Saturday, July 19, 2003

Tristate A.M. Report



Compiled from staff and wire reports

Fire investigation turns to man in fight

COLUMBUS - Police trying to solve the April 13 Ohio State University fire that killed two Greater Cincinnati students and three others are looking for a man involved in a fight that broke out behind the off-campus rooming house.

Eyewitnesses told police that an unidentified white man was involved in the fight, left the scene, and returned while the fire was raging. They stopped short of saying he's a suspect.

"We've talked to everyone who was in the area but him," said police spokeswoman Sherry Mercurio. "Whether he will develop into a suspect, we don't know."

Police are asking anyone who has any information about the man to come forward. He is 5 feet 11, weighs about 200 pounds, and has shaggy blond hair. Witnesses say he was wearing a dark blue jeans jacket from the "Snoop Dogg" clothing label.

Andrea Kali Dennis, 20, an Ohio University student from Madeira, and Kyle Raulin, 20, an OSU student from West Chester Township, were among the five students killed in the April 13 blaze, which occurred after a night of partying.

A different fight that broke out earlier that night was widely reported, but police say the fight connected with the man they are now looking for was a separate incident.

Fulton Co. man year's first West Nile case

COLUMBUS - A northwest Ohio man had the first confirmed case of the West Nile virus in the state in 2003, the Ohio Department of Health said Friday.

The 43-year-old Fulton County man, whom the department did not identify, has recovered, spokesman Kristopher Weiss said.

Last year, the first human infections in Ohio were found when the state ranked third in the nation with 441 confirmed and probable cases of the disease and 31 deaths related to it.

The Fulton County case was confirmed as the virus on Friday, Weiss said. So far, no other cases are suspected, he said. Fulton County is on the Michigan border.

Weiss said health officials have confirmed the virus has been found in birds or mosquitoes in 14 Ohio counties: Ashland, Athens, Butler, Clermont, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Franklin, Geauga, Hamilton, Mahoning, Medina, Stark, Summit and Wayne.

West Nile virus can cause encephalitis and meningitis. Fewer than 1 percent of those bitten by an infected mosquito will become severely ill, health officials say.

Bond set for mom in infant son's death

HAMILTON - A Butler County judge on Friday set a $250,000 bond for a mother accused of allowing her abusive 13-year-old son to baby-sit her infant, who died from a severe blow that burst his heart.

Common Pleas Judge H.J. Bressler set the 28-year-old woman's next court appearance for Aug. 22. Indicted Wednesday on charges of child endangering and involuntary manslaughter, she remains in the county jail while her eldest son, 13, is being held in the juvenile detention center on charges of murder and child endangering. The charges stem from the June 16 death of his 13-month-old half-brother.

The woman's other three children were placed with a family friend.

Butler residents can sign up for program

HAMILTON - Low-income senior citizens in Butler County will have a second opportunity to sign up for a federal program that will offer them 40-pound food packages each month.

Supports to Encourage Low-Income Families (SELF) will accept applications for the federal Commodity Supplemental Food Program from 2 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Booker T. Washington Center on Front Street in Hamilton.

The program is authorized to serve up to 2,000 people. People must be at least 60 years old and be living at or below 130 percent of the poverty level.

People interested in applying Wednesday should bring proof of age, income and residency. Tina Osso, executive director of Shared Harvest Foodbank, a nonprofit agency in Fairfield that distributes food to the needy in Butler County, suggested that applicants bring a driver's license, a state ID card or birth certificate for proof of age; a Social Security Award letter, a check stub or retirement statement for proof of income; and a utility bill, a telephone bill or a letter from a landlord for proof of Butler County residency.

Northside woman indicted in slaying

A Northside woman is accused of planning to rob and kill a friend carrying a large amount of cash, then carrying out her plan.

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted Ashley Hammond, 19, on charges of aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery and robbery.

She is accused of killing Damin Warner, 24. Warner was found the night of Feb. 3 in the street near Hammond's home suffering from a gunshot wound. He later died at University Hospital.

Bowhunter gets jail time in man's death

LOGAN, Ohio - A bowhunter was sentenced to six months in jail for shooting the arrow that killed another hunter.

Frederick Huffman, 28, of Logan, pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the Nov. 17 death of Kary Jenkins, 31, of Circleville.




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