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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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 The Sixth District Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Fremont man who shot and killed his estranged wife in Carroll Township in 2013.

 The court dismissed the appeal by Randall Ross, who was found guilty last year in Ottawa County Common Pleas Court on charges of aggravated murder and murder, aggravated burglary and kidnapping.  The trial court sentenced him to life in prison without parole for aggravated murder, 11 years each on the aggravated burglary and kidnapping charges and imposed an additional three years each for firearms specifications.

The specifications were ordered to be served concurrently and sentences for the underlying offenses were to be served consecutively.  In his appeal, Ross contended the court erred by not dismissing the kidnapping offense and the court abused its discretion by not allowing the defense to present into evidence the testimony of a psychologist.

 He also argued that the trial court erred in instructing the jury to consider each count of the indictment separately instead of explaining that the murder count was a “lesser-included offense” of the aggravated murder count.

 The prosecution countered that “the jury could not have reasonably acquitted appellant (Ross) of aggravated murder and found him guilty of murder” given that the evidence of his “prior calculation and design” was obvious. It also argued that considering the instructions as a whole, the jury was aware the only difference between aggravated murder and murder was prior calculation and design.

 The shooting took place in March of 2013 at the N. Leutz Road home of Andrea Swope, the sister of Ross’s wife, Amy, where the victim had been staying.

 According to the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, Amy was found in an upstairs bedroom with a gunshot wound to the chest and was pronounced dead at the scene.

 Swope called the sheriff’s department to report the shooting and told dispatchers Ross had shot himself and was still at the residence.

 Testimony presented during the trial indicated Ross left early from his job in Pemberville and went to his Fremont home before going to Swope’s home.

 

Charges against chief dismissed

 In another case, the appeals court also granted summary judgment in favor of Terry Mitchell, the Clay Township police chief, who was a defendant in a civil trial.  Tony Simon, a township resident, had filed complaints of malicious prosecution against the chief in a case stemming from a dispute Simon had with neighbors.

 Although charges of disorderly conduct and criminal trespass against Simon were dismissed at the request of the Ottawa County prosecutor, the Ottawa County Common Pleas Court properly concluded Chief Mitchell was entitled to statutory immunity under state law, the appeals court ruled.

 
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