Thursday, June 3, 2004

Public safety briefs

Butler County mother to stand trial in death

HAMILTON - A Butler County judge on Wednesday found a 29-year-old mother competent to stand trial on charges that she set the fire that killed her 7-month-old son.

Common Pleas Judge Matthew J. Crehan made the ruling in the case of Aimee Leonard based on a psychologist's report, said Glenn Rossi, Butler County chief assistant prosecutor.

Held in the Butler County Jail, Leonard is accused of involuntary manslaughter and child endangering in the death of her son, Justin A. Johnson Jr. She escaped from their burning trailer in Madison Township but left the child inside on Feb. 4, authorities allege.

The Ohio Fire Marshal's Office ruled the blaze arson. Court records say fire marshal's investigators found evidence that two separate fires were set inside the trailer.

Bibles used as shields now up for auction

HAMILTON - For sale to the highest bidder: a pair of Bibles that may have saved someone's life.

The books, which a woman used to shield herself from a 1994 knife attack, are among the more unusual items being offered at the city Police Department's annual property-room clearance auction.

"The word of God saved her from serious injury," said Officer Dave Crawford, police spokesman. But the books' owners have never stepped forward to claim them, so they are going on the auction block this week.

Potential buyers may preview items at 9 a.m. Friday at police headquarters on South Front Street. Bidding begins at 10 a.m., with Worley Auctioneers wielding the gavel.

Information: 868-5811, ext. 1156.

Inmate's lawsuit says women being cheated

An inmate in the Hamilton County Justice Center sued Sheriff Simon L. Leis Jr. Wednesday, claiming women are discriminated against because they are prohibited from participating in certain jail work details available to men.

In her complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Romniah Blanks, 24, of Avondale - who is serving a 180-day sentence for receiving stolen property- says female inmates are not allowed to participate in "3-for-1" work details. Inmates who participate can have their sentences reduced by three days for every day they work, according to the complaint.

Blanks has been allowed to participate in a 2-for-1 details, but was informed that women are not eligible for 3-for-1 details because "women socialize too much," according to the complaint.

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