Judge denies full gag order for father charged with murdering his 3 sons

Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 9:16 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 5, 2023 at 12:25 PM EDT
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CLERMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WXIX) - The Clermont County father charged with gunning down his three sons returned to court Wednesday for his pre-trial hearing.

The defense team for Chad Doerman attempted to obtain a protection order to limit the number of details prosecutors reveal in this case, according to court records obtained by FOX19 NOW.

During the pre-trial, Clermont County Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Ferenc said he will not issue a “broad protection order” and that both the defense and state need to have “caution” when speaking with the media.

Judge Ferenc later issued the following orders regarding the defense’s request for a protective order:

Doerman was present in the courtroom Wednesday, but media outlets were not allowed to record or stream the hearing.

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.

Prosecutors and the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office have yet to reveal the 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.

Clermont County Prosecutor Mark Tekulve has said the aggravated murder charges include various aggravating circumstance specifications that subject Doerman to the possibility of the death penalty.

“This is a death penalty case and my goal is to have this man executed for slaughtering these three little boys,” Tekulve said last month.

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:

  • First killed his 4-year-old son, Hunter, 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 into a field near their home. Prosecutors say Doerman then went up to his oldest son, who had fallen, and “executed him at close range.”
  • According to prosecutors, 3-year-old Chase was “ripped” from his mother’s arms and Doerman “put a bullet in his (Chase’s) head.”

Doerman will return to court on Sept. 12 at 11 a.m.

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