Ohio Crime News Briefs


Staff & Wire Reports



FILE – This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows death row inmate Robert Van Hook, convicted of fatally strangling and stabbing David Self in 1985 after meeting him in a Cincinnati bar. Van Hook's execution is scheduled Wednesday, July 18, 2018, and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction planned to transport Van Hook on Tuesday, July 17, from death row in Chillicothe to the state death house at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP, File)

FILE – This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows death row inmate Robert Van Hook, convicted of fatally strangling and stabbing David Self in 1985 after meeting him in a Cincinnati bar. Van Hook's execution is scheduled Wednesday, July 18, 2018, and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction planned to transport Van Hook on Tuesday, July 17, from death row in Chillicothe to the state death house at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP, File)


Ohio prison staff set to execute killer of man met in bar

Wednesday, July 18

LUCASVILLE, Ohio (AP) — Ohio is set to put a condemned killer to death on Wednesday for a three-decades-old fatal stabbing in what would be the state’s first execution in several months.

Robert Van Hook was sentenced to die for fatally strangling and stabbing David Self after picking him up in a Cincinnati bar in 1985. Van Hook, 58, had no remaining appeals, and Republican Gov. John Kasich rejected his request for clemency without comment.

Van Hook was described as “in good spirits and calm” Tuesday by prisons spokeswoman JoEllen Smith. A test of his veins ahead of the lethal injection didn’t find any problems, she said.

Van Hook chose double cheeseburgers, fries, strawberry cheesecake with whipped cream, a vanilla milkshake and grapefruit juice as his last meal, called a special meal in Ohio and served the day before the execution.

Smith says execution witnesses for the Self family will include Self’s brother, sister and brother-in-law. Van Hook’s witnesses will be an uncle, a spiritual adviser and a priest.

At the time of the killing, Van Hook was suffering from long-term effects of untreated mental, physical and sexual abuse as a child and was depressed that his life seemed to be falling apart, his attorneys argued.

Kasich should have given more weight to Van Hook’s military service and his inability to receive care from Veterans Affairs for his mental health and addiction issues after his honorable discharge, according to Van Hook’s attorneys.

The Ohio Parole Board said that despite Van Hook’s tough childhood, he was shown love and support by relatives he stayed with for long periods as a child. But that positive influence doesn’t outweigh the “gratuitous violence” he demonstrated, the board said.

Previous attorneys representing Van Hook attempted a “homosexual panic” claim in his defense, or the idea that self-revulsion over sexual identity confusion contributed to a violent outburst. Van Hook’s current lawyers say that was misguided, and overlooked his diagnoses of borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder from his childhood.

Seizing on that claim, prosecutors have dismissed the idea as nonsense, saying Van Hook made a practice of luring gay men to apartments to rob them.

Prosecutors note Van Hook has an extensive history of violence while incarcerated, including stabbing a fellow death row inmate in November.

Self’s family supports the execution, telling the parole board last month that he is missed every day.

Authorities say Van Hook met Self at the Subway Bar in downtown Cincinnati on Feb. 18, 1985. After a couple of hours, they went to Self’s apartment where Van Hook strangled the 25-year-old Self to unconsciousness, stabbed him multiple times in the neck and then cut his abdomen open and stabbed his internal organs, according to court records. Van Hook stole a leather jacket and necklaces before fleeing, records say.

In September 2017 the state put Gary Otte to death for the 1992 murders of two people during robberies over two days in suburban Cleveland.

Andrew Welsh-Huggins can be reached on Twitter at https://twitter.com/awhcolumbus .

Man Accused of Defrauding People in Ohio and Other States

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

Investigators believe at least 22 people have been affected and that losses total over $450,000.

July 17, 2018

(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced that an Alaska man is facing criminal charges for allegedly defrauding people in Ohio and other states out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Andrew Jensen, 30, of Anchorage, was arraigned Monday in the Morgan County Court of Common Pleas. He previously was indicted by a Morgan County grand jury on 29 felony counts, including telecommunications fraud, identity fraud, grand theft of a motor vehicle, theft from the elderly, money laundering, and misuse of credit cards.

According to investigators, Jensen lied to people (claiming he was a successful businessman or military veteran, for example) to convince them to give him money, property, or services. He allegedly made misleading statements to obtain loans, lines of credit, vehicles, and other goods or services. Investigators believe at least 22 people, including an elderly man in Morgan County, have been affected and that losses total more than $450,000.

An attorney with the Ohio Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit (a division of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section) has been appointed by the Morgan County Prosecutor to handle the case as a special prosecutor. The case was investigated by the Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Unit and Morgan County Sheriff’s Office.

Troopers seize $40,000 worth of drugs in Madison County

Ohio State Highway Patrol

July 17, 2018

Psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, nitrous oxide, cocaine and marijuana

DEER CREEK TOWNSHIP – Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers filed felony drug charges against a New Mexico man after a traffic stop in Madison County. During the traffic stop, troopers seized 3 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms, 144 doses of LSD, 450 doses of nitrous oxide, an ounce of cocaine and 70 grams of marijuana valued at approximately $40,000.

On July 16, 2018, at 10:45 a.m., troopers stopped a 2001 Toyota Highlander with New Mexico registration for a speed violation on Interstate 70 near milepost 73. While interacting with the driver, troopers detected an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed the contraband.

The driver, Patrick Miller, 30, of Albuquerque, was incarcerated in the Tri-County Jail and charged with possession of drugs, a first-degree felony. If convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison and up to a $20,000 fine.

A photo of the seized contraband is available for download on the Patrol’s website at www.statepatrol.ohio.gov

Last year, troopers removed nearly 20 pounds of hallucinogens from Ohio’s roadways. For a complete list of drug arrests by county visit: http://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov/statistics/statdocs/Highlights/2018/Drugs.pdf

July 17, 2018 field reports from ODNR Division of Wildlife officers

CUFFS & COLLARS

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One

While on bicycle patrol at Quarry Park, State Wildlife Officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, observed a man and woman fishing from the banks of the lake. He contacted the pair and asked how the fishing was going. They both admitted to fishing without a license, which is required at Quarry Park. They were each issued a summons for fishing without a license. Both were found guilty in the Marion Municipal Court and paid $226 in fines and court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two

In the spring of 2018, Lake Erie Investigator Brian Bury and State Wildlife Officer Craig Barr, assigned to Allen County, were patrolling from a boat near East Harbor State Park on Lake Erie. While on patrol, the officers encountered two anglers fishing for bass. The anglers stated they had a few bass on board their vessel. Since the bass season on Lake Erie was closed, the anglers were instructed to meet the officers at a nearby boat dock. During inspection, the anglers were found to have a total of 20 bass in their possession, including both largemouth and smallmouth bass. In addition, five of the fish were under the 14-inch minimum size limit for the open season, including one that was only 10 inches. Both anglers were found guilty in the Ottawa County Municipal Court and ordered to pay a total of $716 in fines and court costs. Additionally, each was given five days in jail which was suspended pending no further violations for one year.

During the 2017 deer archery season, State Wildlife Officer Nathan West, assigned to Wyandot County, received a tip from a hunter at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area. The hunter stated that he had witnessed two individuals walking into the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area refuge. As the pair walked into the refuge, the hunter was able to obtain a photograph of the suspects’ vehicle and license plate. As a result, the two suspects were later identified. State Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, and Officer West contacted the two suspects that had entered the refuge property without a permit. Both admitted to trespassing on the refuge and were issued summonses. Each was ordered to pay $155 in fines and court costs.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three

During the 2017 statewide muzzleloader season, State Wildlife Officer Brennan Earick, assigned to Ashland County, received a complaint of two individuals hunting without permission. Officer Earick and State Wildlife Investigator Banbury responded to the scene. State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, arrived a short time later and waited along the adjacent roadway. While Investigator Banbury spoke to a witness, Officer Earick proceeded toward the back of the complainant’s property and located two individuals with muzzleloaders. He contacted both men and instructed them to walk to Officer Brown’s vehicle. Once at the vehicle, Officer Earick issued both individuals summons for hunting without permission. Both individuals appeared in court and pleaded no contest to the charges. The men were convicted and ordered to pay over $700 in fines and court costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four

While on patrol, the Glouster Police Department located two men who had active warrants and arrested them. The individuals were carrying a bag of freshly dug illegal ginseng and yellow root. State Wildlife Officer Mark Basinger, assigned to Athens County, followed up with the police department and interviewed the suspects. Each man was charged with digging ginseng during the closed season and harvesting ginseng and yellow root without permission of the landowner. The case is still pending in court.

During the recent summer holiday weekends, state wildlife officers from District 4 worked at Lake Rupert in Vinton County due to litter complaints received from the public. During their patrols, the officers observed multiple stream litter, fishing, and drug-related offenses. The officers issued 17 summonses to individuals for the violations.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five

State Wildlife Officers Brad Buening, assigned to Mercer County, and Mark Schemmel, assigned to Auglaize County, were working sport fishing enforcement at Grand Lake St. Marys over the Memorial Day holiday. While patrolling from a boat, the officers found two individuals who were trespassing on the Mercer Wildlife Area refuge. The officers approached the individuals and checked them for valid fishing licenses. As the individuals provided their fishing licenses to the officers, they admitted that they had chosen to ignore the posted signs against trespassing and continued to fish. Both individuals were charged for trespassing onto the refuge and were later arraigned into the Celina Municipal Court. Each was ordered to pay $175 in fines and court costs.

FILE – This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows death row inmate Robert Van Hook, convicted of fatally strangling and stabbing David Self in 1985 after meeting him in a Cincinnati bar. Van Hook’s execution is scheduled Wednesday, July 18, 2018, and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction planned to transport Van Hook on Tuesday, July 17, from death row in Chillicothe to the state death house at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/07/web1_120965731-d789641967cc426eb0375bdec8beb238.jpgFILE – This undated file photo provided by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction shows death row inmate Robert Van Hook, convicted of fatally strangling and stabbing David Self in 1985 after meeting him in a Cincinnati bar. Van Hook’s execution is scheduled Wednesday, July 18, 2018, and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction planned to transport Van Hook on Tuesday, July 17, from death row in Chillicothe to the state death house at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville. (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction via AP, File)

Staff & Wire Reports