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Morning news headlines for February 25, 2013
Beasley testimony should start this week; Psychiatric tests inconclusive on Route 82 bridge suspect; Virginia Tech group headed to Chardon
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
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  • Judge hoping to start Beasley testimony this week
  • Psychiatric tests inconclusive on final Route 82 bridge suspect
  • Virginia Tech group heading to Chardon for one year mark
  • Schools, defense could take hits from sequestration cuts
  • Man shoots himself at Dayton gun show
  • Columbus exotic animal facility ready for use
  • Stark County gap in the Towpath Trail may soon be closed
  • Disturbances up at private Conneaut prison
  • 50 more people say they were abused by Franciscan brother
  • Gas prices down slightly
  • Toledo pulls in nearly $3 million from traffic cameras
  • Judge hoping to start Beasley testimony this week
    An Akron judge hopes to complete jury selection early this week in the triple murder trial in a plot to lure robbery victims with phony Craigslist job offers. Jury selection began last Tuesday in Akron in the trial of 53-year-old Richard Beasley. The judge hopes to begin testimony by Tuesday in a trial that could last six weeks. Three men were killed and a fourth man was wounded in eastern Ohio. He escaped and alerted authorities in 2011. Beasley could face the death penalty if convicted. His teenage co-defendant, too young to face the death penalty, already was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole.

    Psychiatric tests inconclusive on final Route 82 bridge suspect
    Court documents indicate that psychiatric tests are inconclusive on the last of five bridge bomb-plotting suspects in northeast Ohio. Federal prosecutors say in a court filing that they agree with the defense for Joshua Stafford of Cleveland that the results were inconclusive on his mental competence. But the government says a hearing before a federal judge in Akron should provide evidence that Stafford is mentally fit to stand trial. No hearing date has been set. The target was the Route 82 bridge over the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Brecksville. The FBI said the device was a dud provided by an informant. The four other defendants have pleaded guilty.

    Virginia Tech group heading to Chardon for one year mark
    A group from Virginia Tech is returning to Northeast Ohio this week to help Chardon High School students cope with the first anniversary of a cafeteria shooting that left three classmates dead. Some Chardon High students have already formed a bond with leaders of the movement at Virginia Tech — site of a 2007 mass shooting — designed to help students move beyond tragedy by changing the way they treat each other. The Plain Dealer reports that about a dozen of the college students have already made trips to Ohio in advance of Wednesday's anniversary. The college group is working with Chardon teens to mentor students in elementary and middle schools. They want helping others to be an outlet for the students to heal.

    Schools, defense could take hits from sequestration cuts
    The White House says Ohio's schools and defense industry would see reduced funding if automatic cuts to the federal budget take effect Friday. The Obama administration says numbers compiled from federal agencies and its own budget office cover only cuts from March to September. The numbers show Ohio would lose $25 million for primary and secondary education funding. The state also would lose $22 million for education programs for children with disabilities. It also says about 26,000 civilian defense department employees would be furloughed and that there would be less money for early education services and programs that pay for meals for seniors. Some states may be able to move money around to deal with the cuts.

    Man shoots himself at Dayton gun show
    Police near Dayton say a 50-year-old man accidentally shot himself in the hand after attending a gun show there.  No one else was injured Saturday afternoon. The accidental shooting happened outside Hara Arena in suburban Dayton where there was a gun and knife show. The Dayton Daily News reports that the man had just bought a holster and was putting a handgun in it when the gun fired, striking his finger. Police say they don't expect to file any charges.

    Columbus exotic animal facility ready for use
    A new high security building just outside Columbus has cameras, cages and a giant fence to hold dozens of exotic animals. The Columbus Dispatch reports that the state's new Dangerous Wild Animal Temporary Holding Facility was built in less than three months and is ready for business. The facility in the Columbus suburb of Reynoldsburg cost right around $3 million. It's a result of the new Ohio law that requires owners to register exotic animals such as lions, tigers and some snakes that came about after a Zanesville man released dozens of bears, mountain lions and tigers, from his farm in 2011. The new holding facility will have tight access and won't be open to the public.

    Stark County gap in the Towpath Trail may soon be closed
    A gap in the 110-mile Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail in northeast Ohio may soon be closed. Stark County park commissioners and county commissioners have agreed to buy a quarter-acre sliver of land for $5,500. The park district needs the land to build a short trail leading to a new bridge that will span the Tuscarawas River. It will connect the towpath trail between Stark and Tuscarawas counties.

    Disturbances up at private Conneaut prison
    A new report says fights and disturbances have increased at a now privatized state prison in northeast Ohio. The Correctional Institutions Inspection Committee's report documents findings from a surprise committee visit last month to the Lake Erie Correctional Institution in Conneaut. The report says the committee found a high presence of gang activity, illegal substance abuse and frequent extortion among other problems. The report also says prison staff hesitated to use appropriate force and noted low staff morale. The Dayton Daily News reports a Corrections Corp. of America spokesman disputes the findings. He says there have been significant security upgrades and gang activity declined since the company took over the prison last January.

    50 more people say they were abused by Franciscan brother
    An attorney says about 50 more people have come forward to say they were sexually abused at schools in Northeast Ohio and Pennsylvania by a Franciscan brother who killed himself in January. The attorney says the latest claims come from people who went to school in Warren and those who went to another school in Johnstown, Pa., where 62-year old Brother Stephen Baker taught and coached. The alleged new cashes happened between 1982 and 2007. 

    Gas prices down slightly
    Ohio drivers are seeing slightly lower gas prices to start the work week. The average price for a gallon of regular gas in Ohio is $3.70 in today’s survey. That's about 12 cents lower than a week ago and 8 cents lowers than the national average.

    Toledo pulls in nearly $3 million from traffic cameras
    The city of Toledo collected nearly $3 million from red-light or speed cameras in 2012 — and officials expect that number will be at least $1 million higher this year. More than 68,000 citations were issued last year from the cameras in Toledo. Automated red-light and speeding cameras have withstood numerous legal challenges in Ohio, including a 2008 Ohio Supreme Court ruling.

     

     

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