Baker jury chosen; trial begins today

Wednesday, May 20, 1998

WILMINGTON, Ohio -- Five women and seven men -- all white and most middle-aged -- were sworn in Tuesday as jurors for the trial of Tracey Baker, accused of helping his half brother, Vincent Doan, cover up Carrie Culberson's death.

The jurors and two alternates, a man and a woman, toured several sites Tuesday afternoon, including Mr. Baker's home, a gray pickup and Mr. Doan's 1996 home.

Opening statements in the trial are scheduled for 9 a.m. today. Mr. Baker is charged with two counts of obstructing justice, one count of tampering with evidence and one count of gross abuse of a corpse. He was indicted last year after Mr. Doan's trial.

Ms. Culberson, 22, has been missing since August 1996. Her body has never been found.

Police pursuit ends with injuries, charges

SHARONVILLE -- A short police pursuit at speeds exceeding 100 mph Monday evening resulted in minor injuries to the driver of a car that crashed into a truck trailer and caught fire, police said.

David Saunders, 23, of Centennial Avenue, Blue Ash, has been charged with fleeing and eluding police, speeding and driving while under suspension.

Felony drug charges are pending in Union Township, Butler County, where Mr. Saunders wrecked his car. Police said 141 grams of marijuana were in the car.

Sharonville Police Officer Chad Griffith said he pursued Mr. Saunders on Mosteller Road north to Crescentville Road, where Mr. Saunders' 1990 Oldsmobile crossed the road, and went through a fence and partly under a tractor-trailer rig parked in a lot there. The car caught fire. Mr. Saunders was able to get out, and was treated at Bethesda North Hospital and released, police said.

Woman could get 8 years for prison smuggling

LEBANON -- An 18-year-old Columbus woman faces up to eight years in prison after she pleaded guilty Monday to possession of 24 grams of crack cocaine that she tried to give to an inmate in the Lebanon Correctional Institution, police say.

Elizabeth Coffee, who was arrested when investigators found drugs on her person after she entered the prison's visitation area, entered the guilty plea in Warren County Common Pleas Court, the Ohio Statre Highway Patrol said.

Ms. Coffee was searched by prison officers Oct. 10 after they learned by monitoring telephone calls that she intended to take drugs into the prison.

Ms. Coffee faces a mandatory prison term of two to eight years in prison and a minimum mandatory fine of $7,500.

Clinics say over 50% of patients uninsured

A group of seven health clinics that serve the working poor reported Tuesday that for the first time, more than half of their patients were uninsured.

The percentage of uninsured patients at the Cincinnati Health Network grew from 33.4 percent in 1994 to 51 percent in 1997. The centers, which serve about 33,000 patients combined, are in the East End, West End, Winton Hills, Mount Auburn, Walnut Hills, Lincoln Heights and Over-the-Rhine.

Fiscal problems caused by treating more uninsured people resulted in service cuts at two clinics last year. No further cuts have occurred this year because the network hopes to benefit from a state program to cover more children under Medicaid.

City seeks funding to clean up lead

After kick-starting the city's lead paint abatement program last year, Cincinnati officials are seeking another $3 million federal grant to clean up lead-contaminated homes.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) would be part of a rental rehabilitation program managed by the city.

Cincinnati won $6 million in 1993 to fix lead hazards in 350 homes. But by July 1997 -- four months after the grant deadline had passed -- no homes had been repaired.

As of Tuesday, 45 units have been fixed and work has begun at 28 more.

Police charge mother, son with man's murder

COLUMBUS -- Police say a man struck his father on the head with a skillet before strangling him in a plot involving his mother.

Detective Edward Kallay would not speculate Tuesday on a motive for the killing, which investigators said was planned for five months.

Kathleen Witte, 43, and Kevin P. Witte, 18, are charged with aggravated murder in the death of Richard A. Witte, 50, whose body was found Sunday in the bed of a pickup parked at a U.S. 23 rest stop in Marion County.

Mother and son are in jail awaiting a May 27 court hearing.

Local Headlines For Wednesday, May 20, 1998

3rd emergency radio vote pushed
Ballot change tests turnout
CAC builds new season on construction theme
City tax repeal doubtful, but stay tuned
Colin Powell wows Worldfest crowd
Corporex zoning change fails
County issues $273M in stadium bonds
Death's reality makes impact
Deerfield firm on splitting fire dept.
Fisher touts training at Great Oaks
Franklin situation familiar to police
GOP contenders tout differences
JFK'S Air Force One earns rest
Judge Dinkelacker assigned Flynt trial
Lucas to barnstorm through 22 counties of House district
Lucas-Feinberg debate: Past vs. promise
MSD cancels $15,000 30th birthday celebration
NAACP endorses selection
Police mobilize for officer's funeral
Rival cites Corporex advantage
Shooter expected to testify contract was to do a killing
State moving to ban some local taxes on utilities
Tillery: Divide party's top job
Tri-Ed picks a new leader
Victim was in snare of drugs
Woman alleging rape takes stand in ex-chief's trial