Local News

LEE WANTED TO REPRESENT HIMSELF; ASKED FOR SPEEDY TRIAL

(Richmond, IN)--Phillip Lee, who is charged with shooting and killing Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton, made an appearance in a Wayne County courtroom on Wednesday.  In that hearing, Lee initially told the judge that he wanted to represent himself in the case.  Lee then changed his mind as the hearing progressed and agreed to use two court-appointed attorneys.  Lee also asked for a speedy trial.  Some of Seara Burton’s family members were on hand for the hearing.  Lee faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.  The trial was originally set for next month but, as expected, was pushed back to sometime next year.

JUVENILES CAUGHT AFTER FRIDAY MORNING CAR CHASE

(Richmond, IN)--Two juveniles led Richmond police on a chase early Friday morning.  It began near the Uptown area, headed west on Richmond Avenue, and ended when they crashed near Nixon Tool.  County officials say a 15-year-old was captured near the Cardinal Greenway.  The underage driver also fled in that direction and reportedly jumped off a cliff in the gorge area.  One person was taken to Reid Health.  That person’s condition has not been released.

TEEN KILLED IN WEDNESDAY CRASH

(Randolph County, IN)--A Randolph County teen is dead as the result of a Wednesday crash.  Investigators say that 19-year-old Kaden Purdin of Union City was headed south in the 9500 block of South Arba Pike.  A witness said that Purdin was traveling at a high rate of speed, went off the side of the road, overcorrected, and then rolled over several times.  Purdin was pronounced dead at the scene.  The investigation continues.

HEARING SET FOR WEDNESDAY FOR ACCUSED RPD OFFICER'S KILLER

(Richmond, IN)--The man charged with shooting and ultimately killing Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton is due for a pretrial hearing Wednesday morning.  Phillip Lee now faces the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.  On Tuesday, Judge April Drake issued a court management and decorum order.  In addition to the murder charge, Lee also faces two counts of attempted murder and several other felony charges.  He’s been held in a state prison near Kokomo on a probation violation.

SCANNER TRAFFIC: PEDESTRIAN STRUCK IN LIBERTY

(Liberty, IN)--Union County officials are not releasing any information about what came across scanners Tuesday night as a pedestrian strike.  Scanner traffic indicated that a pedestrian was struck at the intersection of Main and Seminary Street in Liberty.  The victim – again, according to scanner traffic – was flown to Miami Valley Hospital and a suspect was taken to Reid Health Connersville for a blood draw.  Union County officials said Wednesday morning that no one had been booked into jail in connection with the incident.

DOG RESCUED AFTER FALLING THROUGH ICE ON RANDOLPH COUNTY POND

(Parker City, IN)--In Randolph County on Tuesday, first responders rescued a dog that had fallen through a thin layer of ice on a retention pond.  It happened behind a dollar store in Parker City.  Firefighters went into the water and pulled out the husky, which had fallen through and was holding itself up with its front legs while the rest of the dog was submerged.  The dog was recovering at home last night.  The dollar store provided a leash, a collar, and towels for the dog.  (Photo:  Parker City Volunteer Fire Department)

RPD SEES DECREASE IN MANY CRIMES, CALLS FOR SERVICE

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond Police Chief Mike Britt passed along lots of crime statistics to Common Council Monday night.  In many areas, those numbers are headed in the right direction.  So far this year, there have been more than 26,000 calls for service to RPD.  It averages out to 86 calls per day.  They’re on pace to drop calls for service by about 9000 from last year.  As compared to 2015, the number of burglaries is down by more than half.  Britt said his department has continued to perform through the death of Officer Seara Burton.  "What we went through really didn't affect our statistics that much, so that speaks volumes about the type of employees I have," Britt said.  Britt told council that staffing shortage is a primary concern.  At least five more officers are needed.

RESIDENTS ENCOURAGED TO ATTEND COUNCIL MEETING REGARDING SEWER RATE INCREASE

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond residents are facing the likelihood of a significant increase in monthly sewer bills.  On Monday night, those residents were encouraged to attend council’s next meeting for public comment on the issue.  Rates would increase 13.75% next year and 5.75% the two years after that.  Also Monday night, council dealt with annexing 160 acres into the city limits.  "This petition would annex that land into the city limits," said Beth Fields.  The land is part of the Midwest Industrial Park’s third phase.

RHS WARNED IN SAME IHSAA MEETING THAT RESULTED IN KHALIQ SANCTIONS

(Richmond, IN)--Here’s more on the sanctioning of former Richmond High School boys basketball coach and current Mooresville coach Shabaz Khaliq that Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point News reported Monday morning.  Khaliq was sanctioned and the program was placed on probation for what amounted to recruiting of players from other schools.  Those were the same allegations Khaliq faced at Richmond, although he was never penalized.  In the same meeting regarding Khaliq, the Richmond High School football team was also warned for playing an academically ineligible player.  If Richmond would have won any of the games, they would have had to forfeit.  But, that wasn’t an issue.  Richmond finished 0-10 and was outscored 518-66 over the season.

ONE DEAD IN RICHMOND WAREHOUSE FIRE

(Richmond, IN)--There was a fatal fire over the weekend in Richmond.  It broke out at 10 o’clock Saturday morning in a vacant warehouse in the 600 block of South J Street.  Two people were spotted inside.  Firefighters were able to get a ladder up to a window and help those two people get out.  They reported that a third person was also inside near where a roof had already collapsed.  Crews re-entered the burning warehouse, but had to retreat for their own safety.  When the fire was brought under control, the victim was found inside.  No identity has been released.  There’s no word yet on what started the fire.

SEARA BURTON'S NAMED ADDED TO RPD/RFD MEMORIAL

(Richmond, IN)--The name of Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton is now permanently inscribed on the Richmond Fire and Police Memorial.  A small ceremony was held Friday to unveil her name and was attended by Seara’s family and RPD officers.  This weekend marked the two-month point since she died after being shot in the line of duty.  Seara’s name on the memorial joins Amos Markle, George Little, Elmer Stephenson, John Hennigar, and Kenneth Lester as RPD officers who have died in the line of duty.

FORMER RICHMOND HIGH SCHOOL BOYS BASKETBALL COACH SANCTIONED BY IHSAA

(Mooresville, IN)--During the final year of Shabaz Khaliq’s three-year tenure as boys basketball coach at Richmond High School, allegations swirled around the coach and the program.  Those allegations included recruitment of players well outside Richmond and arranging housing for out-of-area players without adult supervision at a home on South West 3rd.  Now, Khaliq has been sanctioned for similar actions at Mooresville.  Mooresville has been placed on probation until next summer for what the IHSAA has called “unacceptable and serious violations.”  Those violations include contact with players at other IHSAA schools.  Shabaz had cited racism as his primary reason for leaving Richmond for Mooresville.

WOMAN ARRESTED FOR KILLING GRANDMOTHER HAS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HISTORY

(Eaton, OH)--More information became available Thursday in the tragic murder of a 93-year-old Eaton woman at the hands of her own granddaughter earlier this week.  Heidi Matheny admitted to drowning Alice Matheny – first in the kitchen sink and then in a bathtub.  Heidi had been her grandmother’s caregiver.  According to a police report obtained Thursday, investigators asked Heidi Matheny what led up to the drowning.  Her response was “Nothing special.  It was like any other day.”  Heidi had been arrested for domestic violence last year.  Details of that case have not yet become available.

FITNESS EQUIPMENT DONATED IN HONOR OF SEARA BURTON

(Richmond, IN)--Police officers and firefighters in Richmond have some new workout equipment that honors their recently fallen colleague.  Indiana Bourbon presented SearaStrong equipment to be used at the Fire and Police Training Center.  The weight plates are inscribed in blue with the words SearaStrong in honor of Seara Burton.  Seara, according to the announcement Thursday, loved the gym and her fellow officers.

"MONSTER" WHO SNATCHED 95-YEAR-OLD'S PURSE ARRESTED AGAIN

(Richmond, IN)--A wanted man who once told a judge that he was a monster was taken into custody on South 7th Street in Richmond Thursday night.  Five years ago, Damien Carter was sentenced to nine years in prison for knocking down a 95-year-old woman and snatching her purse.  Carter had been paroled and recently became wanted for violating that parole.  When police arrested him Thursday night, Carter allegedly resisted and was in possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

WOMAN ADMITS TO DROWNING HER GRANDMOTHER

(Eaton, OH)--More details were released Wednesday afternoon about the Tuesday night murder in Eaton that Kicks 96 and 101.7 The Point news reported Wednesday morning.  The victim of 35-year-old Heidi Matheny is her own 93-year-old grandmother.  "The circumstances, to say the least, are upsetting," said Eaton Police Chief Steve Hurd.  Alice Matheny was doing dishes in the kitchen sink when her granddaughter attacked.  "She started to drown her in the sink...wasn't convinced she was deceased, and then moved her to the bathtub and drowned her in the bathtub," Hurd explained.  Heidi Matheny was her grandmother’s caregiver.  A doctor had recommended that Alice Matheny go to a nursing home, Heidi Matheny had said she couldn’t afford it because she owns her home.  After the homicide, Heidi Matheny walked to the sheriff’s department and turned herself in.

PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR LEE HEARING

(Richmond, IN)--Preparations are underway for an upcoming hearing for the man charged with shooting and ultimately killing Richmond Police Officer Seara Burton.  Phillip Lee is due in a Wayne County courtroom on Wednesday of next week.  That hearing will be a standard initial hearing and, according to Odyssey online court records, will include a hearing on correspondence from Lee.  A transport order for Lee has also been entered.  He’s currently in a state prison near Kokomo.

SEMI CRASH CLOSES I-70 FOR HOURS

(Wayne County, IN)--An accident on I-70 slowed eastbound traffic through Wayne County for hours.  Two semis collided late Wednesday afternoon about a mile east of the Centerville Road exit.  One semi was split open.  Fruit cups and other produce spilled out all over the interstate.  Cleanup took hours and traffic was backed up for miles.  Crews finally cleared the scene at around nine o’clock Wednesday night.  There’s been no word so far on injuries or what caused the crash.

RICHMOND RESIDENTS FACE SEWER RATE INCREASE

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond residents are facing the possibility of a fairly significant increase in wastewater rates.  At the last meeting of Richmond Common Council, rates at the landfill were increased.  The new proposal would apply to wastewater.  It’s the result of an effort to keep up with increasing costs.  "The goal is always to offer these services at cost," said Sanitary District Director Pat Smoker.  How much would rates increase?  "What we're proposing is a 13.75% increase for next year and then 2.75% the two years following that, Smoker said.  The proposed increase will now go before Common Council.

EATON WOMAN ARRESTED FOR TUESDAY NIGHT MURDER

(Eaton, OH)--There was a homicide in Eaton Tuesday night.  Only a few details have been released so far, but police were called to a home on Somers Street at around 6 o'clock.  Later Tuesday night, 35-year-old Heidi Matheny was booked into the Preble County Jail and charged with murder.  Last year, Matheny was charged with domestic violence.  There is no word yet on the victim’s identity or what led to the murder.

MAN INDICTED FOR FIRING SHOTS IN LAKENGREN

(Eaton, OH)--A Preble County grand jury has issued a criminal indictment against a man accused of firing shots inside Lakengren last month.  On the evening of October 19, residents in the 200 block of Hatchet Drive heard several gunshots fired in rapid succession.  At least one round struck a home.  That round was found lodged in a couch where the homeowner was sleeping.  After an extensive investigation, which included witness interviews and review of surveillance video, James Ivey was identified as the suspect.  The incident was not a targeted case.  Ivey does not know the victim and said he was shooting at what appeared to be a coyote.  Last week, Ivey was indicted on one count Shooting into a Habitation (felony) and one count of Criminal Damaging (misdemeanor).  Ivey has family that lives inside Lakengren and had permission to be inside the gated community.  He was cooperative through the investigation.  The weapon has been recovered.

RESIDENTS WARNED OF HOME INTRUDERS POSING AS DOOR DASH DELIVERERS

(Franklin County, IN)--Authorities in Franklin County are warning residents in rural areas to be on the lookout for would-be home intruders.  The three are pretending to make a Door Dash delivery, but they’re really just trying to determine if anyone is home.  If not, they’re breaking in.  It happened last Friday to Mallory Holman, who was home with her two-year-old.  She didn’t hear the knock at the door and then, this:  "I noticed there were two masked me standing in my kitchen," Holman said.  She yelled and the men fled.  The trio is suspected of breaking into numerous homes in multiple counties, including Franklin.

CONNERSVILLE RAILROAD TRESTLE STRUCK 45 TIMES IN TWO YEARS

(Connersville, IN)--In Connersville, city leaders on Monday announced some steps they’re taking to stop semis and other high-profile vehicles from slamming into the railroad trestle on Central Avenue because they can’t fit underneath.  The city now says its happened an incredible 45 times in the last couple of years.  A feasibility study that would examine the cost of lowering the road under the trestle is planned.  There is also new lighting and signage in the works.  The city would also like to paint the trestle a brighter color, but CSX – which owns the bridge – won’t allow it.

WORK PROGRESSES ON READMORE THROUGH CITY'S PLACE PROGRAM

(Richmond, IN)--The city of Richmond provided an update Monday on a long-standing uptown building.  Work is progressing on the former Readmore Building at 9th and East Main.  The rehabilitation of that building is part of the city PLACE program, which identified blighted downtown properties and uses Redevelopment Commission funding for upgrades.  Crews are currently fixing damage to the roof.

RPD CONTINUES TO SEEK LEADS IN WEEKEND SHOOTING DEATH

(Richmond, IN)--Richmond police are still seeking information about the city’s latest fatal shooting.  Early Saturday morning, officers responded to the 1100 block of North I Street and found 33-year-old Nicholas Lakes dead at the scene.  The only information on the suspected shooter is that the person was wearing a mask, dressed in red, and fled to the east.  Lakes had been scheduled for a pre-trial hearing in two separate drug-dealing cases two weeks from today.  Police would like to hear from anyone who can help with the shooting investigation.

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