Judge: Ohio teen competent to stand trial in fire
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 15:46

HAMILTON, Ohio (AP) — A 17-year-old Ohio boy accused of tying his parents' bedroom doors shut while they were inside and setting the house on fire has been found competent to stand trial.

He is charged as an adult with attempted aggravated murder and aggravated arson for the October fire in Liberty Township, north of Cincinnati. The judge ruled on his competency Wednesday.

Defense attorney Brad Kraemer has entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for the teenager. Kraemer declined to comment Wednesday.

Deputies say the father injured his leg jumping out of a window, and his wife was treated for smoke inhalation. Authorities say the teen apparently was upset that his laptop computer was taken away.

The Associated Press isn't identifying the teen or his family because of his age.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Man's sister jailed over comment in Ohio courtroom
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:23

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Cincinnati woman was ordered to spend 30 days in jail because a police officer said he overheard her making an insulting comment after her brother's sentencing for assaulting and robbing a developmentally disabled woman.

Rhonda Bailey was sent to jail Tuesday by the same judge that sentenced her brother Harry Bailey to 24 years in prison. He was convicted in February on charges of burglary, robbery and felonious assault in the attack last year on the woman who was his neighbor in an apartment building.

"When he was hurting me, I told him I did not want to die," the woman, Shawntelle Miller, wrote to Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman. "I told him I did not want to die. He then balled both his fists up, punched me and said he wanted to kill me."

Police said Bailey robbed her of $80.

Ohio governor OKs ban on e-cigarette sales to kids
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 07:30

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich has signed a bill that aims to keep electronic cigarettes out of the hands of those under age 18.

E-cigarettes are battery-powered devices that provide users with aerosol puffs that typically contain nicotine, and sometimes flavorings like fruit, mint or chocolate. Users get their nicotine without the thousands of chemicals, tar or odor of regular cigarettes.

The measure signed on Tuesday would prohibit minors from obtaining, possessing and using the products.

Groups such as the Ohio State Medical Association have questioned the legislation because it defines the items as "alternative nicotine products" rather than tobacco-derived products. The organization has said the new category could exempt the products from taxation laws that govern tobacco.

Kasich also signed a bill to rename portions of several highways.

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

State reports record-low Ohio prisoner return rate
Written by ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:21

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Fewer Ohio prisoners than ever are going back to prison after they've been released, the state announced Wednesday, attributing the drop to community programs that work with newly released prisoners, and new prison units that prepare people for life outside bars.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Correction says the current inmate return rate of 27.1 percent, down from 28.7 percent a year ago, is far below the national rate of 40 to 44 percent.

The rate affects not just the prison system's bottom line but the bigger goal of reducing crime in Ohio, prisons director Gary Mohr said.

"If our people being released from prison are committing less offenses, then we have less crime victims," Mohr told The Associated Press. "I think that's the most important piece."

Saving money on prison operations also means more state dollars can be spent earlier in people's lives on things like education, he added.

Seven Ohioans charged with scamming elderly residents
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 07:28

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Attorney General Mike DeWine says seven Ohioans are charged in a scam that targeted senior citizens and allegedly involved someone impersonating DeWine.

A Ross County grand jury indicted five men and two women on charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, theft from an elderly person, conspiracy and telecommunications fraud.

The suspects are from Circleville, Derby and Stoutsville. It's not clear if they all have attorneys.

DeWine says they also impersonated lawyers and judges while stealing about $400,000 from six victims in Ross, Pickaway and Hocking counties since 2011.

Prosecutors say some victims were told a defendant was expecting money from a lawsuit and they'd get interest on their investment by helping with legal fees. Authorities say others were told they stood to inherit millions after paying fees.

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

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