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Morning news headlines for April 24, 2013
Suspect in murder of prominent Akron couple due in court; Medina selects interim superintendent amid probe; Gov. Kasich is about to have a 2014 challenger

Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
  • Suspect in murder of prominent Akron couple due in court
  • Gov. John Kasich is about to have a 2014 challenger
  • State lawmakers weigh undecided House race
  • Medina selects interim superintendent amid probe
  • Vermilion financial adviser charged in $4.4 million fraud
  • Convicted Amish bishop asks for release...again
  • Cleveland marathon organizers to use "Impact Unit"
  • Aurora man pleads guilty in contractor fraud
  • OSU grads get more Obama tickets
  • Suspect in murder of prominent Akron couple due in court
    An 18-year-old Akron man faces a court hearing on aggravated murder and other charges in the sledgehammer killings of a prominent attorney and his wife. The charges against Shawn Ford include death penalty specifications. The five murder counts allow for different theories on how the victims were killed. Fifty-six-year-old Jeffrey Schobert and his 59-year-old wife, Margaret, were found dead in their home in New Franklin three weeks ago. Ford also is also charged related to an attack on the couple's teenage daughter earlier. Police say the two had been dating and the parents may have objected to the relationship.

    Gov. John Kasich is about to have a 2014 challenger
    Today, Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald will formalize his campaign for governor against Republican incumbent John Kasich. FitzGerald has scheduled announcements in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati. The 44-year-old is a former FBI agent and Democratic Lakewood mayor. To make his case, FitzGerald must fend off critics who seek to use his designation as Public Official 14 in the government's corruption probe to tarnish his tough-on-crime message. Republicans have launched a website using the moniker. FitzGerald's name surfaced only marginally in the investigation. He was never a target and was not charged.

    State lawmakers weigh undecided House race
    A select committee of the Ohio House expects to take another week before voting on who should represent the Statehouse district that includes all of Tuscarawas County and most of Holmes. Just eight votes from last November’s election separate the presumptive winner – Republican Al Landis – from the loser – Democrat Josh O’Farrell. But O’Farrell is challenging provisional ballots that the Tuscarawas County Board of Elections threw out when it certified the results in December. That’s led to the decision being turned over to the Ohio House for the first time in more than 100 years. The special House committee that heard more than two hours of testimony Tuesday is made up of five Republicans and four Democrats. They include northeastern Ohioans Kathleen Clyde of Kent and Mike Dovilla of Berea, who himself narrowly won the November election. After the committee votes, the full House – dominated by Republicans – will schedule a vote. 

    Medina selects interim superintendent amid probe
    A former elementary school principal in Medina will fill in while the district’s superintendent is on paid leave. The Medina School board has selected David Knight as interim superintendent. His term is expected to end in June. The district is conducting a special audit of a district account used for hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay Superintendent Randy Stepp’s college loans, MBA and other perks that have sparked community backlash. 

    Vermilion financial adviser charged in $4.4 million fraud
    A financial adviser in Lorain County has been charged with defrauding more than $4.4 million from nearly 100 clients, including churches and charities, over a 10-year period.  47-year-old Richard Zakarian of Vermilion was charged in a five-count criminal filing with wire, mail and tax fraud. The government says Zakarian, a financial planner and self-employed tax preparer, lured investors with promises of guaranteed returns. Instead, the government says he made personal use of the money or invested in high-risk ventures. The charges were detailed in a court filing which usually signals a pending plea deal.

    Convicted Amish bishop asks for release...again
    The leader of a group of 16 Amish men and women found guilty of hate crimes for cutting the hair and beards of fellow Amish is continuing to push for release pending the outcome of his appeal. Samuel Mullet Sr. is serving 15 years in prison stemming from the 2011 eastern Ohio attacks, which were meant to shame fellow Amish accused of straying from strict religious interpretations. Mullet has filed an appeal with the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal judge in Cleveland turned down an earlier request.  

    Cleveland marathon organizers to use "Impact Unit"
    A specially trained law enforcement team has been added to the array of security for next month’s Cleveland Marathon. The Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s’ Department’s newly formed “Impact Unit” will be on patrol. The bolstered security is in response to the deadly bombing at last week’s Boston Marathon.  The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon will be run May 19. Organizers also plan to hire extra private security officers for race day, and police dogs from across Ohio will be brought in. The event is expected to draw more than 60,000 runners and spectators to the city.

    Aurora man pleads guilty in contractor fraud
    A Northeast Ohio man has pleaded guilty to defrauding more than $225,000 from contractors involved in FBI building projects in Indianapolis and Knoxville, Tenn. Fifty-one-year-old Robert Berryhill of Aurora pleaded guilty to nine counts Tuesday in Akron federal court. The judge scheduled sentencing for July 30. Carnegie Management and Development Corp. of Westlake says Berryhill was fired in 2009 and the FBI was alerted when an audit detected alleged fraud.

    OSU grads get more Obama tickets 
    Graduating Ohio State University students are getting access to more tickets for the May 5 commencement that will include a speech by President Barack Obama. The Columbus Dispatch reports students can get up to 14 tickets each. The change came after graduates attending the event didn't all sign up for the seven tickets available each of them by Monday's deadline. A university spokeswoman says eligible students will receive emails with instructions on reserving more tickets beginning Wednesday. The school initially received a flood of complaints when it limited graduates to four tickets for the event. That allotment was later raised to seven tickets. The spokeswoman wouldn't say how many remain up for grabs. Obama would be the third sitting U.S. president to speak at an Ohio State commencement.

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