Friday, July 14, 2000

Charge lessened in beating, death




By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — A Campbell County grand jury surprised Assistant Commonwealth Attorney Jack Porter Thursday by returning an indictment of first-degree manslaughter against Thomas Wayne Back.

        Mr. Back had been charged with murder in the beating and death of 80-year-old Eugene Schulkers of Dayton and was bound over to the grand jury on that charge.

        However, the members of the grand jury, in the indictment returned Thursday, said Mr. Back “committed the offense of manslaughter 1st degree by intentionally causing the death of Eugene Schulkers by beating and while acting under extreme emotional disturbance.”

        Mr. Porter said Thursday he had not expected the lesser charge from the grand jury. However, he will follow its lead and prosecute Mr. Back for manslaughter, he said.

        Newport police said Mr. Back, 21, beat and stomped Mr. Schulkers in the public restroom at James Taylor Park on June 5, reportedly after Mr. Schulkers made a remark to Mr. Back. Mr. Schulkers' neck was broken and he died June 14 at St. Luke Hospital East in Fort Thomas.

        Newport Police Chief Thomas Fromme said he could not comment on what exchange was made between Mr. Schulkers and Mr. Back because it would be part of the case at trial.

        He would not comment on the lesser indictment.

        Police said Mr. Back, of Covington, originally told officers that an African-American man beat Mr. Schulkers. Officers said he then changed his story, saying a man he had been drinking with in the park committed the act. Police arrested and later released that suspect.

        Officers who interviewed Mr. Schulkers in the hospital said they determined that Mr. Back was the assailant.

       



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