Friday, June 6, 1997
Records suggest Doan's motive
Culberson was to testify against him

BY LISA DONOVAN
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WILMINGTON - Carrie Culberson may have been killed to keep her from testifying in an assault case against former boyfriend Vincent Doan, according to Clinton County court documents.

Details of that assault case are part of the murder case prosecutors will pursue against Mr. Doan.

Mr. Doan is to be arraigned in the Clinton County Court today. He is being held at the Warren County Justice Center because of overcrowding in the Clinton County facility. A source close to the investigation said prosecutors will oppose bond for Mr. Doan.

In July 1996 - a month before Ms. Culberson was kidnapped and killed - she had filed a misdemeanor charge of assault against Mr. Doan, Clinton County Assistant Prosecutor Rick Moyer said.

"She had a criminal case pending against (Vincent Doan) at the time she was murdered," Mr. Moyer said.

Mr. Moyer said Ms. Culberson was considered a witness in that case.

A judge later dismissed the charges because Ms. Culberson, the complaining witness, was not present.

Ms. Culberson's mother, Debbie Culberson, also had brought charges against Mr. Doan before her daughter's disappearance last summer. They included misdemeanor charges of assault, aggravated menacing, criminal trespassing and criminal damage. Mrs. Culberson later dropped the charges because she thought there might have been a link between the charges and Carrie's disappearance.

In March, she refiled the charges.

Mr. Doan, 24, was indicted Wednesday on two counts of aggravated murder - aggravated murder and aggravated murder in the commission of a felony (kidnapping), which makes him eligible for the death penalty - and four counts of kidnapping.

The indictment notes Ms. Culberson was scheduled to be a witness. The aggravating circumstances it lists include allegations that Mr. Doan did "purposely and with prior calculation and design, cause the death" of Ms. Culberson.

Mr. Doan's attorney, John Rion, maintains his client is innocent. He said the murder charges are a delaying tactic, because prosecutors weren't prepared for the original kidnapping trial against Mr. Doan, which was set for Monday.

In March, a Clinton County grand jury handed up a four-count indictment containing charges of kidnapping against Mr. Doan. Ms. Culberson, 22, of Blanchester, was last seen in the early morning hours of Aug. 29. Neither she nor her 1989 red Honda CRX have been seen since.

Prosecutors say a witness saw Mr. Doan punch Ms. Culberson in the face between 12:30 and 1 a.m. Aug. 29, near Mr. Doan's Blanchester home.

Mr. Rion recently filed a "notice of alibi" for his client, stating Mr. Doan was at his home in Blanchester, then at a friend's home between 12:30 and 1:30 a.m. Aug. 29.