I was contacted by the family attorney for 19-year old Jacob Limberios of Sandusky County, Ohio about the shoddy investigation by law enforcement, and the absolute failure of the county coroner to (1) even go to the home where Jake died, and (2) the refusal to autopsy Jake to determine a cause of death. Rather than doing so, Jake’s death was ruled a suicide by accident. Jacob died from a gunshot to the head in Sandusky County on March 2, 2012. Three friends were present and stated that Jake put the gun to his head when he was on the phone and pulled the trigger, even though he knew there was still a live round in the .357 magnum. Statements since that time have conflicted, and evidence was allowed to be discarded or not even collected by Sandusky County Sheriff’s. One witness during her statement to law enforcement referred to the incident that night as the “murder”.
Since that time the family through their attorney have desperately tried to get cooperation from county officials to actually investigate the matter and to change the cause of death. County Coroner Dr. John Wukie declared the death a suicide within hours of the death and to this day has refused to change that ruling. One must ask – how do you declare a death anything without actually viewing the body or at the least conducting an autopsy? This case is rife with judicial failures and is one that I feel needs to be brought to a much wider public audience. There is power in numbers and utilizing those numbers for a demand for justice or in the least — that Sandusky County officials do what they are being paid to do by the citizens of their county — INVESTIGATE this case properly.
The Limberios’ were forced to employ the assistance of noted forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht who exhumed Jake’s body and conducted an autopsy. His findings were that there is “incontrovertible forensic scientific proof” that someone else shot Jacob Limberios. Dr. Wecht also stated the the tissue sample had no gunpowder residue in it thus affirming his assertions that Jake could not have shot himself. Someone else did. The deputies on the scene also failed to collect all evidence; namely the bullet that was and is still lodged in the ceiling of the crime scene. They also did not swab the witnesses for gunpowder residue.
“What 10th-grade kid in America wouldn’t say, ‘Let’s see if (the bullet lodged in the ceiling) matches up with the gun?’” Wecht said. “Even a 6-year old boy would say, ‘Let’s see if there were fingerprints left on the gun.’”
“These are basic things,” he said. “There’s nothing special about what I’m saying.”
Wecht also kept tissue samples for the Lucas County Coroner’s office. The Sandusky Register determined that Sandusky County NEVER sent the tissue samples to Lucas County. After this information was made known to Dr. Wuchie and his office, he recently decided that they wanted to exhume Jake’s body to perform an autopsy. Why not examine the tissue samples provided to his office by Dr. Wecht? Why put the family through the heartache of a second exhumation when he has tissue samples available to review without the need for an exhumation? Attorney McGookey filed a Motion for a Preliminary Injunction to block a second exhumation of Jake.
The Limberios’ family are essentially having to BEG Attorney General Mike DeWine to step in as special prosecutor in this matter so that their son’s death is investigated properly — as it should have been done from day one. They have filed a motion to remove Dean Henry from the case and appoint a special prosecutor because Dean Henry, County Prosecutor is not only the prosecutor on the case at hand, but also represents Dr. Wuchie and others in a civil action filed by the Limberios family. Conflict of interest, anyone?
Ansted and Dewey appointed Henry prosecutor Feb. 5, in an unusual court order both signed without having an assigned case.
Ansted had earlier recused herself from becoming involved in the Limberios investigation, citing a conflict of interest, but she has refused to offer an explanation how that conflict no longer applied in naming Henry to serve as both special prosecutor and defense counsel regarding the killing of 19-year-old Jacob Limberios.
Legal scholars and practicing attorneys have suggested Henry’s dual roles — as prosecutor and defense counsel — presents an obvious conflict of interest that hampers his ability to conduct a competent criminal investigation properly.
The family sent an open letter to Dr. Wuchie and others asking critical questions regarding the investigation which have yet to be answered.
So, what can you do about it? Demand action. Sign the change.org petition and share with your friends and family. Email or telephone Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and tell him to do the right thing by stepping in. This family deserves answers.
This post is going to be short and sweet and one that is not going to address particulars, but one that is hopefully meaningful and provokes thought and ultimately — action. The grand jury begins selection tomorrow and will convene next week. Rather than pointing fingers and accusing others of creating a path of destruction through Steubenville, it is time to let go of the hate and move forward. Nothing good ever comes of holding onto negativity. This can only happen when that one person has the audacity and courage to be the one person standing to create change. The ball is in your court. Healing begins with change.
Justice is a two way street. Sometimes getting there is not an easy endeavor. When any victim has to testify against their accuser it can be brutal and oftentimes the victim is re-victimized as a result. That being said, defendants in this country are guaranteed certain legal procedural rights, and one of them is the right to face their accuser. It says so in the Constitution so I’m not just making this up. In the Steubenville case, subpoenas were issued to juveniles living across the river in West Virginia. One of the subpoenas was issued for Jane Doe. I think my confusion here is — shouldn’t the state have issued a subpoena to her? And if not, perhaps this is why Mr. Madison was compelled to do so. I’m not an attorney, but I would think that her testimony is essential for BOTH sides of this case.
On Friday Hancock County Judge Ronald Wilson rejected the subpoena requests and cited no legal case from anywhere in the country to support the argument that the three West Virginia juveniles could be compelled to testify but stated in his 4-page ruling that Ohio and West Virginia law differ in their comparisons of a juvenile delinquency proceeding and a criminal trial.
“The proceeding in Ohio is not a criminal action — it is not a criminal prosecution — and it is not a criminal proceeding.”
Wilson added that there is no law his court follows which gives him the right to honor the Ohio request for the subpoenas. How does this not create a legal conundrum because Mr. Madison’s client has a constitutional right that is being denied him?
Madison said that the victim’s testimony was central to his client’s case and would involve her recollection of her actions before and after the incident, including what she told hospital staff, her friends and a text messages she sent to one of the accused boys after the incident.
“My client has a constitutional right to confront his accuser,” Madison said. “He has to have the right to call witnesses on his behalf.”
With regard to the text messages that Jane Doe allegedly sent - it has been discovered through social media that her phone went missing for a few days. Translation: She did not have possession of her cell phone. I have many questions. Questions that started me on this journey for the truth back in August. Here are a few that come to mind with the news of denying the subpoenas.
- What date did the text message allegedly sent from Jane Doe take place?
- Is it possible that Trent Mays may have sent the text himself?
- How would anyone be able to prove that this occurred since it is rumored that no phone records/ping info or social media was subpoenaed?
- What is it that was told to hospital staff and could this information implicate others?
I agree with Mr. Madison. Both defendants have the right to confront their accuser as well as call witnesses on their behalf and if it is true that other witnesses are going to invoke their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves to avoid prosecution – how will this affect the entire trial?
The Steubenville trial is quickly approaching and once all is said and done – lives will be changed forever. Lives have been changed regardless of the outcome. The lives of every person who tweeted or retweeted the events of that night will forever have those bad decisions to follow them anytime someone Googles their name. Michael Nodianos’ life changed when he and his friends laughed maniacally over the sexual assault of a young girl. Many lives have changed, including my own.
I was sued for defamation of character for allowing the exchange of ideas and opinions on this blog. My anonymous commenters lives were changed as well. I am sure many of them are hesitant about ever voicing an opinion online for fear of becoming a legal target again because in their town you aren’t supposed to talk about it. I was hospitalized for a week while trying to defend myself from accusations of defamation and trying to make sure that my John Does weren’t hung out to dry. I’m okay with that. It was worth every second of it to stand tall and fight for what I believed in.
And then my life changed when people who I thought were my friends jumped on the “Alex is attacking our town” bandwagon and used our friendship as a weapon in their attempts to wipe their own slate clean. My writing about Steubenville has never been an attack on the town as a whole. There are some wonderful people there, and I still have friends and supporters there. I wrote about this case because I was providing information that the media was not. ANYONE looking for the information could have found it. I lived in Steubenville and think I have insight into what it is like there. I have no grudge against an entire town. I have no grudge against individuals – even the mother of my former best friend who wished AIDS on me and hoped that I died a slow death. I feel sorry for her that a woman her age has is capable of this much hate and I am embarrassed that Connie’s mother has brought her own family shame because of her behavior.
This is someone’s mother.
Indeed, lives have changed and will continue to change. Life is change. Embrace it.
Ali Salim, 44, a New Albany, Ohio ER physician who previously worked at Knox County Hospital was indicted in the murder of Deanna Ballman and her unborn child by a Delaware County grand jury. He was arrested at his home yesterday without incident. I wrote about Deanna’s case last August when she went missing. Deanna disappeared on July 31. She told her mother that she was going to clean a house in New Albany. She had answered an ad on Craigslist. She left her two children, ages 1 and 3 years, with her mother in Pataskala. Deanna had just moved back to the area from Colorado where she was an Army Reservist and was going through a divorce. She was also nine months pregnant with a baby girl she planned to name Mabel Lily.
When Deanna did not come home that night her mother became worried and called Pataskala Police to report her missing. She had received a phone call from Deanna that disturbed her. She said Deanna had told her that she didn’t feel right and was feeling dizzy. Deanna was due to deliver her child soon. Deanna’s car was found in Delaware County when someone called the sheriff’s office to report that a car with Colorado license plates was parked in the grass near the tree line along the road. Deanna’s body was found in the backseat. A coroner’s report determined that she had died of a heroin overdose and her death was ruled suspicious. Deanna’s family was adamant that she was not a known heroin user and maintained all along that she had met with foul play. Continue reading Doctor Indicted in Murder of Deanna Ballman
Debra Copeland, a physical therapist at the School of Bright Promise in Jefferson County, Ohio was put on paid administrative leave and is facing three charges of child endangerment for abuse that was secretly recorded by an intern. The intern who worked at the School of Bright Promise secretly recorded the sessions with Copeland and two special needs children. The woman who is being identified as BJ told News 9:
“Her demeanor, the way she would speak about the children, sometimes I would hear her talk down to kids. It seemed odd to me.”
BJ recorded one video (posted below) that shows a child during a 30-minute physical therapy session where she can be seen sitting. Copeland then comes over and shoves the little girl back to the ground and says, “Get down now. I said down. No.”
Copeland is also seen picking the little girl up and making her stand with her legs in locked braces stating, ” Stand up you little bitch, stand up.” When I saw this video, I cried. This woman is working with our most vulnerable members of society and what she did and said to this child is beyond cruel and reprehensible.
This comment was left on WTOV9.com’s site regarding Debra Copeland.
Today in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse in Steubenville at 12:15 p.m. flash mob participants will perform a nearly five-minute dance by Broadway choreographer Debbie Allen to the song “Break the Chain,” written by Teva Clark. One Billion Rising events will be held worldwide, including gatherings in Kent, Chardon, Cleveland, Fairview Park, Akron, John Carroll University and Notre Dame College.
Deb Lemire is the organizer of V-Day Akron and coordinated the flash mob to coincide with One Billion Rising, a global activist movement that brings attention to violence against women and girls. I have seen a lot of not so nice comments by some individuals in Steubenville who are claiming that outsiders have ruined the reputation of their town. I think it is awesome that outsiders continue to come to their town to bring attention to violence against women and girls. These people are making a difference. Perhaps those who are complaining could learn something from the “outsiders”.
Read more here.
I received this in an email the other day and was so touched by it that I wanted to share. I can tell you that while watching all of the rallies, I have been so incredibly moved by the outpouring of support for Jane Doe, but for all of those wonderfully compassionate and caring people who braved cold weather to let their voices be heard.
Third Wintery Weather Rally
(Thankful good people like Prinnie were willing to share the truth, hard as it was to hear).
Tying my hood a little tighter, as the wind sneaks through to my ears, shuffling my boots to dig deeper into the patch of snow and ice so I don’t slide off the curb where I’m standing to give myself a few extra inches of height…..looking at the crowd of speakers..at the Guy Fawkes masks, wondering which one is which…do the social media admins even come to these local protests? I am not as computer savvy as I’d like to be. I don’t tweet, I don’t even own a cell phone…refuse to be that assessable…always did hate phones. But, have been following these young Anon’s that have put up Facebook pages on her behalf. Most of them are probably not much older than she.
Been spending parts of days off of work going from one Facebook page to another, reading article after article, post after post, (I even found twitter on my iPad), searching, waiting, hoping that more will have the morals, values and character to do the right thing, to stand up and state, “I was there, this is what happened , this is what I did, and I am very very sorry”. But, the teens who attended these rape crew parties obviously have parents whose parenting skills are as rusty as the skeletal remains of the steel mills that lie dead on the shores of the Ohio.
So many involved and only two taking the fall for all. The posts from these deviants along with my intuition tells me there are other rapists who have been kept safe from the same fate.
Just one from the very large crowd of the apathetic ‘I didn’t help her’ guilty came forward to apologize to this young victim. Not only does no one else step up to apologize to the innocent students for the shame they brought upon their school, but many big fish in this small pond of a town are going to extreme measures to discredit the very people who are here for this little girl. Instead of honest, lets fix this mess and salvage our reputation, there is damage control. For many it is easier for this dying town to make excuses for and divert attention from the football team, involved students, coaches and school board members than to confront, acknowledge and amend. I am frustrated at the lack of empathy.
I am angry that the very citizens of this town did not call forth this rally to stand up for this victim and to state loud and clear, ‘Rape In My Town Is Unacceptable!’
But they didn’t, so here I stand with these strangers who did; old, tired and growing colder. Beating my gloved hands together to try for a little friction heat. I read the protest signs, lend my ear to the voices, smile at these vocal youth who are all heart, giving the only thing I can offer this young girl – my presence and support.
I stand in the middle of a group. Surrounded by local police who are keeping their crumbling city safe from this little old lady so bundled up she can barely move. A kind person passes out hand warmers and blue ribbons. This rally is young, old, man, woman, boy, girl, victim, survivor, neighbors of Ohio Valley near and far. We are masked and unmasked. We are a presence sharing our hope that she hears our voices saying, “we are so sorry sweetie, we are doing what we can to drown out their apathy , hoping our presence will bring enough attention to this case that as hard as they might try to stop it, you have a fair chance for justice”.
I tie my Steeler black and gold scarf a little tighter around my neck, carefully step off the icy curb to make my way across the river to home ….a little lighter in heart because these people braving this weather, speaking from their heart…. are something that is right in this world.
Last night a gentleman contacted me about two Weirton, WV families who were in dire need of supplies for their children. The families needed baby diapers (sizes 1, 5 and 6) and Similac with iron formula. The children range in ages from 2 to 10 years old. Through the use of social media we were able to get donations of food cards, gift cards and many people are sending the children much needed clothing.
While waiting for the mail to make its way to West Virginia, the kids are going to need to eat. I spoke with Rob at Fox’s Den Pizza in Weirton and he has agreed to take phone donations towards a gift card for pizza for the weekend. You can call (304) 723-3697 and ask for him. He will take your cc info towards gift certificate donation.
A very special thank you to everyone who has helped and to Kathi Eastham, owner of Fox’s Den for helping these families out!!