Father accused of abusing son is indicted on murder charges
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A father accused of abusing his 10-year-old son, who died last year, is now facing murder charges in a new indictment that also brings more counts against his girlfriend. Al-Mutahan McLean faces four counts of murder, two counts of child endangerment and single counts of involuntary manslaughter and kidnapping in the indictment handed up Wednesday. He also faces felonious assault and rape charges that he had pleaded not guilty to last December, shortly after the death of Takoda Collins. Authorities have said his body was cut and bruised, and he had apparently been locked in a dirty attic and held under water before he died.
Reported Ohio coronavirus cases jump again, topping 1,000
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio Health Department says the daily number of confirmed and probable coronavirus cases reported to the state has topped 1,000 for the first time in two months. The new figures released Wednesday come as both the city of Dayton and Ohio State moved toward requiring mask wearing in all indoor spaces. The state now has nearly 53,000 confirmed and probable cases, with a one-day reported increase of 1,076 compared to 743 reported on Tuesday. Data shows that over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 402, an increase of nearly 99%.
Ohio county reports 1-year spike in fatal drug overdoses
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A coroner reports that overdose deaths in the county that includes Ohio’s capital city jumped significantly from a year ago. Dr. Anahi Ortiz is coroner in Franklin County, home to Columbus. Her office reported Wednesday that overdoses driven by the synthetic painkiller fentanyl rose by 55% for the first three months of the year compared to the same time period last year. Ortiz says both methamphetamine-related and alcohol-related deaths were also up compared to last year. The data shows that most overdose victims were white men. The coroner says this year’s increase in overdose deaths preceded the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ohio capital removes statue of namesake Christopher Columbus
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Ohio capital named for Christopher Columbus has removed a large statue of him outside its city hall. The statue taken down Wednesday had been described by the mayor as a symbol of divisiveness and oppression. Recent national outcry over racial injustice has amplified criticism that monuments to the explorer honor a legacy linked to the decimation of indigenous peoples. Columbus State Community College also recently removed its statue of the namesake. Another statue of Columbus remains outside the Ohio Statehouse. The board that oversees those grounds is set to meet later this month to consider whether that statue should go, too.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL GAME THREAT
Suspect accused of football game threat enters guilty plea
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A California man accused of threatening a shooting at Ohio State University and vowing to hurt players on the football team has pleaded guilty. The government says defendant Daniel Rippy made the Facebook threats from California during the annual game between Ohio State and the University of Michigan in 2018. The game was played in Columbus that year. Rippy pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of a threat in interstate communications. He faces up to five years in prison. His attorney says Rippy understands and accepts the terms of the plea agreement.
BODY IN BARREL
Police find body in barrel tossed over fence; man arrested
MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (AP) — Police investigating a report that a woman’s body was in a barrel at an Ohio home say they found exactly that. Middletown police say they arrested a man who tossed the barrel over a backyard fence when they showed up Tuesday. It wasn’t clear when or how the woman died, and her death remains under investigation. An autopsy was planned. The man, 35-year-old William Slaton, was jailed on charges of corpse abuse, tampering with evidence and failure to report a crime or death. A message seeking comment was left for the attorney listed for him in court records.
Massachusetts tells fireworks seller to stop ads in state
BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts attorney general is demanding that a fireworks retailer with stores in New Hampshire stop targeting its advertising to residents of Massachusetts, where fireworks are illegal. Attorney General Maura Healey in a cease-and-desist letter sent Wednesday to Phantom Fireworks alleges the company is violating state consumer protection law by mailing advertisements and discount coupons to Massachusetts addresses and highlighting the proximity of its New Hampshire stores. Complaints about illegal fireworks being used in Massachusetts have soared during the coronavirus pandemic. Phantom’s chief executive says the company will review Healey’s letter and adjust its marketing strategy if necessary.
2 drivers killed, 3 people critically hurt in Ohio crash
MANSFIELD, Ohio (AP) — A two-car crash on a major highway in northern Ohio has left both drivers dead and three people hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. The crash on Route 30 in Mansfield occurred just before 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Ohio State Highway Patrol says an eastbound car driven by 21-year-old Hailey Thompson, of Mount Gilead, crossed the median into the path of a westbound vehicle driven by 18-year-old Alyssa Pine, of Bloomville. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene. Three passengers in Pine’s car suffered undisclosed injuries that were considered life-threatening. The cause of the crash remains under investigation. But authorities don’t suspect that either driver was impaired.
TOLEDO COUNCIL-BRIBERY PROBE
4 Toledo City Council members in custody amid bribery probe
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — Federal prosecutors say four Toledo City Council members and a private attorney took part in a bribery and extortion scheme that encouraged soliciting and/or accepting cash and other things of value from business owners in exchange for favorable votes on issues before the council. Tyrone Riley, Yvonne Harper, Larry Sykes, and Garrick “Gary” Johnson, all Democrats who serve on the council, were taken into custody Tuesday by federal agents. Keith Mitchell, an attorney in Toledo who Harper allegedly used to solicit and funnel bribe payments through, remains at large. All five defendants face bribery and extortion charges.
Ohio AG wants GM to repay $60M after it shut down car plant
LORDSTOWN, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost says General Motors should repay $60 million in public incentives after it shut down an assembly plant near Youngstown. At issue is an economic development agreement that gave GM millions in tax breaks in exchange for a promise to keep the Lordstown plant operating at least through 2027. GM closed the plant last year then decided to build a new electric battery cell factory in the same area, but with far fewer jobs. The automaker has said it hopes the state will take into account its significant manufacturing presence in Ohio.