City council asks Gov. to close halfway house

Posted by Trina Kinstler - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Members of Cincinnati City Council are asking Gov. Ted Strickland to close a local halfway house where a murder suspect lived.

Anthony Kirkland, 40, is accused of brutally murdering Esme Kenney, 13, over the weekend.

The letter states that Kirkland was sentenced to a year in prison and then to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections' Halfway House at the Volunteers of America's Pogue Rehabilitation Center in Over the Rhine for one year in 2007 after he solicited a 13-year-old girl for sex.

Kirkland was expelled from the Pogue facility on Feb. 27 of this year after he allegedly got into a fight with another inmate. According to the letter, Kirkland's parole officer was not notified of the incident until three days later.

Chris Lohrman, president of Volunteers of America, said the staff did call police after the incident, but the other man refused to press charges.

"The other individual refused to file charges, so because of that (Kirkland) was not placed under arrest, but he was escorted and led from the facility," said Lohrman

Kirkland was wanted for a stabbing when he was arrested for the murder of Esme Kenney. Court records say on March 1, Kirkland had broken into the home of the man he had the altercation with and repeatedly stabbed him with scissors.

Council is asking Gov. Strickland to close the Pogue Center and relocate current residents to another facility and to also launch an investigation into its operations.

<"I will not stop until this center is closed and we have this problem addressed," said councilman Chris Monzel.

Police are investigating whether or not Kirkland is responsible for three other murders, but Hamilton County coroner Dr. O'dell Owens said in a press conference Tuesday that he would have to admit to those killings, because there's no other way to connect him to them.