BC-MAYOR'S GRANDSON-ASSAULT CHARGE
Cleveland mayor's grandson pleads to misdemeanor at trial
CLEVELAND (AP) — The grandson of Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in the midst of his trial on a felonious assault charge for what prosecutors say was an attack on the grandson's girlfriend. Cleveland.com reports 22-year-old Frank Q. Jackson on Wednesday pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge during the second day of testimony in a Cleveland courtroom. A judge sentenced Jackson to 18 months' probation. Mayor Jackson, who was in the courtroom, wouldn't answer questions afterward but said he was happy for his grandson. A county prosecutor said a deal was struck after evaluating key witness testimony.
BOY SCOUTS-CHILD PORN
Ex-Boy Scout leader sentenced for recording boys, child porn
CLEVELAND (AP) — A former Ohio Boy Scout leader has received 30 years in federal prison for secretly recording boys inside pool locker rooms and his home and for distributing child pornography. Thirty-nine-year-old Thomas Close, of Shelby, was sentenced Wednesday in Cleveland after pleading guilty in September to multiple counts of sexual exploitation of children, receiving and distributing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Prosecutors say Close, whose nickname was “Aqua Joe" for his role as a swim instructor, recorded boys from 2011 through 2018. Investigators say Close shared videos online of boys he recorded changing clothes before and after swimming and showering.
FATAL AKRON FIRE
Judge: Man accused in arson deaths competent to stand trial
AKRON, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio man accused of killing nine neighbors in two arson fires has been found competent to stand trial. A judge in Akron made that ruling Tuesday at a hearing for Stanley Ford. The 60-year-old Akron man has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges. Ford could be sentenced to the death penalty if convicted. He is accused of killing two adults in 2016 and two adults and five children in 2017. Neither Ford's attorneys nor the prosecutors are allowed to comment on the case due to a gag order by the judge.
TAMIR RICE SHOOTING
Union appeals Cleveland firing officer who killed Tamir Rice
CLEVELAND (AP) — The union representing the white Cleveland police officer who killed a 12-year-old black child playing with a pellet gun will ask an Ohio appeals court to overturn the officer's firing. A county judge in Cleveland recently upheld an arbitrator's decision that Timothy Loehmann should be fired for failing to disclose on his Cleveland Police Department job application that he'd been previously dismissed from a suburban police department. Loehmann was cleared of criminal charges in the November 2014 death of Tamir Rice, who was shot outside a recreation center in Cleveland within seconds of a cruiser skidding to a stop near him. The shooting drew international attention and led to Tamir becoming a symbol for the Black Lives Matter protest movement.
Whitney Houston, Notorious B.I.G. lead field into rock hall
NEW YORK (AP) — The posthumous inductees Whitney Houston and The Notorious B.I.G. will lead this year's class into the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. They’ll be joined by Depeche Mode, the Doobie Brothers, Nine Inch Nails and T-Rex. Houston, the gospel-trained singer with the soaring voice, had a string of No. 1 singles including “I Will Always Love You.” Before being killed in a drive-by shooting in 1997, Biggie was a leader of East Coast rap. The annual induction ceremony is being held in Cleveland this year and is being televised live for the first time ever, on May 2.
Report documents errors with Ohio's Medicaid payment system
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The director of Ohio's Medicaid system has announced high error rates in the areas of payment and eligibility determination. Medicaid Director Maureen Corcoran says the state could face penalties in the billions of dollars if the problems aren't fixed. Corcoran documented the problems in a memo sent to Republican Gov. Mike DeWine this week. Corcoran called the program she inherited from the administration of former Republican Gov. John Kasich a mess. She said medical providers were often receiving much less money than was owed. A Kasich spokesman said Kasich inherited a troubled system and made many improvements to it.
Man sentenced for online threat made to Ohio high school
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — A Pennsylvania man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for an online threat to an Ohio high school that led hundreds of students to miss classes in 2018. Russell Miley-Cruz, of Scranton, also received three years of supervised release during Tuesday's hearing in Youngstown. He pleaded guilty in September to transmission of a threat in interstate commerce and obstruction of justice. Miley-Cruz was indicted in February 2019 for sending a message on Snapchat to a Parma High School student in suburban Cleveland. The message included a warning not to go to school the next day because of an impending shooting.
CHILD CUSTODY SLAYING
2 women charged in man's killing amid child custody dispute
PORTLAND, Ind. (AP) — Two Indiana women who are softball coaches at an Ohio high school face murder charges in the fatal shooting of a man that allegedly arose from a child custody dispute. Twenty-nine-year-old Esther J. Stephen and 18-year-old Shelby N. Hiestand, both from the eastern Indiana city of Portland, were charged Wednesday in the killing of 31-year-old Shea Michael Briar. The Portland man died Sunday after he was shot in the head. A probable cause affidavit alleges Stephen was angry at Briar for initiating a child custody case over a child they shared and that she and Hiestand conspired to kill Briar.
Bill would make driver cellphone use enough for traffic stop
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A Democratic state lawmaker in Ohio has introduced a bill that would make using a cellphone while driving reason enough to pull someone over. State Rep. Mary Lightbody, of Westerville, introduced the measure Tuesday. The bill follows a call by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine last month to make distracted driving a primary offense. DeWine said that it's time people realize that texting, making phone calls or surfing the internet while driving is just as bad as driving drunk. Ohio has seen more than 91,000 distracted driving crashes since 2013. Those crashes injured more than 47,000 people and killed 305.
Man sentenced to 10 years in 3 bank robberies in Ohio