Thursday, May 20, 2004

Public safety briefs

Gun found in house where man was killed

HAMILTON - Police think that a Liberty Township man indicted Wednesday in a fatal shooting hid the weapon at an acquaintance's house.

Police found the .38-caliber gun inside a Liberty Township home on Tuesday night, a week after Chad Re, 25, was shot in the back of the head in the basement of that house. He died the next day.

Tests will determine if the gun is the one used to kill Re.

A Butler County grand jury on Wednesday indicted Craig Anderson, 36, on charges of aggravated murder, kidnapping, complicity to tampering with evidence and possession of a dangerous ordnance. He is jailed in Hamilton County.

Thomas E. Cottle, 48, of Reading, was indicted on charges of murder, kidnapping, felonious assault and possession of a sawed-off shotgun. Demetrius Brazile, 22, and Roy J. Clark, 48, both of Lockland, were indicted on charges of tampering with evidence. Cottle and Clark remain in the Butler County Jail. Brazile is free on bond.

The case against Toni Kessinger, 51, charged with drug abuse and failing to report a crime, will not be taken to a grand jury, authorities said.

Father arrested in death of infant son

COVINGTON - Homicide investigators arrested a Corryville man Wednesday in the February death of his 2-month-old son in Northern Kentucky.

Alonzo Ward, 21, of the 200 block of East McMillan Street will be arraigned this morning in Kenton District Court on a single murder charge. He was being held at the Kenton County jail on no bond.

Ward called 911 on Feb. 24 to say his son was having trouble breathing. Emergency medical personnel responded to an apartment at the Jacob Price housing complex in Covington. The infant, whose name was not released, later died.

Ward maintained residences at Jacob Price and in Cincinnati.

A medical examiner ruled the child died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Traficant loses get-out-of-prison try

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the conviction of former U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. on Wednesday, rejecting his claims of double jeopardy and an unfair jury selection process.

Traficant, who was ousted from Congress in 2002 after his conviction, is serving an eight-year sentence for bribery, racketeering and fraud in a New York prison. He had represented the Youngstown area for nine terms.

Attorney Richard Kerger, who represents Traficant, said he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Traficant claimed in his appeal that he was tried twice for the same crimes - by federal prosecutors and the U.S. House of Representatives.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Traficant was tried first in federal court, and if he wanted to make a double jeopardy claim he should have challenged the congressional hearing.

The court also disagreed with Traficant's argument that double jeopardy applies across the three branches of government.

"Traficant's theory would shield would-be felons - who just so happen to sit in Congress - from criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice," the three-judge appeals panel wrote.

Traficant also alleged that the way the jury was selected in his trial in Cleveland gave the government an advantage because the pool of prospective jurors didn't include residents from his congressional district.

The appeals court ruled that Traficant had the opportunity to challenge the jury selection process, but filed his challenge five days after the trial judge's deadline for pretrial motions.

Traficant represented himself at trial, although he is not a lawyer.

"Neither the defendant's self-representation nor the constitutional nature of the filing requires the district court to overlook its tardiness," the appeals court wrote.

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