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Jim Isabella
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Downtown Akron Hotel Closed

Jan 19, 2017 -- 4:35pm

 

The Akron City Center Hotel in Cascade Plaza has closed.

The question remains when it happened.

The Beacon Journal reported on Thursday that an inspector for the Akron Fire Department had rolled-by last week to check progress on repairs to a fire alarm system and found the doors were locked and there wasn't anyone to be found on site at the 19-floor hotel. The newspaper reports that the hotel had been ordered to cease operations in mid-November due to violations of the State Fire Code, but was then allowed to re-open two floors after some repairs had been made.

 

 

Mom Arrested for Taping Toddler to Wall

Jan 19, 2017 -- 4:29pm

 

A young mother in the Columbus area has been arrested by Reynoldsburg Police, accused of taping her two-year-old son to a wall and streaming the act on social media. 18-year-old Shayla Rudolph was taken into custody on an abduction charge on Thursday while her son was taken-away by Franklin County Children's Services. Police got a tip on Wednesday about a Facebook Live stream showing the mom taping the child to the wall – then taping his mouth shut with clear packing tape. The toddler had been kept there for about 15 minutes.

 

 

Obama Commutes Hundreds of Federal Prisoners' Sentences

Jan 19, 2017 -- 3:53pm

 

The numbers are astronomical. In what President Obama called a bid to “correct a systematic injustice,” his final offer of clemency on Thursday brought good news to another 330 Federal prison inmates – who've been told they'll get out from behind bars.

Obama has now granted Get Out of Jail Free Cards to a total of one-Thousand 715 prisoners – more than any other President in United States History. 568 of the commutations involved inmates who had been sent to prison for the rest of their lives.

 

 

Former Village Worker Sentenced for Theft

Jan 19, 2017 -- 3:02pm

 

A former employee of Lake County's Perry Village has been sent behind bars for stealing 51-Thousand dollars from the town's budget. 41-year-old Michelle Cox had previously pleaded guilty to charges of theft, theft in office and tampering with records, involving funds she stole from the Mayor's Court while employed as a clerk and a police department receptionist. Cox was indicted in early June last year following a two-year probe conducted by the County Prosecutor's office and the Ohio BCI. She went before a Lake County judge to get her penalty this week for the crimes she committed between 2012 and 2014 and will spend the next six months in jail for it. She's also been ordered to pay restitution.

 

 

Inauguration Day — Live Coverage on WNIR

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:43pm

 

WNIR will provide live coverage of the ceremonies as Donald Trump is sworn-in to become the 45th President of the United States.

Coverage begins at 11:00AM Friday and continues through 1:00PM.

 

 

BOLO for Wanted Fugitive

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:42pm

 

Akron Police and the US Marshals Service Northern Ohio Violent Fugitive Task Force are asking for help from the public in tracking-down a wanted fugitive. 25-year-old Finess Terry is wanted on charges of felonious assault and discharge of a firearm into habitation. Police say Terry was involved in a gunfight with other men in a car in the 300 block of Chittenden Street around 6:00PM on March 24 last year. A stray bullet went through the wall of a nearby home and wounded a 63-year-old woman, who was taken to the hospital for treatment. Finess Terry is a black male, 25 years old, five-feet-nine and 160 pounds. His last known address was on Duane Avenue in Akron. He should be considered armed and dangerous and may be hiding-out in the Akron area. Anyone with information on his whereabouts should call Akron Police Detective Bureau at 330-375-2490, the US Marshals Service at 866-4-WANTED or Summit County CrimeStoppers at 330-434-COPS.

 

 

Fire Destroys Youngstown Home

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:41pm

 

Flames tore through a house on Youngstown's east side on Wednesday morning and left the structure a total loss. Firefighters responded to the call to the 100 block of Albert Street a short time before 7:00AM after someone passing by noticed the flames. Crews arrived to find the structure completely involved and had the fire out within around 30 minutes – but not before damage was extensive enough to write it off as totally destroyed. Authorities say the place was vacant and there were no reported injuries. The cause is yet to be determined.

 

 

OH Man Charged in FL Woman's Murder

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:41pm

 

A man from southwest Ohio has been accused in the murder of a Florida woman whose skeletal remains were discovered last year. The Clark County Prosecutor's office announced that 35-year-old Prentiss Hare of Springfield is now facing charges of murder, abuse of a corpse and other counts in the slaying of 33-year-old Tiffany Chambers of Jacksonville. Authorities say the victim traveled with Hare from Florida in July of 2015 and was killed in Springfield, possibly during a fight over unpaid debt. Her body was dumped in a wooded area near Xenia, where the skeletal remains were discovered in May last year. A girlfriend of Hare has also been charged as an accomplice to aggravated murder and corpse abuse.

 

 

Parents Waive Preliminary Hearing in Daughter's Death

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:40pm

 

The case of a Jackson Township couple charged in the death of their young daughter is now in the hands of a Stark County Grand Jury, with additional charges possible once a review is complete. 34-year-old Liang Zhao and 29-year-old Mingming Chen were both in Massillon Muni Court on Thursday, where their attorneys waived their rights to preliminary hearings. The mother is charged with murder while the father faces complicity charges for the January 9 beating death of five-year-old Ashley Zhao. The Stark County Coroner's office determined she had been beaten to death about 12 hours before the father called 911 and reported the little girl missing. After a search began to spread state-wide, authorities found the child hidden-away inside the restaurant the family owns along Portage Street NW the following day. Both of the accused remain in Stark County Jail under five-Million dollar bonds.

 

 

Fired Police Chief Sues Township

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:39pm

 

The former Police Chief in Lawrence Township has filed a lawsuit against the Township, saying he was wrongfully-terminated from his post. The filing by attorneys for Paul Stanley in Stark County Court also alleges that his reputation has been tarnished after the Township fired him in September amid allegations including improper use of a police department fund. After working with the department for nearly 30 years, Stanley had been placed on administrative leave August 29 during a probe into allegations of improper expenditure documentation involving the Police Department Law Enforcement Trust Fund. The filing says that Stanley wasn't notified of his job termination and that he learned of it through an article in the Canton Repository. The suit demands a minimum of 125-Thousand dollars plus punitive damages.

 

 

Authorities Detail Cause of Fatal Fire

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:38pm

 

A December 3 house fire that took the lives of four people on Akron's north side has been blamed on an unattended stove that was left turned-on in the kitchen. Akron Fire officials released the results of their investigation on Thursday, saying the blaze that destroyed the three-story house in the 200 block of East Tallmadge Avenue happened after a burner on the gas stove had been left on, sparking flames that spread upward from the kitchen through the rest of the home as the victims were asleep in their beds. There were no smoke detectors in the house and the victims, 37-year-old Omar Riley, 33-year-old Shirley Wallis and Riley's daughters, nine-year-old Aniyla and eight-year-old Shanice, all died inside. 12-year-old Shaniya Wallis and 34-year-old Jennifer Grubbs escaped. The estates of the father and his two children have filed a 25-Million dollar wrongful-death lawsuit against the landlord for lack of smoke detectors inside the home.

 

 

Three Arrested after Motel Fracas

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:37pm

 

Alleged prostitution, heroin use and a disagreement between the accused pimp and his charge led to the arrest of three people this week at a motel in Green. The Summit County Sheriff's office announced the arrests on Thursday, after an investigation that followed a call for deputies to respond to the motel on Monday for a reported fight. The Sheriff's office says that 23-year-old Brandon Roberts and 20-year-old Katie Jones had gotten into it in the lobby and Jones had called her father, 45-year-old David Jones, to the scene to pick her up. Once dad arrived, the fist fight was on between the two men and Roberts was sent to City Hospital for treatment of his injuries. Detectives learned that Katie Jones had allegedly been engaging in prostitution and that she and Roberts were both in possession of heroin. David Jones was booked on a felonious assault charge while his daughter was hit with a heroin possession count. Roberts was charged with promoting prostitution and heroin possession. All three were taken to Summit County Jail.

 

 

Help Wanted Finding Murder Victim's Vehicle

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:36pm

 

The Wayne County Sheriff's office is asking for help from the public in locating a pickup truck, owned by a Stark County man whose murdered body was found dumped near Doylestown last weekend. An autopsy performed on the body of 44-year-old Jeremy Lesh of Perry Township showed that he had been stabbed multiple times in what the Sheriff's office called a “brutal murder” and his pickup truck has been missing since Lesh was last seen by his family on Christmas Day. Authorities are trying to track-down the location of the 1996 Chevy S-10 pickup, white in color with a blue cap over the bed and ladder racks. The truck has Ohio Plates – GUD-7192. Tips are wanted at 330-264-3333.

 

 

Murder Suspect wants to Represent Himself at Trial

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:36pm

 

A murder suspect in Mahoning County Court has told a judge that he doesn't want a lawyer and plans to represent himself at trial. 54-year-old David Hackett is charged with aggravated murder and rape for the vicious stabbing death of 30-year-old Collena Carpenter. The body of the victim from the Columbiana County town of Homeworth was found October 13, 2013 near the Mahoning River and West Avenue – with the coroner saying afterward that she had been stabbed a total of 81 times. The death penalty that was originally on the table was removed in January by prosecutors and Hackett faces a possible life prison sentence with no chance of parole if convicted. He was on parole after doing time for the 1979 shooting death of a Youngstown man when he allegedly committed his latest crime. Jury selection that was to begin this week has now been pushed-back to May to allow the defendant time to prepare his case.

 

 

Not Drunk Enough?

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:35pm

 

A woman caught ripping-off a bottle of booze was apparently not drunk enough at the time and looking to get even higher. Police in Rocky River were called to a Giant Eagle store on Center Ridge Road on the theft report and afterward, Elisabeth Breedlove reportedly admitted that she stole a bottle of vodka from the shelf – the second such incident involving her in a week. She was caught with the bottle in her purse and had been recorded on store surveillance cameras. Once officers checked her blood alcohol level, it tested-out at point-303...leading to charges of theft, trespassing and disorderly conduct.

 

 

Charges Filed for Arson Fire

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:34pm

 

Aggravated arson charges have been filed against a Brunswick man for an explosion and fire at a home in Brunswick last month. 45-year-old Stephen Puelo was arrested and booked into Medina County Jail under a 100-Thousand dollar bond, accused of starting a December 12 blaze in the 4000 block of Magnolia Drive. Crews from several departments worked the incident for some three hours before getting the flames under control and the house was completely destroyed. The State Fire Marshal's office determined the fire had been intentionally set and Puelo was seen backing a family member's vehicle out of the driveway at the scene and fleeing at a high rate of speed. He was arrested later that day at a nightclub in Brook Park. A motive for the arson incident hasn't been mentioned, though authorities say police had visited the home several times prior to the blaze for welfare checks and that Puelo has prior convictions for domestic violence.

 

 

Another One Cops a Plea

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:31pm

 

A second man has copped a plea to charges filed against him for the robbery and rape of a woman in Canton. 21-year-old Johnnylee Johnson was in Stark County Court on Wednesday, pleading guilty to counts including rape, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and robbery for the crimes committed on September 17 against the victim. She was taken against her will by three suspects who forced her to drive to an ATM and withdraw money before they took her to a park and raped her. Johnson was sentenced to 15 years in prison immediately following his guilty pleas, joining 19-year-old Curtis Bailey of Canton behind bars after he copped a similar plea deal this month. That leaves an 18-year-old co-defendant yet to face trial. Charles Fortson was 17 at the time of the crime and is due in Juvenile Court January 26 to determine if he'll face trial as an adult.

 

 

Rapist gets Four Decades in Prison

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:30pm

 

A convicted rapist who attacked a developmentally-disabled woman will be 70 years old before he sees the light of day as a free man again. 29-year-old Chad Patterson of Canton, recently convicted by a Stark County Court jury on rape and kidnapping charges, returned to court this week to hear the judge impose a 41-year prison sentence for his crimes as a sexually-violent predator and with repeat violent offender and sexual motivation specifications. Last month, he was given a chance at a 30-year sentence as part of a plea deal that he rejected. Patterson abducted his victim from a bus stop as she waited to be picked up for a ride to a group home, then took her to another location where she was attacked on August 29. The incident happened as Patterson was wearing an electronic monitoring device that confirmed his moves on the day of the crime.

 

 

Drug Pusher Pleads Guilty

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:29pm

 

A fentanyl dealer from Akron copped a guilty plea in Cleveland Federal Court on Wednesday, admitting he sold a fatal dose of the drug to an Akron man who died last year. The US Attorney's office says that 36-year-old Leroy Steele pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl, plus another charge of fentanyl distribution. Steele and two co-defendants were accused of conspiring to distribute the drug in March and April of 2015...acquiring it from China for sale to people in Akron, Fairlawn and other local areas. One sale to 37-year-old Thomas Rauh led to his death by overdose on March 21 that year. Steele returns to court on April 19, when he faces a likely 20-year term in Federal prison.

 

 

Environmental Assessment for Summit Lake

Jan 19, 2017 -- 2:27pm

 

Decades after it was last used as a recreational facility, some government funds will be used for an environmental assessment of Summit Lake on Akron's southwest side. The Northeast Ohio Four County Regional Planning and Development Organization has approved spending more than 110-Thousand dollars on the study, with a long-term eye toward returning recreation to the lake that was polluted for years by discharge from nearby rubber plants during the city's heyday in tire and rubber manufacturing. The NEFCO program is supported by the US EPA and will also take a look at the environmental state of properties that surround the lake. NEFCO funds are in addition to 195-Thousand dollars that's been pledged to the effort by the Knight Foundation.

 

 

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