Wednesday, July 12, 2000

Tristate A.M. Report


Man charged with setting fire to own home
        GREEN TWP. — A man faces an aggravated arson charge for a fire that seriously damaged his own house.

        Kevin Turner, 24, was arrested early Tuesday after, investigators say, he admitted pouring gasoline on the family room floor and setting it on fire. The house, at 5674 Brandtmanor Drive in Bridgetown, sustained $60,000 to $70,000 damage, fire officials said.

        Firefighters responded shortly after 8 p.m. Monday and had the fire out within about 15 minutes. No one was hurt.

Jury has murder case involving ex-deputy
        The jury in Owen Hobbs' murder trial went home Tuesday without reaching a verdict.

        The 12 jurors deliberated for about a half-hour before deciding to break for the day. They will return to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court today to decide the fate of Mr. Hobbs, who is accused of killing Rashawn Berry.

        Prosecutors say Mr. Hobbs, a former Hamilton County sheriff's deputy, shot and killed Mr. Berry after a brief argument in front of the victim's apartment in Silverton.

        They have said Mr. Hobbs may have thought Mr. Berry was the boyfriend of his ex-wife, who lives in the same building.

        Mr. Berry's attorney, Perry Ancona, told jurors his client is innocent. He said Mr. Berry was in the area because he was going to a nearby post office.

Tickets on sale for new Super Lotto Plus
        Tickets are on sale for the Ohio Lottery's new Super Lotto Plus, which replaces Super Lotto.

        The first drawing is Saturday. There will be regular drawings on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

        Super Lotto Plus allows players to choose six numbers out of a field of 49, vs. a field of 47 in the old game. The cost per wager remains at $1.

        Lottery officials draw six numbers, and then draw a Bonus Ball from the remaining numbers. Players who match the first six numbers drawn win the jackpot, which starts at $4 million and increases at least $1 million after each drawing.

        The Bonus Ball can increase the award for those who match three, four or five numbers.

        “The odds of the new game will be approximately 1 in 13 million,” said acting Lottery Director Dennis Kennedy. “The overall odds of winning any of the prizes offered will be 1 in 451, as opposed to 1 in 856” for Super Lotto.

        This will mean more winners, he said.

Tenants escape blaze in Toledo apartments
        TOLEDO — Residents of a large downtown apartment building safely escaped a fire that broke out Tuesday.

        The fire burned for about three hours before firefighters brought it under control.

        Four firefighters suffered minor injuries; three were treated for smoke inhalation.

        The fire apparently started on the third floor and spread to the roof. Fire investigators were looking into the cause.

        About 70 people lived in the building. One woman had to be rescued by ladder.

        Flames shot out of the roof and through windows on the third floor. Clouds of smoke rolled over downtown.

        Much of the building sustained water and smoke damage.

Cop found guilty on prostitution charge
        TOLEDO — A Toledo police officer and her husband were found guilty Tuesday of promoting prostitution.

        They were accused of operat ing a prostitution ring in their home. Investigators said the couple and the man's 19-year-old daughter were having sex with clients found through pornographic magazines.

        Officer Carol Ann Speaks, 42, pleaded no contest to two counts of promoting prostitution. James Speaks pleaded no contest to two counts of promoting prostitution and one count of money laundering.

        Both could spend time in jail or face probation when they are sentenced Aug. 9.

        Sarah Speaks, 19, pleaded no contest to procuring prostitution.

        Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre said if Officer Speaks does not resign, she will be fired next week at disciplinary hearing.

Man guilty of beating roommate to death
        NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio — A Tuscarawas County man pleaded guilty to murder Tuesday in the beating death of his roommate and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.

        Chad Smucker, 24, of Uhrichsville pleaded guilty in the December death of Roy Lantzer, 49, who had been beaten with a hammer, bottle and other items over four days.

        Judge Elizabeth Lehigh Thomakos of Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court sentenced Mr. Smucker. As part of the plea, she dismissed charges of aggravated murder and aggravated arson.

        Police said Mr. Smucker was upset that Mr. Lantzer, a severe arthritis sufferer, had left around urine-filled bottles used to relieve himself.

Superintendent rescinds band ban
        WADSWORTH, Ohio — School administrators responded to pleas from parents and students by allowing a high school marching band to keep making out-of-state trips.

        School board members were considering a proposal that would prohibit the Wadsworth High School band from participating in distant competitions because of a 40-person decline in its membership during the past four years.

        But several of the more than 90 Marching Grizzlies and their parents lobbied this weekend through posters, petitions and letters to Charles R. Parsons, superintendent of schools in this town west of Akron.

        Nearly 300 supporters celebrated Monday's decision by the school board.

        “Superintendents must do what they believe is right, even though it might not be popular,” Mr. Parsons said. “But they must also listen to those affected by their recommendations.”

Tattered Civil War flag may be restored
        WOOSTER, Ohio — The Wayne County Historical Society is investigating the possibility of restoring a pennant-shaped flag that was carried into Civil War battles.

        The silk flag bearing hand-painted stars was used by the 16th Ohio Volunteer Infantry and was last carried at a battle in 1862.

        In recent years, those who work with the society's collections have noted the flag is deteriorating rapidly, probably from acid absorbed from the paper it is displayed against in its frame.

        The group has started contacting professional conservators around the country to determine if the flag can be restored.

        The cost, however, may be prohibitive, the Daily Record reported Monday.

        Jeff Musselman, a Civil War re-enactor, researcher and historical society board member, said the cost could be more than $2,500.

        Clifford Cotterman, curator of collections for the society, said he has reservations about attempting work on the flag.

        “I don't think they'd better touch it,” Mr. Cotterman said. “That flag is in very poor condition, and I don't know if we ought to even open the case that it's in.”

        Wooster is about 50 miles southwest of Cleveland.


AME church gets 1st woman bishop
“Average Joe” robber might be man in custody
Convict thinks DNA test will set him free
Agency gets new boss
Builders have eye on prime city parcel
Car crash blamed on passenger
Lightning victim remains critical
Teaching kids how to manage conflict
Business group urges Covington action
Kentucky News Briefs
Homefest 2000 reveals how the other half lives
CROWLEY: Mayor's check
KIESEWETTER: 'Backstory' looks behind the old-movie scenes
Alligator rescued, so some thought
Avoiding inheritance hassles
Chemical for pool suspected in car fire
Cooling donations relieve summer suffering
French consul to visit Montgomery
Hamilton likely to OK park road
Man robs W. Chester Provident
Mayor of Ludlow vows to battle ouster
On-street parking loses out to $8 million grant in Lebanon
Residents stand up for embattled chief
Suit filed on behalf of animals
Teacher put on suspension
Telecom spending cut for now
Warren County OKs deal for brake maker
Zoo worker accused of stealing stuffed animals from gift shop
Get to it
Pig Parade: Pigliacci
- Tristate A.M. Report