Thursday, December 19, 2002

Tristate A.M. Report



Compiled from staff and wire reports

Robber who fired shots in shop sought

WESTWOOD - Cincinnati police searched Wednesday night for a man who robbed a Graeter's ice cream shop earlier, firing two shots in the store but injuring no one.

The gunman entered the store at 2376 Ferguson Road near Western Hills High School shortly after 3 p.m. Wednesday and "milled about" for several minutes until the customers in front of him left, Detective Matt Thompson said.

Just the two employees were in the shop when the gunman brandished his weapon, demanded money and then fired the shots. It wasn't immediately clear who the shots were directed at.

The gunman fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. He was described as a black male, about 25 years old, five-feet to five-feet-one-inch tall, wearing a cap and a multicolored T-shirt, but no jacket. Police are asking that patrons who were in the store when the gunman arrived, or anyone else who might have information, call Crime Stoppers at 352-3040.

Woman with HIV given 3 years for soliciting

HAMILTON - A Franklin Township woman has been sentenced to three years in prison for soliciting for sex after a positive HIV test.

Dawn M. Crane, 43, had faced up to five years in prison but could have received probation because it was her first felony. But Assistant Prosecutor Craig Hedric argued it was "reprehensible for her to put others at risk, especially given the fact that she contracted HIV through sexual contact."

Judge Michael J. Sage said he found prison time necessary because Ms. Crane's conduct was "extremely serious" and the risk of harm to others was great since Ms. Crane had tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS, Mr. Hedric said.

"I commend Judge Sage for the tough stance he took," Mr. Hedric said. "She knew what she could expose other people to, and she just didn't care."

Middletown police had arrested Ms. Crane in July, after she offered oral sex to two undercover officers. As she was booked at the Middletown jail, she said she was HIV-positive, a police report said. She pleaded guilty to the third-degree felony last month.

Butler Co. man pleads guilty to sex charges

HAMILTON - Rather than face trial, an 18-year-old Butler County man has pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor sex charges involving two minors in Trenton earlier this year.

Michael Phillips had been scheduled to go to trial Wednesday but instead pleaded guilty to two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and two counts of sexual imposition, said Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Muench-McElfresh.

One of the four charges had been a felony but the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor in exchange for his plea.

The incidents involving two girls ages 13 and 15 occurred May 11 at a friend's house, Ms. Muench-McElfresh said.

Mr. Phillips faces up to 16 months in jail. His sentencing is set for Jan. 27 before Judge Patricia Oney.

Butler commissioner, auditor sworn in

HAMILTON - Butler County Commissioner Courtney Combs and Butler County Auditor Kay Rogers, both re-elected in November, were sworn into office Wednesday for their new terms.

It is Mr. Combs' fifth term as commissioner and Ms. Rogers' third term as auditor. The swearing-in ceremonies for the two Republicans took place at the Butler County Government Services Center in Hamilton.

New trial rejected for mom who killed child

A Dayton woman who was convicted of killing her 4-year-old daughter will not get a new trial, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the request by Therressa Jolynn Ritchie, who was sentenced to 22 years to life for the 1995 slaying of her daughter, Samantha Ritchie.

Ms. Ritchie, 32, had argued her trial was unfair because of pretrial publicity and mistakes made by the judge during jury selection. The appeals court, however, said publicity did not influence the verdict and determined that the judge made no errors.

Ms. Ritchie was convicted of beating Samantha to death with an arm cast after the girl wandered in while Ms. Ritchie was having sex with her boyfriend. Ms. Ritchie told authorities the girl was missing, prompting a citywide search that lasted five days.

Samantha's body was found partially submerged in water beneath sheet metal and concrete in a pit near Ms. Ritchie's house.

Man given 8 years for 3 bank robberies

A 39-year-old East Walnut Hills man was sentenced Wednesday in Hamilton County Court to spend eight years in prison for robbing three downtown Cincinnati banks in November.

Tyrone Rocker robbed the Provident Bank on Fourth Street, the Fifth Third Bank on Vine Street and the Bank One on Fourth Street between Nov. 4 and Nov. 7, according to police reports.

Mr. Rocker was sentenced by Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker.




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Tristate A.M. Report

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