Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Butler County murder retrial starts today

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A jury of eight women and four men is to begin hearing testimony today in a murder retrial in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

        Randy Young, 38, is accused of assault, murder and abuse of a corpse in the 1999 death of Tammy Es ther McClellan, whose partially clothed body was found in Crawford Woods Park with a stick shoved down her throat.

        Timing has emerged as a key issue in the case, which ended with a hung jury in August.

        Mr. Young was the last person seen with Ms. McClellan before her body was found. That is one of a number of “intricate facts” pointing to Mr. Young as her killer, said Assistant Prosecutor Lee Oldendick.

        Mr. Young's lawyer, Melynda Cook-Reich, argues otherwise.

        She said there are several theories on estimating time of death based on body temperature and that, based on those theories, Ms. McClellan could have been alive for 24 hours or more after Mr. Young last saw her.

        Mr. Oldendick said two hairs found on the victim's body couldn't be ruled out as coming from Mr. Young or one of his relatives. But Mrs. Cook-Reich said that literally thousands, if not millions, of people could fit the characteristics that tests revealed about those hairs.

        “Evidence which says you cannot exclude someone as the source of two hairs is not enough to convict,” she said, urging the jury to return a not guilty verdict.

        The case is expected to last about five days in the courtroom of Judge Keith Spaeth.


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