Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report

Compiled from staff and wire reports

Ex-county investigator convicted of theft

A former Hamilton County prosecutor's investigator was convicted Tuesday of stealing money from the prosecutor's evidence room.

Pete Marshall, 58, pleaded no contest and was found guilty in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court on one count of theft in office. He is accused of taking $2,817 in 1996 - money he said he used to buy Christmas gifts.

He repaid that money Tuesday.

The case garnered statewide attention after Hamilton County sheriff's investigators questioned Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters, who was the county prosecutor when the incident happened, regarding his knowledge of the theft.

Deters told the Enquirer that he did not know about the missing money.

During the plea hearing before Judge Charles Kubicki, special prosecutor Pierce Cunningham said investigators repeatedly asked Marshall if any third parties were involved in the theft, with Marshall saying no.

The thefts came to light when money turned up missing late last year. Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen turned the case over to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, which opened an investigation.

Marshall is accused of stealing cash from three envelopes stored in the prosecutor's property room.

Sentencing is scheduled for August. Marshall faces up to 18 months in prison.

Jury ponders fate of convicted inmate

A Hamilton County Common Pleas Court jury is continuing to deliberate over James Were's fate.

Were was convicted last week on two charges of aggravated murder and kidnapping for killing a corrections officer during the 1993 riot at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty, but the jury could let Were live, sentencing him instead to life in prison with parole possible after 20 years or after 30 years.

Were was convicted and sentenced to die for the same crime in 1995. The Ohio Supreme Court overturned the conviction because Were was not given a competency hearing.

His retrial began in Hamilton County in late April.

Defense attorneys pleaded for Were's life Tuesday, saying Were is mentally retarded and didn't understand what he was doing.

Deliberations resume this morning.

Wrights' N.Y. flight to be re-enacted

DAYTON, Ohio - A flight around the Statue of Liberty by a "look-alike" Wright brothers' plane is planned for Sunday to help mark the 100th anniversary of powered flight.

John Warlick, 81, of suburban Beavercreek, will fly the Wright B Flyer look-alike around the statue to re-enact Wilbur Wright's 1909 flight around the New York Harbor landmark.

Wilbur and Orville Wright invented and developed the first airplanes in their hometown of Dayton.

Their first flight occurred Dec. 17, 1903, on the sand dunes next to Kitty Hawk, N.C.

The Wright B Flyer was the first Wright plane to go into production for civilian and military use. Warlick's plane is stronger and heavier than the Wrights' plane.

Ohio renews pact for 'smart card'

COLUMBUS - The state will continue to use a food stamp "smart card" system that is the most expensive in the nation.

The State Controlling Board voted 5-2 Monday to award an unbid $44.3 million two-year contract for the system.

Gov. Bob Taft's administration requested the deal for Citicorp Electronic Financial Services of Chicago, saying competitive bidding could lead to even higher costs.

Wyoming is the only other state that uses the "smart card," a plastic card with a computer chip that needs a special reader in the checkout line. The other states use cards with a magnetic stripe that works in stores' regular card readers.

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Tristate A.M. Report

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