Thursday, September 21, 2000

Man arrested in woman's death

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — City police on Wednesday arrested a suspect in Butler County's sole unsolved homicide of 1999.

        Randy Young, 37, a convicted burglar who was on parole at the time of the slaying, was arrested at a Cincinnati halfway house on charges of murder, felonious assault and gross abuse of a corpse. A Butler grand jury's indictment was released just prior to Mr. Young's arrest.

        Mr. Young, of Hamilton, is accused in the death of Tammy Esther McClellan of Hanover Township, a 36-year-old mother of two whose body was found April 10, 1999, in Hamilton's Crawford Woods Park. She died from the combined effects of cocaine use and a physical attack, the county coroner has ruled.

        Police say Mr. Young, who was released on his third parole last month, killed Ms. McClellan during his second parole. Records show Hamilton police arrested him on a parole violation 10 days after Ms. McClellan's body was found, but police on Wednesday would not say whether they considered him a suspect at that time. Mr. Young was returned to the Ohio prison system where he remained until his release to a McMicken Street halfway house on Aug. 21.

        Ms. McClellan's mother, Shirley Simpson of Hamilton, said she did not know who Mr. Young was. “I'm very happy that they got somebody,” she said Wednesday, sobbing. “Of course it won't bring her back, and it's still hard.”

        Family members are still seeking donations to a fund in Ms. McClellan's name at First National Bank of Southwestern Ohio to cover $2,000 in funeral expenses.

        As a result of Wednesday's arrest, police say they consider all 11 Butler homicides from last year solved. (Trenton resident Brian Duff's unsolved slaying occurred in 1999 but is registered to Montgomery County, where he died in a hospital after being shot in Middletown.)

        Some of Ms. McClellan's loved ones had begun to lose faith that police would solve her 17-month-old case, and they were frustrated that detectives gave little information, Ms. Simpson said. But Ms. Simpson said she understood why police were tight-lipped, “and I told them to take however much time they needed.”

        Police Chief Neil Ferdelman, in a news release, commended Detectives James Cifuentes and James Calhoun for their dedication to “seeing this case through to the end.” Their investigation was continuing despite Wednesday's arrest, police said.

        Mr. Young began serving a three- to 15-year burglary sentence in 1993 and was first paroled in 1996. He violated parole and was returned to prison in May 1997. His second parole began in August 1998 and ended after Hamilton police arrested him April 20, 1999, for an unspecified parole violation.

        That arrest occurred at the East Avenue home of Beverly Mae Lawrence, whom police identified as Mr. Young's ex-girlfriend. Ms. Lawrence, then 37, was accused of lying to police about Mr. Young's whereabouts.

        She was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of obstructing official business and was ordered to complete two years of nonreporting probation.


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