Crime

Funerals services have been set for a 4-year-old Ohio boy who was found dead a day after authorities say his stepmother put his legs in scalding water as a punishment.
 
Services for Austin Cooper, of Franklin, are scheduled Tuesday at Herr-Riggs Funeral Home in Middletown.
 
Warren County's coroner ruled Austin's death a homicide.
 
The child's stepmother, 25-year-old Anna Ritchie, is charged with child endangering. A judge on Friday entered a not guilty plea for Ritchie. Her attorney declined to comment.
 

A boy has been sentenced for raping a fellow teen who was drunk at a party after a high school football game in southwest Ohio.
 
Warren County Judge Joseph Kirby in Lebanon sentenced the boy to a minimum of a year in a rehabilitation program. The teen could face at least a year in juvenile detention if he does not complete the program.
 

Prison
Foreverdigital

A new report from a legislative watchdog agency says a southern Ohio prison continues to be the state's most violent, troubled by gang activity, drug use and inmate complaints of use of force by corrections officers.

The Columbus Dispatch reports the Correctional Institution Inspection Committee said in the report Tuesday that the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility near Lucasville is consistently the most violent in the state in terms of assaults.

Authorities in southwest Ohio have seized computers, knives, a BB gun and other items from the home of a 14-year-old student charged in a school cafeteria shooting.
 
The Hamilton-Middletown Journal-News reports that investigators obtained a search warrant and carried out the search Monday afternoon with the consent of James Austin Hancock's father. Among items taken were a smartphone, iPad, MacBook, computer tablet, three pocket knives, and a BB gun.
 

Authorities investigating the slaying of a southwest Ohio pastor expect to charge his brother in the fatal shooting that occurred at the pastor's church office as services were winding down.

Dayton police say the Rev. William B. Schooler was shot around 12:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Peter's Missionary Baptist Church.

The 70-year-old pastor's brother was arrested at the church and taken to the Montgomery County jail. Police say they expect 68-year-old Daniel Gregory Schooler will face a murder charge today.

Jail records don't list an attorney for Schooler.

Authorities say police fatally shot a man in a standoff in Fairborn when he pointed a handgun at officers after tear gas was used to force him from a house.

Fairborn police Sgt. Mark Stannard told the Dayton Daily News that the man shot Monday night was a suspect in several area robberies.

Police say the man was located at a house in Fairborn but refused to come out, saying he had a loaded handgun.

The state's forensic scientists have tested more than 9,800 rape kits submitted by law enforcement agencies around Ohio to check for possible DNA matches.

Nearly 12,000 kits had been submitted for testing as of Feb. 1 in an effort that began in 2011 to check previously untested kits for evidence. About 2,600 of those kits were submitted after a new law went into effect last March.

That law requires law enforcement agencies to submit any previously untested sexual assault kits associated with a past crime to a crime lab within a year.

Residents in southwest Ohio are being warned to use caution after homemade explosive devices were found in three rural mailboxes.

The Journal-News of Hamilton reports that the devices were found Saturday in mailboxes in Gratis and Somers townships in Preble County. Sheriff's office officials say the devices were made using chemicals mixed inside 2-liter soda bottles. The townships are about 30 miles west of Dayton.

Karen Kasler

There were more than 200 people identified as potential human trafficking victims in Ohio last year – nearly all of them female, and more than a quarter of them under 18. Those are the latest stats from a report presented to the state's task force on human trafficking. 

The number of potential victims is up slightly over last year’s report. But officials say there’s a detail that explains that.

“It absolutely is the case that increased awareness yields more people being helped, ” said Ohio's human trafficking coordinator Elizabeth Ranade-Janis. 

Ken "kcdsTM" / Flickr

A newspaper is reporting that shootings in Cincinnati increased nearly 28 percent in 2015 compared with the previous year, and the city's mayor says reducing gun violence is the top priority in the new year.
 
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the number of shooting victims last year was 479, the highest since the 510 reported in 2006. The newspaper also reports homicides increased to 71 in 2015, up nearly 13 percent over 2014.
 
Political and law enforcement officials say they are working to find answers to the violence outbreak.

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