Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Tristate A.M. Report

Couple charged with pandering obscenity

Enquirer staff and news services

        An Anderson Township couple was indicted Monday on charges of pandering obscenity.

        Alan Dute, 61 and his wife, Jennifer Dute, 31, both of 800 Asbury Road, were indicted on eight counts in connection with videos and other evidence seized at their business, A&J Specialties.

        The search warrant was served March 21.

        Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said the pair sold pornographic videos by mail “despite a court order prohibiting such sales to or from Hamilton County.”

        Authorities said sales were made Feb. 11, March 4, March 7, and March 21.

        Officials said the Dutes pleaded guilty to similar charges two years ago.

        If convicted of these most recent charges, each could be sentenced to up to four years in prison and their company could be fined $40,000.

Blind vendor claims man lied about money
        A West Chester man was indicted Monday on two counts of theft from a disabled person after he allegedly stole money from a blind snack bar clerk in Hamilton County Courthouse.

        Mario Riep, 22, faces up to one year on each count.

        Mr. Riep allegedly tricked Kent Parker, who is legally blind, into believing he'd been given a $20 bill when Mr. Riep had actually tendered a $1.

        Mr. Parker gave Mr. Riep change for a $20 after each incident, but became suspicious the second time and kept the bill Mr. Riep gave him. He asked another worker to identify the bill.

        The thefts occurred March 19 and 20, officials said, while Mr. Riep was in the courthouse performing court-ordered community service.

Boy remains critical after falling into pond
        GREEN TOWNSHIP — A 2-year-old remained in critical condition at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Monday after falling into a small backyard pond Sunday.

        The unidentified boy was playing in a relative's yard on Brunnerwood Drive when he fell into the pond, Hamilton County sheriff's deputies said.

        Family members found the toddler in the water several minutes later and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

        The incident remains under investigation.

Council will meet about team approach
               Cincinnati City Council's Neighborhood and Public Works Committee will hold a special meeting 7 p.m. Monday to discuss a city program that puts city staffers on teams to solve neighborhood problems.

        Some council members have criticized the program, called the Cincinnati Neighborhood Action Strategy, for “failing to be a source of improvement and responsiveness in many neighborhoods.”

        The meeting will be at the Corryville Recreation Center, 2823 Eden Ave.

Ohio board wrestles with course guidelines
        COLUMBUS — Thousands of people, including parents, professors and preachers, from Ohio and elsewhere have sent the state letters, e-mails or petitions about what public schoolchildren should be taught about life's origins and diversity.

        The state Board of Education, which is trying to decide whether to teach alternatives to evolution, released its second draft of science curriculum guidelines.

        In the second draft of the new grade-by-grade science standards, evolution remains the only explanation for life that students should learn.

        Some board members have asked the 41-member team writing the standards to include alternative ideas as well as evolution, the dominant concept based on Charles Darwin's research. Among the other concepts is intelligent design, or the idea that life must have been designed because it is so complex.

        As of Friday, the board had collected 912 comments from people in more than a dozen other states, Canada and Portugal about the first draft of the science standards. All but 109 of the documents specifically speak to evolution.

Man holds off police at girlfriend's home
               DAYTON — A man crashed his car into his girlfriend's apartment early Monday, then held police at bay for several hours, officers said.

        Mark A. Poston, 31, of Moraine, drove his car into his girlfriend's apartment about 3 a.m., crumbling the brick facade and smashing the front door, according to the Miami Township Police Department. He got out of the car and entered the apartment with a pit bull.

        When police arrived, Mr. Poston refused to come out, and waved a knife at officers. His girlfriend and her roommate were inside.

        Officers evacuated adjoining apartments. About 90 minutes later, the woman came out of the apartment unharmed, police said.

        At 5:15 a.m., Mr. Poston leftthe apartment and was arrested. The roommate inside unharmed.

        Mr. Poston was charged with aggravated burglary.

Convicted murderer gets clemency hearing
               COLUMBUS — The Ohio Adult Parole Board will hold a clemency hearing next Tuesday for Alton Coleman, who is scheduled to be executed on April 29 for the murder of a Greater Cincinnati woman in 1984.

        Mr. Coleman, 46, will not be permitted to attend the hearing. His lawyers will plead his case before the board, state prisons spokeswoman Andrea Dean said.

        The board then will advise Gov. Bob Taft of their recommendation. Mr. Taft can reduce sentence or allow the execution to proceed.

        Mr. Coleman would be the fourth inmate to be executed in Taft's three years as governor. He denied clemency to Wilford Berry, who was executed in 1999; Jay D. Scott, who was put to death last June; and John W. Byrd Jr., who died by injection on Feb. 19.

        Mr. Coleman was convicted of two murders in Greater Cincinnati. Authorities say Mr. Coleman and accomplice Debra Brown assaulted and abducted 20 people, killing at least seven, in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. Ms. Brown's death sentence was commuted to life in prison by then-Gov. Richard Celeste in 1990.

Traficant's tactics upset prosecutor
               CLEVELAND — U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., struggling to produce defense witnesses in his bribery and corruption trial, tried to call a witness on Monday that the judge had already ruled out.

        Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Morford complained that Rep. Traficant was calling witnesses that he knows will be ruled out of order simply to create the impression that his defense is being unfairly constrained.

        Mr. Traficant, although he's not a lawyer, is defending himself against charges of taking kickbacks from staff members, accepting gifts and free labor from businessmen for his political help and filing false tax returns.

        He faces up to 63 years in prison if convicted of all 10 counts against him. However, he probably would receive a much shorter sentence because of federal sentencing guidelines.

        Traficant, a nine-term Democrat from northeast Ohio, says he is the victim of a government vendetta and that federal agents have bullied witnesses into testifying falsely. U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells has ruled that he cannot raise these points before the jury unless he has some proof.


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