Morning Headlines: First Trial of Ohio Family Slayings to Begin; NFL to Hear Garrett’s Appeal

Nov 18, 2019

Here are your morning headlines for Monday, Nov. 18:

  • First trial of Ohio family slayings to begin;
  • NFL to hear Garrett's appeal early this week;
  • Cleveland Fire Department faces discrimination charges;
  • Ohio bill would erase time limits, loophole in cases of rape;
  • Ohio says study finds many pregnancy deaths were preventable;
  • Dayton gunman's friend expected to plead to unrelated counts;
  • Bay Village to accept canned food in exchange for parking fines;
  • Ashland University freezing tuition for new freshmen;

First trial of Ohio family slayings to begin
The first trial stemming from the investigation of the slayings of eight family members more than three years ago is set to begin in Ohio. Rita Newcomb, 66, isn’t charged with any of the Rhoden family killings but instead is accused of forgery, obstructing justice and perjury. Her trial is scheduled to start today. Newcomb is the mother of Angela Wagner, one of the four suspects in the killings. Wagner’s husband and two sons also have been charged and could face the death penalty if convicted. All have pleaded not guilty. The judge in the case is prohibiting lawyers and authorities involved from publicly discussing the case. Authorities said after the arrests in the killings were announced a year ago that a custody dispute between the two families may have been the motive.

NFL to hear Garrett's appeal early this week
Myles Garrett will soon learn when he can play again. The Cleveland Browns star defensive end, who was suspended indefinitely after the NFL ruled he used a helmet “as a weapon” to strike Pittsburgh quarterback Mason Rudolph in the head, will have his appeal heard by the league early this week. Garrett was suspended for at least the final six regular-season games — including the playoffs if Cleveland qualifies — for his violent outburst in the closing seconds of the Browns' 21-7 victory over the Steelers on Thursday night. Per the collective bargaining agreement, Garrett’s appeal must take place before Cleveland’s next game.

Cleveland Fire Department faces discrimination charges
The Cleveland Fire Department has been charged with discrimination after an investigation found the department allegedly violated a part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. WEWS reports The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission said the department has had a pattern of discriminatory behavior since 2009, including refusing or failing to hire black, Hispanic and female applicants. The investigation also found that the majority of Cleveland's firehouses don't have female restrooms or locker rooms, which is a violation. The Cleveland Fire Department has denied the allegations. The department has a choice to voluntarily fix the issues but if it doesn't, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says it will most likely take the case to court for a resolution.

Ohio bill would erase time limits, loophole in cases of rape
Ohio senators are debating a proposal to lift the statute of limitations on rape. It would also close a loophole that allows rape inside marriage to go unpunished. During Senate hearings, Democratic cosponsor Sen. Nickie Antonio, of Lakewood, said Ohio’s current rape laws don’t account for increasingly sophisticated DNA testing or the research that shows sex crime victims need time to come forward. Democratic Sen. Sean O’Brien, of Trumbull County, testified that perpetrators shouldn’t be able to hide behind an artificial time constraint. The bill would align Ohio with seven other states, including neighboring Kentucky and West Virginia, that have eliminated a time window for prosecuting sex crimes. It wouldn’t apply to crimes already beyond the statute of limitations.

Ohio says study finds many pregnancy deaths were preventable
The Ohio Department of Health said a study shows more than half of pregnancy-related deaths in Ohio over a four-year period were preventable. The statewide study shows that 57% of 89 reported pregnancy-related deaths from 2012 to 2016 could have been avoided. The study found a concerning racial disparity between black and white mothers. While 17% of the women giving birth were black, they accounted for 34% of pregnancy-related deaths in the state. Pregnancy-related deaths are defined as deaths that occur during or within a year of pregnancy and are caused by a medical issue aggravated or induced by pregnancy.

Dayton gunman's friend expected to plead to unrelated counts
A friend of the gunman in the deadly Dayton mass shooting is expected to plead guilty to unrelated federal firearms charges. Ethan Kollie, 24, will be in court Wednesday. No details of his plea agreement have been disclosed. Kollie is accused of lying on a federal firearms form and possessing a gun while using illegal drugs. Authorities have said there's no indication Kollie knew his friend Connor Betts was planning the Aug. 4 shooting in Dayton that killed nine people before police killed Betts. The handgun Kollie is charged with illegally purchasing wasn’t used in the shooting. Investigators said Kollie told them he bought the body armor, a 100-round magazine and a part for Betts' gun.

Bay Village to accept canned food in exchange for parking fines
A Cleveland-area community is among those allowing drivers to pay their parking tickets with nonperishable food donations instead of cash this holiday season. The Bay Village Police Department is accepting canned tuna, soup, cereal and other items in lieu of monetary payment for tickets totaling up to $25, at a rate of one item for every $5 in fines owed. The offer is good through the end of the year. It’s a partnership with a Bay Food Ministry, a group that provides food assistance for those in need. Tickets for handicap parking and fire lane violations don’t qualify, and any fines beyond $25 must be paid in cash.

Ashland University freezing tuition for new freshmen
Ashland University is joining the list of Ohio campuses that freeze tuition for incoming freshmen to lock in that cost for four years. University President Carlos Campo said in a statement that the change will help to keep tuition affordable and maintain the value of a student’s financial aid or renewable scholarships throughout their career at the private school in north-central Ohio. Ashland’s tuition freeze starts with on-campus undergraduates entering the school next fall. Ohio’s 13 public undergraduate universities all have tuition guarantee programs.