Standoff suspect pleads guilty to murdering 2 women

Standoff suspect pleads guilty to murdering 2 women
James Geran is charged in the shooting deaths of two women. (Butler County Sheriff's Office)

HAMILTON, OH (FOX19) - The man accused of fatally shooting two women in the head and firing at law enforcement officers pleaded guilty Monday.

James Geran, 45, admitted to charges of aggravated murder and murder and now will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.

An aggravated murder conviction is punishable by life in prison without parole or with after at least 20 years.

A murder conviction is 15 years to life.

Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Keith Spaeth will sentence Geran on Jan. 17 at 11 a.m.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dropped charges of felonious assault, improperly discharging a firearm at or into a habitation and having weapons under disability.

Geran, who was a convicted felon before this case, now admits to shooting and killing Maegan Motter, 27, of Middletown the night of June 12.

Sheriff: Double murder suspect in standoff will face several charges

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

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

Motter was well-known to authorities, who identified her by a tattoo on her body. She was convicted of drug possession in 2015, according to court records.

So was Geran.

He served time in a state prison following convictions for stealing guns and break-ins out of Clermont County, records show. He was released in March 2016.

He also was convicted of gross sexual imposition in the 1990s.

A few hours after Motter’s body was found, 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. Both Geran and his girlfriend were living there with her blind elderly mother.

When authorities went to the apartment, they simply talk to Geran, 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 with a .380-handgun, according to the sheriff.

The Butler County Sheriff's Office and Trenton fire crews on scene of June 13 standoff in Trenton. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/file)
The Butler County Sheriff's Office and Trenton fire crews on scene of June 13 standoff in Trenton. (Photo: FOX19 NOW/file)

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 blind mother, Sharon McCleary, 63, his girlfriend and her sister inside McCleary’s apartment for more than two hours.

His girlfriend’s sister, Tammy Davis, managed to escape on her own, according to Jones.

The SWAT team threw a cell phone into the apartment and a negotiator tried to coax Geran to peacefully surrender.

Two hours into the standoff, the negotiator was speaking with Geran on the phone when he agreed to come out, according to the sheriff.

He told authorities he wanted to smoke a cigarette first and planned to release one of the hostages.

Geran released his girlfriend just before noon, but he shot her mother in the head, Jones said.

Then, he walked out of the apartment and turned the gun on himself in a failed suicide attempt.

Prosecutors plan to use the suicide attempt against him during the trial as evidence of guilt, court records show.

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