Man accused in strangulation death pleads not guilty by reason of insanity

Evaluation ordered for Darnell Dollar in Middletown case.

A man accused of strangling a woman who was found dead in an SUV parked at a Middletown car lot has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Darnell Dollar, 33, with a last known address of Gordon Smith Boulevard in Hamilton, was indicted last month for murder and kidnapping in the slaying of the 61-year-old Constance “Connie” Reddix.

On March 14, Connie Reddix was discovered by police in a 2007 Chevrolet Equinox near Hanover Avenue and South Verity Parkway, but the assault apparently began the night before, according to police and 911 callers.

Police said she was found dead inside an SUV in the parking lot of Mid-Western Auto Sales on South Verity Parkway. Records indicate she was first assaulted behind Cincinnati State in downtown Middletown.

Middletown detectives say Dollar confessed to the homicide in an interview with detectives.

Dollar, who is being held in lieu of a $1 million bond, was back in Butler County Common Pleas Court last week for a pre-trial hearing. Judge Jennifer McElfresh ordered a forensic psychological evaluation after Dollar’s attorney Billy Guinigundo entered a not guilty by reason of insanity plea for his client and questioned his competency for trial.

Dollar is scheduled to be back in court June 15 for a hearing about the evaluation findings.

Earlier this month, Reddix’s family attended the arraignment wearing T-shirts depicting the victim saying “#JusticeForConnie.”

When Dollar was questioned by detectives in the police station, he told them he hadn’t seen Connie Reddix in two months. Then he said while he and Reddix were at The Gathering, a church community in downtown Middletown, he got angry because she was talking to another man there, Middletown Detective Kristi Hughes testified at a preliminary hearing in April.

Dollar has a previous conviction for two counts of felonious assault involving two women and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2011.Tabetha Reddix, Connie’s daughter, said it was difficult seeing the man who killed her mother “with his bare hands. He strangled her to death. He beat her.”

She said the family had to say goodbye to a big photo of Connie Reddix instead of her body, because of the injuries.

“I felt like I was robbed from saying goodbye to my mom,” Tabetha Reddix said.

Connie Reddix was a “kid at heart” and did not judge people, the family said.

When Tabetha Reddix found out her mother was seeing Dollar, and she researched his criminal history and said she tried to warn her mother about his violent past.

But it was too late, she said.

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