Saturday, May 15, 2004

Five charged in fatal shooting

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WEST CHESTER TWP. - Chad Michael Re, 25, a mortgage broker, left his office about 7 p.m. Tuesday. Two hours later, he ended up sitting alone in the passenger seat of his car in Monroe, shot in the head.

Now five suspects have been charged in what police say was an "execution-style" shooting and cover-up.

"We're baffled, too," Jeanne Re, his stepmother, said Friday. "We have no idea who these people are. We have no idea why he was with these people."

West Chester and Butler County detectives said an unusual chain of events led them Thursday to arrest the suspects in Re's death, but they wouldn't disclose details of the crime or a possible motive.

Craig Anderson, 36, of Liberty Township, faces charges of aggravated murder and kidnapping. Thomas E. Cottle, 48, of Reading, is accused of complicity to aggravated murder and kidnapping.

Toni L. Kessinger, 51, of Liberty Township, is charged with drug abuse and failure to report a crime.

And two Lockland men, Demetrius Brazile, 22, and Roy J. Clark, 48, are charged with tampering with evidence and failure to report a crime.

Anderson was jailed in the Hamilton County Justice Center; the others were being held in the Butler County Jail on Friday. All five are to appear in Butler County Area III Court, West Chester, on Monday.

Re, of Liberty Township, died Wednesday. Monroe police found him wounded in a car about 9 p.m. Tuesday. Re told officers he had been attacked at a United Dairy Farmers store in West Chester.

But detectives don't think Re was there.

Instead, officers said, they learned that Re had been shot in the basement of a home in the 7400 block of Cedarcrest Drive in Liberty Township.

Kessinger and Anderson, who police said is her boyfriend, live at the home. The victim and the other suspects sometimes stayed there, police said.

Investigators gathered evidence from Kessinger's home and from Cottle's residence in Reading.

Officers would not discuss the reason for the kidnapping charges.

After Re was shot, Brazile drove Re's white 2002 Honda Accord to the 100 block of Main Street in Monroe and parked it there, leaving Re inside, police said. Investigators said Brazile was the man who used a cell phone to call 911 at 9:07 p.m. Tuesday.

"I've got a man over here, he's been shot," the caller told a dispatcher. The caller, who identified himself as "John Smith," says he simply noticed the victim as he drove past in another vehicle. "I'm just trying to get this guy some help," he said.

When a dispatcher asked the caller to stay until emergency crews arrived, the caller said, "I was on my way somewhere, and I'm gonna be late." He indicated that the victim's name was Chad, and said he didn't think the victim was badly hurt. "It was just a graze," the caller said, "but he's in pain."

Besides his stepmother, Jeanne, and father, Frank, of Liberty Township, Re is survived by his mother, Lisa Phipps of Lawrenceburg, a brother, Jason, and five half-siblings.

Jeanne Re described the family as close-knit. She said Chad was especially close to his father. "He never went a day without telling his dad he loved him," Mrs. Re said.

Chad Re left Lakota High School in 1999 and held various jobs until he was hired about four months ago by Midwest Financial and Mortgage, Mrs. Re said.

Mass of Christian burial is 11 a.m. today at St. Simon the Apostle Church, Delhi Township. Vitt, Stermer & Anderson Funeral Home handled arrangements.


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