Charges dropped against Ohioan imprisoned 20 years
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 31 January 2014 07:14

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Charges were dismissed Thursday against a northeast Ohio man who served about 20 years in prison for a 1993 killing but maintained his innocence.

A judge ordered a new trial last year for Dewey Jones of Akron after tests showed his DNA didn't match evidence at the scene.

Prosecutors filed to dismiss the charges, noting that witnesses have died and evidence has degraded.

"We basically looked at the case as it stands today and determined that we didn't think that we could, for the second time, prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," said Jill Del Greco, a spokeswoman for the Ohio attorney general's office.

Jones told WEWS-TV he felt overwhelmed and said he knew such a day would come.

"I just never thought it would take this long," said Jones, 51. "The truth is the truth, and it always comes out."

Ohio leaders debate taxes, death penalty at forum
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 31 January 2014 07:14

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich is not eager to end the death penalty, not afraid to veto a drilling tax and not looking to push a right-to-work proposal to limit labor unions.

The first-term Republican made those stances clear in answering questions Thursday during a legislative preview session for journalists, organized by The Associated Press.

Still unknown is what he'll say in his State of the State address on Feb. 24 in Medina.

"I don't know yet," he told reporters. "But hopefully it will not be a real long talk."

State leaders including Kasich were asked about an array of policy issues facing them in the election year.

Online voter registration was among the top priorities for Secretary of State Jon Husted, also a Republican. But support for it among his fellow GOP lawmakers who dominate the Legislature remains unclear.

Panel names four finalists for Ohio utility regulator
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 31 January 2014 07:12

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The four finalists recommended for a soon-to-be-vacated seat on the Ohio commission that regulates public utilities include a former state budget director and a utility-rate administrator for the commission.

A nominating panel considered 27 applicants for the seat on the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and submitted the finalists Thursday to Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik). He can make his choice from that list or ask for a new one.

The commission will have an open seat because Chairman Todd Snitchler (SNIHCH'-lur) decided not to seek reappointment when his term expires April 10.

The finalists include two from Columbus: utility-rate administrator Patrick Donlon and Tom Johnson, who was budget director under Gov. Bob Taft. Toledo city Councilman Tom Waniewski and Cleveland lawyer Stacey Polk also made the short list.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Ohio State names California educator as president
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 31 January 2014 07:13

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State University trustees picked a California educator as the school's next president Thursday, ending a search that began with the former president's retirement following remarks critical of Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools.

Trustees voted unanimously in favor of University of California, Irvine chancellor Michael Drake to become the 15th president of Ohio State.

"Dr. Drake was the strongest and the consensus candidate," said Jeffrey Wadsworth, an Ohio State University trustee who led the search.

Drake, 63, is an ophthalmology professor who also is a published textbook author. In 2005 he was named the fifth chancellor of UC Irvine, where he also served as a professor.

Thousands attend memorial for two Toledo firefighters
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 31 January 2014 07:11

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Caskets covered by American flags sat before a crowd of several thousand as two Toledo firefighters who died while battling an apartment blaze were praised Thursday for embracing a profession in which they ran toward danger instead of away from it.

Firefighters from Ohio and around the nation gathered inside Toledo's downtown convention center to celebrate the lives and service of Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman, who died fighting a blaze inside a six-unit apartment building on Sunday.

"They deserve, and rightfully so, the title of heroes," said Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins, a former police officer.

Radio calls from the scene of the fire indicated that the pair faced rapidly deteriorating conditions once inside the burning apartment building near downtown. Firefighters found them inside, carried them out and tried unsuccessfully to save them.

Investigators have not released a cause for the fire or details about what led to the deaths. Autopsies released this week showed that Machcinski and Dickman died from burns and carbon monoxide.

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