Defense seeks gag order in case of father accused of gunning down 3 young sons

Published: Jul. 4, 2023 at 8:51 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2023 at 4:49 AM EDT
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CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - The defense team for a Clermont County father charged with executing his three young sons is seeking a protection order to try to limit details prosecutors are revealing about the case, according to court records obtained by FOX19 NOW.

The court must either issue a “gag order” or “the only other alternative remedy available” is a change of venue “should the Prosecutor continue to try this case in the media,” reads the motion filed by Assistant State Public Defender Gregory Meyers and W. Stephen Haynes with the Clermont County Public Defender’s Office.

Chad Doerman, 32, “confessed to planning and carrying out the deaths of” his boys - 3, 4 and 7 - for several months before shooting them at the family’s Monroe Township home on June 15, according to court records and prosecutors.

The boys’ mother, 34, also was shot in her hand.

Doerman is scheduled to return to Clermont County Commons Pleas Court on Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Prosecutors and Clermont County Sheriff Steve Leahy have not released a motive in the case that horrified and devastated the community and drew national headlines.

The defense’s June 26 request for a protection order states that it is not designed to protect anyone from physical harm but rather to protect the integrity of the case by prohibiting either party from speaking to the media about the case.

The defense contends in the filing that interviews with journalists following Doerman’s initial court appearance were “inflammatory and prejudicial.”

The state filed a response on Monday arguing the statements that this is a death penalty case were merely stating the charges and the possible penalties.

Prosecutors, however, are not opposed to restricting both sides from speaking to the media but “such an order must not be overbroad as Defendant suggests in his motion and proposed entry,” reads the court filing submitted by Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Katherine Terpstra.

“If this Court feels that a ‘gag order’ is necessary, the State requests that the Court craft its own order to more specifically and carefully outline the obligations of the parties that would not be overly burdensome or run afoul of the State’s other duties and obligations by law.”

Doerman faces nine counts of aggravated murder and other charges of kidnapping and felonious assault in a total 21-count indictment handed down on June 22.

This is the first death-penalty-eligible case in Clermont County in three decades, according to Clermont County Prosecutor Mark Tekulve.

Doerman’s attorney entered a plea of not guilty on all charges on his behalf.

After Doerman was indicted, Judge Victor Haddad removed Doerman’s initial $20 million bond and ordered the accused triple killer held at the county jail on no bond.

Deputies responded to the Laurel Lindale Road residence when the children’s mother called 911 around 4:15 p.m., screaming her “babies had been shot,” sheriff’s officials wrote in a news release that day.

Three minutes later, a separate caller driving by the shooting scene called 911 and reported seeing a young girl running down the road, warning that “her father was killing everyone.”

Body camera video from the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office shows deputies finding Doerman sitting outside the home with a rifle next to him.

“I ain’t gonna hurt nobody,” Doerman told a deputy, according to the video.

The bodies of the three boys were found in the yard.

Deputies found the three young boys unresponsive and attempted life-saving measures until Monroe Fire/EMS arrived.

“All life-saving measures were unsuccessful,” and all three children died from their injuries at the scene, the sheriff’s news release said.

Doerman asked a deputy to take his wallet out of his back pocket as he was escorted to a cruiser, according to the body camera footage.

“Shut up, dude,” the deputy responded in the video. “You have the right to remain silent. (Expletive) use it.”

So far, prosecutors have alleged that Doerman:

  • killed his 4-year-old son, Hunter, first with two gunshots to his head inside the residence off Laurel Lindale Road.
  • “Hunted down” his 7-year-old, Clayton, when the boy ran off. The child was “gunned down from behind” as he fled through a field near the home. Doerman shot the boy in the head after he fell to the ground.
  • Ripped 3-year-old Chase from his mother’s arms and “put a bullet in his head.”

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