Monday, July 14, 2003

Two held in death of man, 84


Lakeside Park police say pair bludgeoned victim

By Reid Forgrave
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LAKESIDE PARK - Police arrested two local men early Sunday and charged them with the slaying of an 84-year-old man.

The man's body had been found less than 12 hours earlier in his modest, red-brick home in this upscale Northern Kentucky suburb.

Anthony Wayne Ferry, 24, who had been living with his mother at the slain man's residence a few blocks off Dixie Highway near Interstate 275, and Jeremy Niemer, 21, were arrested at 2 a.m. Sunday.

Police say Ferry and Niemer bludgeoned and robbed Earl Rusche, who had lived at the Carran Drive house for more than 40 years.

One question still stumped investigators and neighbors Sunday: Why were Ferry and his mother living with the 84-year-old widower?

Neither was related to Rusche, said police, who did not identify the mother.

Gene Porter, who lives a few houses away from Rusche, said Rusche was "a great guy... It's one of those cases of bad things happening to good people."

Police had visited the house several times recently for domestic disturbances that didn't involve Rusche.

Col. Paul D. Herbst, chief of the Lakeside Park/Crestview Hills Police Department, indicated that the house had been a trouble spot within a quiet neighborhood.

"I don't know what was in Mr. Rusche's mind, having this young guy living with him," Herbst said Sunday. "A very quiet neighborhood, yes it is."

Herbst was in his office Sunday waiting for the results of Rusche's autopsy, which investigators think will prove he was bludgeoned to death with a blunt instrument in the midst of being robbed of money.

Herbst emphasized the slaying was an isolated incident.

"There's no imminent danger to anyone else living on Carran Drive," Herbst said. "Things are safe out there. ... We're confident we have the perpetrators in custody."

Kenton County's commonwealth attorney, Bill Crockett, said the spike of homicides in Lakeside Park this year - two in the past two months after more than five years without a slaying - is coincidental.

"Sometimes these things happen, and you never know why," Crockett said. This investigation, he added, is coming together more quickly than usual. But as law enforcement authorities prepared for the arraignment of the two men this morning, neighbors in the subdivision returned to a sense of normalcy, a life where police cars and television news trucks aren't part of the picture.

"The family is well known and well respected around here," said Porter, the neighbor. "It's just a tragedy."

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E-mail rforgrave@enquirer.com

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