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Investigators to return to Seymour Ave.; charges expected today
Other morning headlines: Fracking ban rejected in Youngstown; mixed results for school levies
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
  • Investigators to return to Seymour Ave.; charges expected today
  • Police actions under review in kidnapping case
  • Fracking ban rejected in Youngstown
  • Mixed results for school levies
  • GOP-led House committee upholds incumbent's win in close race
  • Suspect in Akron-area couple's slaying may undergo psych evals
  • Casino revenues dip in April 
  • Jurors view video of "blinking" testimony in murder trial
  • Investigators to return to Seymour Ave.; charges expected today
    Cleveland police investigators, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s deputies and the FBI will back on the scene at Seymour Avenue on Cleveland’s west side around 10am this morning. Around midnight, the team wrapped up a day of searching the home where Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were allegedly held captive for a decade. Throughout the day, investigators took away bags of evidence from 52-year-old Ariel Castro’s home as well as two vehicles. Charges against Ariel Castro and his two brothers, Pedro Castro and Onil Castro are expected today. Late last night, the deadline to file charges against the trio was extended to 6pm today. 

    Police actions under review in kidnapping case
    Two residents of a west-side neighborhood where the three women are believed to have been held captive for a decade say they reported suspicious activity. According to WKYC, one neighbor heard pounding on doors at the house on Seymour Avenue and another saw a naked woman crawling through the back yard. Both said police did a cursory investigation. But Cleveland Safety Director Martin Flask says there’s no record of such calls, though he’ll  keep checking. Flask on Tuesday also addressed actions of the dispatchers who handled the 911 calls regarding Amanda Berry. Dispatchers have been criticized for telling Berry, “talk to the police when they get there.” Charles Ramsey, the neighbor who also called 911, said the dispatcher didn’t take him seriously. Flask said his department is reviewing the dispatcher’s actions. He noted that the dispatcher took the call, created an event and sent it to the channel dispatcher in less than two minutes.

    Fracking ban rejected in Youngstown
    Voters have rejected a proposal to ban fracking in Youngstown. Unofficial results Tuesday showed about 57 percent of the votes cast were against the Community Bill of Rights prohibiting the controversial high-pressure oil and gas drilling technique inside city limits. The city council put the proposal on the ballot after an anti-fracking group called Frackfree Mahoning Valley collected the necessary signatures. Officials questioned whether the ban could be enforced because drilling in Ohio is regulated by the state, not cities. Activists supporting the proposal disagreed.

    Mixed results for school levies
    A number of school districts in Northeast Ohio are celebrating today after voters approved levies for new operating money. In Summit County, Barberton Schools passed an 8.45-mill levy. Coventry also passed two school issues on the third try. In Cuyahoga County, levies in Lakewood, Avon Lake and Brooklyn all passed. School issues that were defeated in Tuesday’s election include a bond issue for Cuyahoga Falls’ schools, an emergency levy for Cloverleaf schools in Medina County.  Westlake schools says it will have to cut $1 million from the budget after a levy failure by around 50 votes last night. In Stark County, North Canton and Louisville issues passed. A bond issue for Canton Local lost by just 36 votes.

    GOP-led House committee upholds incumbent's win in close race
    A Republican-controlled legislative committee has voted along party lines to uphold a Northeast Ohio GOP candidate's victory last year in a disputed Ohio House race.  Democrat Josh O'Farrell of New Philadelphia lost his bid to unseat Republican Rep. Al Landis of Dover by eight votes in November. The district covers Tuscarawas and part of Holmes counties. Democrats argued Tuesday there were multiple election irregularities involving provisional and absentee ballots that could have changed the race's outcome. The race's outcome determines whether Republicans have a 60-vote majority in the House. The full Republican-led House must still vote on the committee's recommendations.

    Suspect in Akron-area couple's slaying may undergo psych evaluation
    Attorneys for the Akron man accused in the sledgehammer slayings of a prominent northeastern Ohio couple say an evaluation may be necessary to determine if he is competent to stand trial. Eighteen-year-old Shawn Ford Jr. faces capital murder charges in the April slayings of lawyer Jeffrey Schobert and his wife Margaret, in their home in New Franklin, near Akron. Ford appeared in court Tuesday. His attorneys told the judge they still need to meet with medical experts before deciding whether a competency evaluation is needed. The defense said last month that a written plea of not guilty by reason of insanity would likely be filed, but that hasn't happened yet. Ford also is charged in an earlier assault of the couple's teenage daughter.

    Casino revenues dip in April 
    All four of Ohio's casinos saw dips in April revenues compared to their March numbers. A report released Tuesday by the Ohio Casino Control Commission shows Cleveland drawing in the highest revenue compared to the state's other facilities. The casino there raked in almost $20 million. Columbus reported more than $18 million in April revenue. Cincinnati dropped from $21 million in its first month of operation in March, to about $17.8 million in April.

    Jurors view video of "blinking" testimony in murder trial
    Captivated jurors in a Cincinnati murder trial have watched video that authorities say shows a paralyzed, dying man identifying his killer by blinking his eyes. Prosecutors showed jurors the 17-minute video of 35-year-old David Chandler on Tuesday. Defense attorneys for the man charged with Chandler's killing unsuccessfully argued that the video should be kept out of the trial. Ricardo Woods is accused of shooting Chandler in October 2010, leaving Chandler paralyzed from the neck down and unable to speak before he ultimately died. Before his death, police recorded an interview with him, asking Chandler to blink twice for "no" and three times for "yes." Through that method, they say Chandler identified Woods as the shooter.
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