Double murder standoff suspect indicted on multiple charges but avoids death penalty

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - The man accused of fatally shooting two women in the head, including a blind one he held hostage during a SWAT standoff, and firing at law enforcement officers faces a multi-count indictment but has avoided the death penalty.

James Geran, 45, pleaded not guilty Monday to four new charges in addition to the original murder count he was arrested on last month.

He also now is charged with aggravated murder, felonious assault, improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation and having weapons while under disability.

Butler County Prosecutor Mike Gmoser said all options were presented to the grand jury. But they declined to indict on the death penalty specification.

"I am not permitted to discuss its reasoning. That will become clear as evidence is made public along with legal analysis that can be discussed then.

Geran's bond remains $4 million. He is held at the Butler County Jail and is scheduled to return to court July 26.

The convicted felon is charged in a June 12-13 crime spree.

Sheriff: Double murder suspect in standoff will face several charges

Geran is accused of shooting and killing Maegan Motter, 27, of Middletown the evening of June 12.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones has said they were business associates in "a criminal activity business." He stopped short of confirming it was drug-related, saying "You can read between the lines."

Passerbys discovered Motter's body dumped off the side of Woodson Road in Madison Township early June 13.

Just a few hours later, sheriff's detectives investigating her homicide identified Geran as a person of interest.

They tracked him down at his girlfriend's mother's Trenton apartment.

They went there to simply talk to him, Jones has said. They did not have an arrest warrant for him at that point.

But as soon as they knocked on the door, Geran opened fire, Jones has said.

A deputy fired back in self-defense and retreated.

No one was hurt, but a SWAT standoff ensued.

It was one that came to a deadly end.

Jones said Geran held his girlfriend's mother, Sharon McCleary, 63, his girlfriend and her sister inside McCleary's apartment for more than two hours.

His girlfriend's sister managed to escape on her own, according to Jones.

Geran released his girlfriend just before noon and shot her mother in the head.

He walked out of the apartment and turned the gun on himself in a failed suicide attempt, the sheriff has said.

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