escape from Mr. Sedan, flagged down a motorist in the Sharon Park subdivision and used the driver's cellular phone to call the sheriff's office about 6:30 a.m. Thursday. She then led sheriff's officials to the crime scene, in a wooded area about 125 feet from the river near Ohio 128.

        Authorities said blood stains and pieces of a .22-caliber rifle were recovered at the crime scene. Other evidence officials would not discuss also was removed from Mr. Sedan's house. Maj. Dwyer would not discuss a possible motive.

        Maj. Dwyer said the suspect and the victims had met along the banks of the river late Wednesday to socialize. The girl said she witnessed the shooting.

        Mr. Sedan had recent convictions for disorderly conduct and drug abuse, according to Hamilton Municipal Court records.

        A spokesman from the Butler County Coroner's Office said details of an autopsy were expected to be released today.


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