Consequences of SB 256

Senate Bill 256 has been signed into law. This bill will have profound negative consequences, which will be documented on this page. We are saddened that these horrific consequences were allowed to occur.

If you are a victim who is impacted by SB 256 or if you would like more information on it, please contact me at novjmohio@gmail.com.

Sign our petition to Ohio lawmakers to help victims by amending current law.

Statement on SB 256 becoming law from our Ohio coordinator

TL;DR

NOVJM is sad to report that Governor DeWine has signed SB 256, which requires all juvenile criminals to be eligible for parole with the narrow exemption of triple murderers. Double murderers are eligible after 30 years while murderers who kill one person are eligible after 25 years. The triple homicide exception only applies to principal offenders, meaning that accomplices who participate in the murders of three or more people are eligible for parole. There are also no exceptions made for other types of aggravated murders, such as murders committed during a rape or murders of children. Non-homicide offenders are eligible for parole after 18 years, regardless of the number of people they harm on the impact of the crimes on victims. 

256 endangers Ohioans by making several dangerous criminals including a quadruple murderer, thrill killers, rapists, and a necrophile, eligible for parole. The bill also forces victims to relive the crimes at parole hearings, resulting in significant trauma. This harmful and dangerous bill was rammed through with little consideration for victims and safety. It was supported by well-funded juvenile offender advocates who used propaganda, such as pictures of young children. Once again, victims have been significantly harmed. 

SB 256 is a dangerous bill that passed due to recklessness and gross negligence on the part of politicians and lies and propaganda on the part of activists. 256 will directly lead to violent crime. The writing is on the wall and that writing is in blood.

Complete statement

NOVJM is sad to report that Senate Bill 256 was signed into law by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. NOVJM opposed SB 256 because of the impact it has on victims and public safety. More information on our position can be found on our main page on the bill and in our letter to the House Speaker. The bill, which reduces sentencing options for juvenile criminals, was rammed through without consideration for the impact on public safety and justice. It was backed by well-funded juvenile offender advocates who used manipulation and propaganda to promote their agenda of freeing violent criminals. 256 endangers Ohioans by making many dangerous criminals, including rapists, a necrophilie, and mass murderers eligible for parole. 256 also inflicts devastating harm on victims, by forcing them to endure traumatizing parole hearings. Lawmakers who supported the bill recklessly and/or negligently disregarded these harms and sent the message that the freedom of violent criminals matters more than victims’ rights and safety. 

SB 256 requires that juvenile criminals be eligible for parole unless they murder three or more people. The triple homicide exception was added to prevent the notorious Chardon High School killer T.J. Lane from getting out of prison. Murderers who kill two people are eligible for parole after 30 years, while murderers who kill one person are eligible after 25 years. The multiple homicide exceptions only apply to those who actually kill two or more people. They do not apply to attempted murders. This means that criminals like Devonere Simmonds, who murder two people and attempt to murder several others, are required to be eligible for parole. Under 256, a juvenile could kill two people and injure and attempt to murder 20 people but still be eligible for parole after 30 years. A juvenile who kills one person and injures and attempts to murder 20 people is eligible for parole after 25 years. If they shoot and attempt to kill 20 people, but succeed in killing none, they are required to be parole eligible after 18 years, as described below.

The multiple homicide exceptions only apply when the killer is the principal offender in each murder.  The bill requires that killers like Jordyn Wade, who actively participate in multiple murders, but who are not principal offenders, be eligible for parole. A juvenile could actively participate in the murders of dozens of people but if they were not the principal offender, they can get out after 25 years.  Let’s say two terrorists go on a shooting rampage. The juvenile terrorist shoots and kills two people and perhaps shoots and injures many more. His partner in crime shoots and kills 20 people. The juvenile terrorist was the principal offender in two murders and an active accomplice in 20 murders. In total, he is responsible for 22 murders. Yet he is required to be eligible for parole. This just doesn’t add up. Our law should not be written like this.


While 256 allows juvenile triple homicide offenders to be sentenced to life without parole, it mandates parole eligibility for juveniles who commit one or two aggravated murders, regardless of the aggravating factors involved. A juvenile can murder a child, commit a murder during a rape, or murder a witness and be required to be eligible for parole. 

Non-homicide offenders are eligible for parole after 18 years, regardless of the number of people they harm or the impact of their crimes on victims. A juvenile could destroy someone’s life by inflicting significant injuries that disfigure, disable, or incapacitate them, and be released after a mere 18 years. A juvenile could rape nine people but be released after serving two years per victim. A juvenile could shoot and attempt to murder 18 people and get out after serving one year per victim.

SB 256 makes several dangerous criminals eligible for parole. They include:

Chaz Bunch and Brandon Moore. Bunch and Moore kidnapped and repeatedly gang-raped a young woman. Bunch wanted to murder her. Moore shoved a gun in her mouth and threatened to harm her and her family if she told anyone about the crimes. Because these crimes were committed in 2001, 19 years ago, Moore and Bunch are immediately eligible for parole. 

Devonere Simmonds. Simmonds murdered two people and attempted to murder two others during a 2013 crime spree. One of the murders involved Simmonds shooting a store clerk in the eye during a robbery, departing, and then returning to fatally shoot the wounded man in the head.

Gavon Ramsay. Ramsay invaded a 98-year-old woman’s home,  strangled her to death and then undressed and sexually abused her corpse for several hours, taking disturbing pictures and video of the abuse. Ramsay was interested in serial killers and had long fantasized about raping and murdering people.

 Jacob LaRosa. LaRosa invaded the home of a 94-year-old woman, attempted to rape her, and beat her to death with a heavy metal flashlight. 

Jordyn Wade. Wade was an active participant in the murders of four people and the attempted murder of one other during a home invasion robbery. During the home invasion, Wade and his partner in crime Robert Adams took the victims hostage, robbed them, and forced them into the basement. Adams asked Wade, “should I off (kill) them all?” Wade answered, “yes.” Adams then shot the five victims, murdering four of them. A 16 year old girl was shot in the head but survived by playing dead. 

These crimes are not less heinous than T.J. Lane’s mass murder. Yet, lawmakers felt that while an exception should be made to prevent Lane from leaving prison, these other rapists and killers should be able to be released early. 

Lawmakers voted to allow these criminals to be released into our communities. This irresponsible move will, without a doubt, create more victims–paroled criminals often re-offend. 256 will also force victims to endure agonizing parole hearings, relive the crimes, and live with the debilitating fear of the offenders being released and harming them again.

SB 256 was supported by advocates of reducing sentencing options for juvenile criminals. The advocates of juvenile offenders have vast amounts of money and power. NOVJM, on the other hand, has no funding. Advocates of the bill are more concerned with giving violent criminals a chance to be released than they are with protecting the rights of victims and public safety. The same can be said about lawmakers who voted for it. NOVJM repeatedly explained to members of both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Criminal Justice Committee the devastating impact this bill would have on victims and the dangers it posed. 

Members of the committees slapped victims in the face by voting for a bill they knew would harm us. They were also aware of the dangerous nature of SB 256. Again, we repeatedly explained that parole boards often release dangerous criminals and we repeatedly explained the types of dangerous criminals whose sentences would be reduced by 256. Committee members who voted for 256 disregarded those dangers. Apparently, they believe it is more important to give rapists, necrophiles, mass murderers, and other depraved criminals a chance to be released than it is to protect victims and the public.

In the Model Penal Code and the Ohio Revised Code, recklessness is defined as the callous disregard of a substantial and unjustifiable risk. By voting for SB 256, committee members callously disregarded the bill’s substantial and unjust risks and thus acted recklessly. 

Other lawmakers who we did not have a chance to communicate with likely did not consider the dangers of the bill or the impact it would have on victims. According to the Model Penal Code and the ORC, a person acts with negligence when they fail to perceive or avoid a risk that they should have been aware of. These lawmakers’ lack of concern for the devastating consequences of 256 is grossly negligent. 

We are particularly disappointed with Governor DeWine. DeWine claims to care about the safety of Ohio citizens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, DeWine shut down the entire state, arguing that the negative impact of the shutdown was worth it to save lives from the disease. NOVJM takes no position on the governor’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic–that is completely unrelated to our organization’s mission of supporting murder victims’ families. We will, however, point out DeWine’s inconsistency. 

If shutting down an entire state is worth it to save lives from COVID shouldn’t incarcerating violent offenders be worth it to protect people from violent crime and save lives? Keeping rapists and murderers in prison is less disruptive than shutting down Ohio. 

To us, DeWine’s support for SB 256 reveals stunning hypocrisy. If DeWine truly cares about the safety of Ohioans, he would not support releasing criminals like Brandon Moore and Gavon Ramsay. Apparently, DeWine only cares about protecting his citizens from dangers that come in the form of a virus. However, he will not protect his citizens from dangers that come in the form of psychopathic criminals. By supporting 256, DeWine and other lawmakers sent a very clear message to Ohioans–your safety matters less than the freedom of violent criminals.

One of the reasons 256 passed was the propaganda used by its advocates. 256 proponents repeatedly called the violent criminals it would release “children“, painting an inaccurate image and tricking people into associating violent teen criminals with childhood traits such as innocence and vulnerability. By using this term, proponents exploited the natural urge we all have to protect actual children. Some 256 advocates even used pictures of seven and eight-year-old children to promote the bill, even though most of the criminals whose sentences were reduced by the bill were 16 and 17 when they committed the crimes. 

256 was rushed through with little consideration. It was in the House Criminal Justice Committee for under a month. A bill that retroactively reduces the sentences of rapists, murderers, and other violent criminals, and that has a significant impact on victims’ rights and public safety should be more carefully considered. Ramming this through without considering its consequences was negligent, reckless, and irresponsible.

SB 256 will cause devastating harms to victims and entire communities. Supporters of the bill, including activists, lobbyists, and politicians, are directly responsible for this harm. NOVJM believes that, at some point, an offender will be paroled due to SB 256 and go on to re-offend. When this happens, supporters of SB 256 will have blood on their hands. They also will have tears on their hands–tears shed by devastated victims who have to endure traumatic parole hearings. NOVJM urges lawmakers to consider safety and victims’ rights in the future. As for the situation now, what we will say is this: SB 256 is a dangerous bill that passed due to recklessness and gross negligence on the part of politicians and lies and propaganda on the part of activists. 256 will directly lead to violent crime. The writing is on the wall and that writing is in blood.

Impact on Victims

On this page, we explain the devastating impact SB 256 is having on Ohio victims.

Speaking out

On this episode of Roberta Glass’s True Crime Report, an NOVJM volunteer explains the dangerous and devastating consequences of SB 256.

The volunteer also speaks about SB 256 in this episode.

Hold supporters accountable

SB 256 was supported by the Alliance for Safety and Justice, Americans for Prosperity, Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, Office of the Public DefenderOhio Justice & Policy Center, Players Coalition, Represent Justice, and Responsible Business Initiative for Justice.

Supporters of 256 are directly responsible for the bill’s negative impacts.

Hold lawmakers accountable

As with the organizations listed above, politicians who supported 256 are directly responsible for its negative consequences. We encourage people to message politicians who sponsored and voted for SB 256 and express concerns.

Governor DeWine

Contact Governor DeWine using this link.

Sponsors

The main sponsors of 256 were Nathan Manning (sd13@ohiosenate.gov) and Peggy Lehner. Co-sponsors include:

Representatives
Erica C. Crawley (rep26@ohiohouse.gov)
Jeffrey Crossman (rep15@ohiohouse.gov)
Al Cutrona (rep59@ohiohouse.gov)
Tavia Galonski (rep35@ohiohouse.gov)
Catherine D. Ingram (rep32@ohiohouse.gov)
George F. Lang (now a senator) (sd04@ohiosenate.gov)
David Leland (rep22@ohiohouse.gov)
Mary Lightbody (rep19@ohiohouse.gov)
Joe Miller (rep56@ohiohouse.gov)
C. Allison Russo (rep24@ohiohouse.gov)
William Seitz (rep30@ohiohouse.gov)
Michael Sheehy (rep46@ohiohouse.gov)
Kent Smith (rep08@ohiohouse.gov)
J. Todd Smith
Lisa Sobecki (rep45@ohiohouse.gov)
Bride Rose Sweeney (rep14@ohiohouse.gov)
Emilia Strong Sykes (rep34@ohiohouse.gov)
Thomas West (rep49@ohiohouse.gov)
Senators
Nickie Antonio (sd23@ohiosenate.gov)
Louis W. Blessing, III (sd08@ohiosenate.gov)
Dave Burke
Hearcel Craig (sd15@ohiosenate.gov)
Matt Dolan (sd24@ohiosenate.gov)
John Eklund
Teresa Fedor (sd11@ohiosenate.gov)
Bob D. Hackett (sd10@ohiosenate.gov)
Jay Hottinger (sd31@ohiosenate.gov)
Stephen A. Huffman (sd05@ohiosenate.gov)
Stephanie Kunze (sd16@ohiosenate.gov)
Tina Maharath (sd03@ohiosenate.gov)
Vernon Sykes (sd28@ohiosenate.gov)
Cecil Thomas (sd09@ohiosenate.gov)
Sandra R. Williams (sd21@ohiosenate.gov)
Steve Wilson (sd07@ohiosenate.gov)

(If there is no email listed and no page hyper-linked, they are no longer a senator or representative).

Voters

Below is a list of lawmakers who voted for SB 256.

Senate Judiciary Committee–September 16
John Eklund (R)

Theresa Gavarone (R)


Matt Huffman (R)

Peggy Lehner (R)


Nathan H. Manning (R)

Cecil Thomas (D)

Senate–September 23

Nickie Antonio (D)

Louis W. Blessing, III (R)
Andrew O. Brenner (R)

Dave Burke (R)
Hearcel Craig (D)

Matt Dolan (R)
John Eklund (R)

Teresa Fedor (D)
Theresa Gavarone (R)

Bob D. Hackett (R)
Jay Hottinger (R)

Matt Huffman (R)
Stephen A. Huffman (R)

Terry Johnson (R)
Stephanie Kunze (R)

Peggy Lehner (R)
Tina Maharath (D)

Nathan H. Manning (R)
Rob McColley (R)

Larry Obhof (R)
Bob Peterson (R)

Kristina Roegner (R)
Michael A. Rulli (R)

Kirk Schuring (R)
Vernon Sykes (D)

Cecil Thomas (D)
Sandra R. Williams (D)

Steve Wilson (R)
Kenny Yuko (D)

House Criminal Justice Committee-December 17

Jeffrey Crossman (D)

Al Cutrona (R)
Tavia Galonski (D)

George F. Lang (R)
David Leland (D)

Phil Plummer (R)
William Seitz (R)

Todd Smith (R)
Thomas West (D)

House-December 17

Cindy Abrams (R)

Brian Baldridge (R)
John Becker (R)

Kristin Boggs (D)
Juanita Brent (D)

Tom Brinkman (R)
Jamie Callender (R)

Rick Carfagna (R)
Sara Carruthers (R)

Jack Cera (D)
Randi Clites (D)

Erica C. Crawley (D)
Jeffrey Crossman (D)

Robert R. Cupp (R)
Al Cutrona (R)

Bill Dean (R)
Sedrick Denson (D)

Mark Fraizer (R)
Tavia Galonski (D)

Haraz N. Ghanbari (R)
Timothy Ginter (R)

Doug Green (R)
Dave Greenspan (R)

Stephen D. Hambley (R)
Paula Hicks Hudson (D)

Brett Hudson Hillyer (R)
Adam Holmes (R)

Ron Hood (R)
James M. Hoops (R)

Stephanie Howse (D)
Catherine D. Ingram (D)

Don Jones (R)
Kris Jordan (R)

Candice R. Keller (R)
Brigid Kelly (D)

Darrell Kick (R)
J. Kyle Koehler (R)

Jeff LaRe (R)
Laura Lanese (R)

George F. Lang (R)
David Leland (D)

Mary Lightbody (D)
P. Scott Lipps (R)

Beth Liston (D)
Susan Manchester (R)

Gayle Manning (R)
Riordan T. McClain (R)

Adam C. Miller (D)
Joe Miller (D)

Jessica Miranda (D)
Scott Oelslager (R)

Rick Perales (R)
Phil Plummer (R)

Bill Reineke (R)
Tracy Richardson (R)

Craig S. Riedel (R)
Phil Robinson (D)

Bill Roemer (R)
Mark J. Romanchuk (R)

Allison Russo (D)
William Seitz (R)

Michael Sheehy (D)
Michael Skindell (D)

Kent Smith (D)
Todd Smith (R)

Lisa Sobecki (D)
Dick Stein (R)

Jason Stephens (R)
Reggie Stoltzfus (R)

Fred Strahorn (D)
D. J. Swearingen (R)

Bride Rose Sweeney (D)
Emilia Strong Sykes (D)

Thomas West (D)
Shane Wilkin (R)

What you can do

Email the entire Ohio Legislature and tell them to amend the law.

Dear Ohio Legislature,

My name is ____. I am emailing to express outrage about the enactment of Senate Bill 256. SB 256 mandates parole hearings for almost all juvenile offenders, including those responsible for the most horrific crimes. This unjust law devalues and re-traumatizes victims, demeans crimes, and endangers society. Please show compassion for victims and amend this law.

Emails

rep01@ohiohouse.govrep02@ohiohouse.govrep03@ohiohouse.govrep04@ohiohouse.govrep05@ohiohouse.govrep06@ohiohouse.govrep07@ohiohouse.govrep08@ohiohouse.govrep09@ohiohouse.govrep10@ohiohouse.govrep11@ohiohouse.govrep12@ohiohouse.govrep13@ohiohouse.govrep14@ohiohouse.govrep15@ohiohouse.govrep16@ohiohouse.govrep17@ohiohouse.govrep18@ohiohouse.govrep19@ohiohouse.govrep20@ohiohouse.govrep21@ohiohouse.govrep22@ohiohouse.govrep23@ohiohouse.govrep24@ohiohouse.govrep25@ohiohouse.govrep26@ohiohouse.govrep27@ohiohouse.govrep28@ohiohouse.govrep29@ohiohouse.govrep30@ohiohouse.govrep31@ohiohouse.govrep32@ohiohouse.govrep33@ohiohouse.govrep34@ohiohouse.govrep35@ohiohouse.govrep36@ohiohouse.govrep37@ohiohouse.govrep38@ohiohouse.govrep39@ohiohouse.govrep40@ohiohouse.govrep41@ohiohouse.govrep42@ohiohouse.govrep43@ohiohouse.govrep44@ohiohouse.govrep45@ohiohouse.govrep46@ohiohouse.govrep47@ohiohouse.govrep48@ohiohouse.govrep49@ohiohouse.govrep50@ohiohouse.govrep51@ohiohouse.govrep52@ohiohouse.govrep53@ohiohouse.govrep54@ohiohouse.govrep55@ohiohouse.govrep56@ohiohouse.govrep57@ohiohouse.govrep58@ohiohouse.govrep59@ohiohouse.govrep60@ohiohouse.govrep61@ohiohouse.govrep62@ohiohouse.govrep63@ohiohouse.govrep64@ohiohouse.govrep65@ohiohouse.govrep66@ohiohouse.govrep67@ohiohouse.govrep68@ohiohouse.govrep69@ohiohouse.govrep70@ohiohouse.govrep71@ohiohouse.govrep72@ohiohouse.govrep73@ohiohouse.govrep74@ohiohouse.govrep75@ohiohouse.govrep76@ohiohouse.govrep77@ohiohouse.govrep78@ohiohouse.govrep79@ohiohouse.govrep80@ohiohouse.govrep81@ohiohouse.govrep82@ohiohouse.govrep83@ohiohouse.govrep84@ohiohouse.govrep85@ohiohouse.govrep86@ohiohouse.govrep87@ohiohouse.govrep88@ohiohouse.govrep89@ohiohouse.govrep90@ohiohouse.govrep91@ohiohouse.govrep92@ohiohouse.govrep93@ohiohouse.govrep94@ohiohouse.govrep95@ohiohouse.govrep96@ohiohouse.govrep97@ohiohouse.govrep98@ohiohouse.govrep99@ohiohouse.govHuffman@ohiosenate.govsd12@ohiosenate.govYuko@ohiosenate.govMcColley@ohiosenate.govGavarone@ohiosenate.govMaharath@ohiosenate.govLang@ohiosenate.govsd5@ohiosenate.govAntani@ohiosenate.govWilson@ohiosenate.govBlessing@ohiosenate.govThomas@ohiosenate.govHackett@ohiosenate.govFedor@ohiosenate.govManning@ohiosenate.govJohnson@ohiosenate.govCraig@ohiosenate.govKunze@ohiosenate.govPeterson@ohiosenate.govCirino@ohiosenate.govBrenner@ohiosenate.govSchaffer@ohiosenate.govWilliams@ohiosenate.govRomanchuk@ohiosenate.govAntonio@ohiosenate.govDolan@ohiosenate.govReineke@ohiosenate.govRoegner@ohiosenate.govSykes@ohiosenate.govSchuring@ohiosenate.govHoagland@ohiosenate.govHottinger@ohiosenate.govO’Brien@ohiosenate.govRulli@ohiosenate.gov

Response to comments by SB 256 sponsors and supporters

Read our responses to comments made by SB 256 supporters and sponsors.

Who did lawmakers vote to release?

The Ohio Legislative Services Commission projects that 50 or 60 inmates will immediately become eligible for parole. (See Ohio lawmakers seek to stop sentences of life without parole for youth offenders).

Below are profiles of several offenders whose sentences were reduced by SB 256. NOVJM told both the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Criminal Justice Committee about these cases. Nevertheless, members of both committees voted to send along SB 256.

Brandon Moore and Chaz Bunch

Offender Photo
Bunch

Brandon Moore and Chaz Bunch kidnapped a young woman and viciously gang-raped her. Bunch was sentenced to 49 years in prison while Moore was sentenced to 50 years. SB 256 may dramatically reduce their sentences by almost two thirds. Both rapists are now eligible after 18 years.

The brutal kidnapping and rape of victim “M.K.” was committed in August 2001. SB 256 makes both assailants eligible for parole after 18 years. SB 256 was enacted 19 years after the crimes in January 2021. Therefore, SB 256 immediately made both attackers eligible for parole.

Offender Photo
Moore

Details of the crime

We are copying the entire graphic expert from the Ohio Supreme Court ruling to illustrate the dangerous nature of releasing violent criminals like Bunch and Moore so early. 

Later that night, at around 10:20, M.K., a 21-year-old student at Youngstown State University, arrived for her night-shift job at a group home for mentally handicapped women. While removing some things from the trunk of her car, she noticed a black car driving up the street and stopping a few houses away.

Moore, wearing a mask, emerged from the vehicle and started running toward her. When he arrived at her vehicle, he pressed a gun against her and instructed her to give him all her money and belongings. When a porch light came on at the group home, Moore ordered M.K. to get into the passenger seat of her car. Moore then got into the driver’s seat, ordered M.K. to start the car, and drove away with her.

As they were driving, he ordered her to give him her jewelry. After they drove a short distance, Moore stopped the car briefly behind the black car. Chaz Bunch entered the victim’s car through the rear passenger door. Bunch put a gun to her head and demanded her money.

Moore continued driving, following the black car, which was being driven by Andre Bundy. As Moore drove, he inserted his fingers into M.K.’s vagina. M.K. pleaded for her life. At one point, Moore drove close enough to the black car that he almost hit it, jerking to a stop; at that point, the cars were so close that M.K. could make out the black car’s license plate. She memorized the number.

Eventually, Moore pulled ahead of the black car and drove down a dead-end street. The black car followed. Both cars parked near a gravel lot, and Bunch ordered M.K. out of the car. Once outside the car, Moore and Bunch assaulted M.K., grabbing her by the hair and forcing their penises into her mouth; one would orally rape her while the other forced her head down. This was repeated two or three times, at gunpoint.

Moore and Bunch then directed M.K. to the trunk of her car. At this point, another man, Jamar Callier, exited the black car and went through M.K.’s belongings in the trunk. M.K. was told to pull her pants down and turn around. M.K. resisted, and in an attempt to avoid any further violence, told the attackers she was pregnant (she was not, in fact, pregnant). But they showed no mercy; Moore and Bunch pushed her against the car, and at least one of them anally raped her.

After the anal rape, Bunch threw M.K. to the ground, and he and Moore proceeded to vaginally and orally rape her. While one raped her vaginally, the other would force his penis into her mouth, and they would then switch places. Both were armed during the rapes.

The attack finally ended when Callier pushed Bunch off M.K. Bunch said that he wanted to kill M.K., but Callier would not let him, telling Bunch that he could not kill a pregnant woman. Moore put his gun into M.K.’s mouth and told her, “Since you were so good, I won’t kill you.” Moore warned her that they knew who she was; he threatened to harm her and her family if she told anyone what had happened.

Hysterical, M.K. got back into her car and drove immediately to the home of a relative of her boyfriend, where she had been attending a cookout before leaving to go to work. She arrived back at the party, got out of her car, and ran through the yard, screaming for help. When people came to her aid, she immediately yelled out the license-plate number she had memorized. Based on the license-plate number, police were eventually able to arrest all four people involved in the attack on M.K.

In her testimony at trial, M.K. described the effect of the attack on her life: “[T]hey killed a part of me. They killed a part of my [soul] that I can never get back.”

Desmond Thomas

In 2019, Desmond Thomas, 16, attacked a woman as she strolled her baby and robbed her at gunpoint. He then returned and forced her into an alley at gunpoint and raped her.

Teen gets at least 21 years in prison for raping woman on Camp Chase Trail

John FuttyThe Columbus Dispatch

Feeling better as she recovered from the difficult birth of her daughter, the West Side woman decided to take the 6-month-old girl for a late afternoon walk on the nearby Camp Chase Trail.

Desmond L. Thomas, 18, sentenced Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020, to 21 to 23 1/2 years in prison for the rape and robbery of a woman on the Camp Chase Trail when he was 16.

She was pushing the stroller on the path when she was confronted by a 16-year-old boy, armed with a handgun, who stole her cellphone and fled. Minutes later, he returned, forcing the 35-year-old woman off the path and raping her at gunpoint.

“I could potentially comprehend the motives behind a robbery, even though I had to console my daughter’s cries while he put a gun to my head,” the victim said Thursday in a Franklin County Common Pleas courtroom. But she called it “unconscionable” that the robber would return to rape her while her daughter screamed for her and “cried when I couldn’t respond.

“A baby is still a person with feelings and a sense of understanding and …. (she) will forever be scarred by what he did to me.”

The Dispatch generally does not identify the victims of rape or sexual assault. 

Thomas was sentenced to a minimum 21 years

Desmond L. Thomas, who was 16 when he attacked her on April 12, 2019, is now 18.

Thomas pleaded guilty to rape, aggravated robbery, kidnapping and two gun specifications on Nov. 2, about 14 months after the case was transferred to adult court by a juvenile court judge.

Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey M. Brown sentenced Thomas on Thursday to a minimum of 21 years in prison for the rape and attack.

Brown imposed a sentence of 21 to 23 1/2 years. The maximum combined sentence for the offenses is 33 to 38 1/2 years.

When he is released from prison, Thomas must register as a sex offender every 90 days for the rest of his life.

“This is a heinous crime,” said Brown, a judge for the past three years. “It’s one of the worst things I’ve heard of since I’ve been a judge. And thus I probably imposed one of the stricter sentences I’ve imposed. This court does not like to send young men to prison for a long period of time, but this court in this case has no choice.” 

Assistant prosecutor: Thomas demonstrated a ‘total lack of remorse’

Thomas, who lived about a block from where the attack took place on the multi-use trail north of West Broad Street near Haldy Avenue, became a suspect after sending the woman a Facebook friend request.

Columbus police obtained a DNA sample from him, which was a match for DNA recovered from the victim.

Thomas spoke only briefly when the judge asked if he wanted to make a statement.

“I feel tremendous remorse for what I’ve done,” he said. “I know it was wrong. I shouldn’t have done it.” 

Assistant Prosecutor Sayje Brown disputed Thomas’ courtroom remarks, saying his interview during a pre-sentencing investigation demonstrated “a complete and total lack of remorse.”

She said Thomas lied to investigators, claiming that he and the victim “had a relationship.”

A sentencing memo filed by Thomas’ attorney, Jeffrey Blosser, said Thomas had a traumatic childhood that included living in foster care and being sexually abused.

Victim suffers PTSD episodes after attack

The victim spoke at length about the toll that the attack has taken on her, including an ongoing battle with post traumatic stress syndrome that has made it difficult to care for her daughter.

Just hearing her daughter crying triggers PTSD episodes, she said.

The episodes can be so disabling, that “I struggle to walk, much less carry her,” she said.

“I’ve felt like a bad mother for somehow letting (the rape) happen to me in front of her and for how it was affecting my ability to care for her. I feel like he stole that precious first year.”

Before the attack, the woman said, she was recovering from a traumatic delivery that nearly took her life.

She didn’t ask the judge to hand down a specific sentence.

“It would be easy to request the maximum sentence for Mr. Thomas,” she said. “The pain in me wants that… I just hope whatever you decide will be long enough for him to truly come to terms with what he did with me…. and never hurt anyone in this way again.”

Devonere Simmonds

Murder victims: Imran Ashgar, 34, & Quinten Prater, 22

Attempted murder victims: James Norvet, 21, & William Rudd, 39

Age at time of crimes: 17

Crime locations:  Central Ohio

Crime date: July 2013

Crimes:  Aggravated murder, spree-killing, attempted murder, aggravated robbery, & carjacking

Partners in crime: Nathaniel Brunner, Daniel Durham

Weapon: .22 caliber handgun & a shotgun

Murder method: Gunshots to the head

Murder motivation: Robbery

Convictions: Aggravated robbery, aggravated murder, attempted murder, weapon under disability, & murder

Sentence: Life without parole (LWOP) plus 48 years later reduced to 30 years to life by Senate Bill 256

Incarceration status: Ohio State Penitentiary

Offender Photo
Prison photo

Summary

Simmonds, 17, went on a massive violent crime spree involving robbery, carjacking, and murder in the summer of 2013. During the spree, he shot and killed Quinten Prater during a robbery. A couple of days later, he shot and killed store clerk Imran Ashgar during another robbery. In Imran’s case, Simmonds shot the victim in the eye, left, and then returned to shoot the wounded man in the head. He also shot and injured James Norvet and William Rudd. The spree killer was sentenced to LWOP plus 48 years. His sentence was reduced to 30 years to life after Governor DeWine signed SB 256 into law.

Details

Eddie Burns

Offender Photo

Burns committed four armed robberies and two other robberies between August 10, 2017, and February 7, 2017, when he was 16 and 17. During one attack, he punched a 77-year-old man who was attempting to withdraw cash from an ATM. Burns robbed an 87-year-old man and left him duct taped to a chair inside the victim’s home. He robbed a reporter and her cameraman as they were parked in their news van covering a story, a Spectrum cable worker who was doing an installation job, and an Amazon delivery driver who was delivering packages. Finally, he robbed an elderly couple returning home from the grocery store. He nearly bludgeoned them to death with one of their own canes. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 27 years.

Eric Long

Victims: Keith Cobb and Scott Neblett, 25

Accomplices: Fonta Whipple, 26, & Jashawn Clark, 25,

Age at time of murders: 17

Crime date: March 18, 2009

Crime location: Sharonville, Ohio

Crimes: Double murder

Weapon: Firearm

Murder method: Gunshots

Convictions: Felonious assault, discharging a firearm near habitation/school, aggravated murder, weapon under disability, carrying a concealed weapon, & assault

Sentence: Life without parole (LWOP) plus 19 years later reduced to 30 years to life by Senate Bill 256

Incarceration status: Lebanon Correctional Institution

Offender Photo
Prison photo

Summary of the crime

Whipple, Clark, and Long got into an argument with Keith Cobb and Scott Neblett at Garage Bar & Grill in Sharonville, OH. They followed the victims and, as they were driving on I-75, emptied their guns into Cobb and Neblett’s car, causing it to veer off the highway and roll over. The victims died of gunshot wounds.

Details

Gavon Ramsay

Victim: Margaret Douglas, 98

Age at time of murder: 17

Crime date: April 9, 2018

Crime location: Wadsworth, Ohio

Murder method: Strangulation

Murder motivation: Thrill & enjoyment

Convictions:  Aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, kidnapping, & abuse of a corpse

Sentence:  Life without parole (LWOP) later reduced to 25 years to life by Senate Bill 256

Incarceration status: Incarcerated at the Grafton Correctional Institution

Offender Photo
Prison photo

Summary

On April 6, 2018, Ramsay, 17, broke into Margaret’s Wadsworth, Ohio, home. He found the 98-year-old sleeping on the couch and took a video of her. Ramsay, who had been fantasizing about raping and murdering people for months, and who wanted to kill someone to see how it would feel, strangled Margaret to death. Ramsay, who has been diagnosed with sexual sadism disorder, then undressed her dead body and abused her for two hours, taking photographs and videos along the way. Several of the photographs and videos Ramsay took were of a sexual nature. Ramsay then stuffed her body in a closet and left her there. He placed the gruesome photos of the crime in a secret file on his phone so that he could watch them.

Ramsay was sentenced to life without parole. He appealed and his sentence was upheld. However, Ramsay’s LWOP sentence was reduced to 25 years to life by Senate Bill 256. Ramsay is a highly disturbed young man whose notebook contained writings about raping people, fantasies about strangling and killing people, and serial killer biographies. He is a diagnosed sexual sadist.

Details

Jacob LaRosa

Victim: Marie Belcastro, 94

Age at time of murder: 15

Crime location: Niles, Ohio

Crime date: March 31, 2015

Crimes: Aggravated murder, attempted rape, aggravated robbery, home invasion, & aggravated burglary

Weapon: Heavy metal flashlight

Murder method: Beating to death

Convictions: Aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, & attempted rape

Sentence: Life without parole (LWOP) later reduced to 25 years to life by Senate Bill 256

Incarceration status: Incarcerated at the Marion Correctional Institution

Offender Photo
Prison photo
Obituary for Marie R. Belcastro
Marie

Summary

LaRosa invaded 94-year-old Marie’s home, attempted to rape her, and beat her to death with a heavy metal flashlight. The beating Marie endured was so severe that her eyes ruptured and the bones in her face and the top of her skull were crushed. LaRosa was a highly disturbed teen, and showed no remorse for the evil crime, even bragging to other inmates about it. He was sentenced to LWOP and his sentence was upheld. However, the Ohio Legislature chose to retroactively reduce LaRosa’s sentence, making him eligible for parole after 25 years.

Details

Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office Press Release On SB 256 & Jacob LaRosa’s Sentence Reduction

Jordyn Wade

Victims: Tyajah Nelson, 18; Daniel Sharp, 26; Angela Harrison, 35; and Michael Ballour, 41. T.N., 16, survived. 

Crime location: Columbus, Ohio

Crime date: June 13, 2015

Age at time of murder: 16 & 11 months

Partner in crime: Robert Adams Jr., 28

Crimes: Quadruple murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, home invasion, & aggravated burglary

Weapon: Firearm

Murder method: Gunshots, mostly to the victims’ heads

Murder motivation: Robbery

Convictions: Aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, aggravated murder, attempted murder, & weapon under disability

Sentence: 172 1/2 years to life later reduced to 25 years to life by Senate Bill 256

Incarceration status: Incarcerated at the Ross Correctional Institution and had a parole hearing scheduled for March 2144

Offender Photo
Prison photo
photo
Daniel Sharp Jr. from Legacy.com
Tyajah Nelson, age 18
Tyajah Nelson from Gunmemorial.com
Michael-Ballour-Obituary
Michael Anthony Ballour from Legacy.com
photo
Angela Harrison from Gunviolencememorial.com

Summary of the crime

Wade participated in a quadruple murder along with one attempted murder during a home invasion robbery. Wade’s 28-year-old partner Robert Adams shot four victims to death and shot and wounded another victim. The survivor, a 16-year-old girl, was able to testify at trial. Wade was convicted and sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility in 172 1/2 years. Though Wade was not the principal offender or the “trigger man” he had an active role in the massacre–Adams asked Wade, “should I off them all?” and Wade answered, “yes.” The butchering then began.

Details

Joshua Wade

Victim: Titus Jamal Arnold, 23, plus several survivors

Age at time of murder: 16

Crime date: April 13, 2005

Crime location: Springfield

Partner in crime: Jason Dean, 30

Weapon: .40 caliber handgun

Murder method: Shot to the head

Convictions: Complicity in murder, aggravated robbery, discharge of a firearm at a habitation/school, attempted murder, & aggravated murder

Sentence:  56 years to life later reduced to 25 years to life by Senate Bill 256

Incarceration status: Incarcerated at the Pickaway Correctional Institution & has a parole hearing in March 2061

Offender Photo
Wade’s prison photo
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Picture of Titus from a gun violence memorial

Summary

Wade and Dean went on a terrifying crime spree in the spring of 2005, which involved the robbery and murder of Urbana University senior and youth counselor Titus Arnold, along with several other acts of violence. Wade is in prison for life while Dean was sentenced to death and died due to natural causes in 2019. Due to SB 256, Wade will be eligible for parole after 25 years.

Timeline of the Crime Spree

April 10. Dean attempted to rob two people in a mini-mart parking lot. He shot one victim.

April 12. Dean and Wade fired shots at a home. A one-year-old girl and a pregnant woman were just centimeters away from being shot.

April 13. Titus left his job at a home for troubled youth just before midnight. Witnesses saw two men get out of a car, and chase Titus. They saw a man, who they recognized as Wade, shoot at Titus. He was robbed of $6.

Details

Krillian Howard

Offender Photo

Howard committed four armed robberies between March 13, 2017, and April 12, 2017. He was 16 and 17 during the crimes. On March 13, Howard, his adult partner in crime Maurice Montgomery, and two unknown suspects robbed an 18-year-old man as he was walking to his girlfriend’s house in Cleveland. The robbers took the victim’s cellphone, backpack, and tennis shoes. On March 21, in Cleveland, Howard and his adult partner in crime Daryl Avent robbed a 57-year-old man as he was attempting to use an ATM machine. When the victim did not give up all his property he was pistol-whipped. The robbers stole the victim’s car as well. On March 31, 2017, Howard and Avent robbed a Cleveland Subway restaurant that had two employees and a customer inside. During the attack, Howard shot one employee in the arm. On April 12, Howard and an unknown suspect carjacked a 62-year-old female in Bath Township while she was stopped at a rest-stop. Howard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 20 years.

Kyle Patrick

Victim: Michael Abighanem, 27

Age at time of murder: 17

Crime date: April 27, 2012

Crime location: Youngstown

Partner in crime: Reginald Whitfield, 21

Crimes: Aggravated murder, armed robbery, & tampering with evidence

Murder method: Gunshot

Weapon: Firearm

Murder motivation: Robbery

Sentence: 34 years to life later reduced to 25 years to life by Senate Bill 256
Incarceration status:
 Incarcerated at the Mansfield Correctional Institution

Offender Photo
Patrick
Michael W.  Abighanem
Michael

Summary of the crime

Patrick and Whitfield murdered Michael during an orchestrated robbery.

Details

Michael Hutchins

Offender Photo

In 2019, Hutchins, 17, attacked a 51-year-old woman as she was walking to her car from work. He raped her in a parking garage outside Quicken Loans Arena. Following the rape, he tried to abduct the victim in her own car. He had trouble with the gear shift and crashed into a wall as he attempted to leave the garage. The rapist then grabbed the victim’s cell phone, debit card, and cash and fled on foot. He also linked to a theft at Titan’s Gym and a robbery at the 5th Street Arcade that were committed just before the rape. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 33 years.

Montez Cobb

Offender Photo

When Cobb was 16 he burglarized a Garfield Heights home and stole a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun. When he was 17, between April 22, 2017, and June 16, 2017, he committed six robberies. The brutal attacks all took place either on or in close proximity to the Cleveland State University campus. His victims included: a 57-year-old woman who was sitting on a park bench; a 23-year-old man who was walking to a friend’s car; a 22-year-old woman who was walking to her car in the parking garage of her apartment complex; an 82-year-old man and a 69-year-old female who were entering a car in a parking garage; a 66-year-old man who was in a parking lot attempting to pay for parking; and a 49-year-old woman who had just parked in a parking garage. Several of Cobb’s robberies involved physical violence. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years.

Tremele Collins

Offender Photo

In November 2016, at 17, Collins went on a massive crime spree and committed three armed robberies. On November 3, he carjacked a 38-year-old cleaning lady who had just pulled into the driveway of a client. On November 14, Collins and an accomplice carjacked a 45-year-old woman as she was returning to work from lunch. November 19, Collins attempted to carjack a 53-year-old man as he was entering his car outside his home. Collins stuck a gun to his head, but the victim refused to comply and give him his vehicle. Collins repeatedly struck him in the head with the gun and got into the driver’s seat. But he could not start the vehicle. Because he was unable to steal the vehicle, Collins chased down the victim and attempted to rob him of his backpack, which had a laptop inside of it. He pistol-whipped the victim as neighbors called police. The robber plead guilty and was sentenced to 29 years.

News on the consequences of SB 256