Sheriff: Double murder suspect in standoff will face several charges

Sheriff: Mother, daughters ID'd as hostages in deadly Butler County standoff
Published: Jun. 14, 2018 at 1:22 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 27, 2018 at 5:25 AM EDT
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James Edward Geran was last released from an Ohio prison on March 23, 2016, state prison...
James Edward Geran was last released from an Ohio prison on March 23, 2016, state prison officials said. (PHOTO: Ohio Department of Correction and Rehabilitation)

TRENTON, OH (FOX19) - A 45-year-old convicted felon accused of killing two women and holding three hostage while firing at deputies in a SWAT standoff earlier this week will face several charges.

"The police don't like to be shot at. It makes us a little angry," Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones said in a news conference Thursday.

James Edward Geran shot himself in the chin in an attempt to take his own life as he surrendered at the end of the standoff in Trenton Wednesday, Jones said.

Geran is expected to survive and continues to recover at Miami Valley Medical Center in Dayton.

He has not yet been charged. That will come when he is released from the hospital, likely early next week, Jones said.

Geran is a suspect in the shooting deaths of two women, 27-year-old Maegan Motter and 63-year-old Sharon McCleary.

"We have not been able to speak to him at this point due to his injuries," the sheriff said. "But the investigation is still going on. We think we may have a motive. We don't know that. I can't release that at this time. The investigation is still going on."

Jones said Geran shot Motter in the head and dumped her body off Woodsdale Road in Madison Township. Two passerbys spotted her body late Tuesday night and called 911.

Geran and Motter were "business associates," according to the sheriff.

"They were in business together. It's not the kind of business that would make the Better Business Bureau," he told reporters. "It was  business of activity maybe like, let's say, criminal activity."

He declined to elaborate but added: "You can read between the lines."

Geran 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, the sheriff said.

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.

The investigation into Motter's homicide led deputies to an apartment on Sal Boulevard in Trenton by 9:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Geran has been living in the apartment with his girlfriend, Gina McCleary, 26, and her mother. The apartment was the mother's, who is blind.

Geran was in the apartment with those two women and McCleary's sister.

When deputies knocked on the door, he fired multiple rounds at them out a window and took the three women hostage, Jones said.

A deputy returned fire and squeezed off three shots in self-defense because he was under attack at such close range, the sheriff said.

Deputies retreated, and called for SWAT.

The gunman had a .380-handgun, according to Jones.

The sheriff initially said Wednesday Geran also had a rifle, but that was later determined to not be accurate, he said Thursday.

No one was hurt in that exchange of gunfire, Jones said.

Early on in the standoff, one of the three hostages, McCleary's sister - Tammy Davis - managed to escape.

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.

"He was going to come out and smoke a cigarette first," Jones said. "He put a specific time he was going to come out. He was going to release one of the hostages when he came out.

"At that point, the door opened, and one of the ladies, a sister, came out running and we gave her cover. At that point, he immediately pushed the door closed and we heard gunfire. Two shots were fired as we made entry. He had shot himself under the chin."

Once inside the residence, detectives discovered Sharon McCleary dead with a gunshot wound to her head, Jones said.

"Today we've met with the prosecutors office to discuss the cases. We are still processing three crime scenes that we have. Plus we got other stuff we got to do so it's all hands on deck plus these employees got to sleep sometime. You have to work these cases fast and furious in the first 24 to 48 hours."

This was the second standoff in five months in which a gunman with at least one hostage fired multiple rounds at Butler County deputies.

In January, the sheriff's office and their SWAT team were on what turned into a 34-hour standoff with a suspect holding a 10-year-old boy hostage in Liberty Township.

In that case, deputies did not return fire for fear of the boy being harmed and patiently waited the suspect out  until he surrendered peacefully.

The boy was not physically hurt.

Sheriff: Standoff suspect used child hostage as human shield

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