Afternoon catchup: 5 Butler County stories you need to know today

Left to right, Blake Freeman, Jordan Vandergriff and Jose Lopez. MIDDLETOWN DIVISION OF POLICE

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Left to right, Blake Freeman, Jordan Vandergriff and Jose Lopez. MIDDLETOWN DIVISION OF POLICE

Here’s a look at five big Butler County stories today to catch up on the news:


Victim ID’d in fatal pedestrian strike near Hamilton McDonald’s last week

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The Butler County Government Services Center. STAFF FILE

The Butler County Government Services Center. STAFF FILE

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The Butler County Government Services Center. STAFF FILE

A man was killed early Friday morning in Hamilton while crossing a street near a busy intersection, according to police.

Troy D. Simmons, 48, of South Monument Street, was fatally struck by a vehicle about 5:45 a.m. on Witt Way. The road is near railroad tracks and behind the McDonald’s on High Street and Martin King Jr. Boulevard (Route 127).

A 52-year-old man was driving the vehicle that hit Simmons. Sgt. Rich Burkhardt said the driver was not cited and was not at fault.

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3 arrested after fight leads to shooting in Middletown

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Left to right, Blake Freeman, Jordan Vandergriff and Jose Lopez. MIDDLETOWN DIVISION OF POLICE

Left to right, Blake Freeman, Jordan Vandergriff and Jose Lopez. MIDDLETOWN DIVISION OF POLICE

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Left to right, Blake Freeman, Jordan Vandergriff and Jose Lopez. MIDDLETOWN DIVISION OF POLICE

A man was shot Monday night in Middletown during an argument that turned violent, police said.

Middletown police were called about 7:15 p.m. to the 1800 block of Glenwood Avenue for a report of about 20 gunshots. Officers found Jordan Vandergriff shot in the leg, according to police.

Vandergriff and Blake Freeman were sitting in a vehicle when they got into a fight with Jose Lopez, police said. After the argument, Lopez, Vandergriff, and Freeman began exchanging gunfire. Vandergriff was struck in the leg with non-life-threatening injuries. All three men were arrested.

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Hamilton adding police body cameras after years of consideration

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The Miami University Police Department is the only Butler County police department whose officers are currently using body mounted cameras. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

The Miami University Police Department is the only Butler County police department whose officers are currently using body mounted cameras. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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The Miami University Police Department is the only Butler County police department whose officers are currently using body mounted cameras. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Police Chief Craig Bucheit expects his officers to be issued video cameras to wear on their uniforms in 2021.

“It’s down to two or three different models and our plan is to work through this systematically through the year, and get to a decision,” Bucheit said. “Our goal would be to make a decision on the product, on the equipment itself, build this program up and get it operational by the end of the year.”

Because of negotiations with companies and a variety of options with each company, he said he was unable to provide an estimate of how much it might cost to outfit his force that includes 115 sworn officers, a number that includes him.

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Middletown man charged with killing woman and hiding body in barrel wants statements suppressed

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Middletown Police investigating suspicious death on Yankee Road

Middletown Police investigating suspicious death on Yankee Road

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Middletown Police investigating suspicious death on Yankee Road

The attorney for a Middletown man accused of killing a woman and hiding her in a metal drum wants statements he provided to detectives thrown out at trial.

William Slaton, 35, was arrested June 30 after Middletown police discovered 21-year-old Cecily Cornett’s body in a barrel at his home in the 3200 block of Yankee Road. In October, a Butler County grand jury indicted Slaton for murder, felonious assault, four counts of tampering with evidence, involuntary manslaughter, three counts of gross abuse of a corpse and assault.

Slaton was in Butler County Common Pleas Court on Thursday and Friday for a hearing on a defense motion to suppress evidence ahead of his trial scheduled for May 3.

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Police: Lack of witnesses makes drive-by shooting ‘a little difficult to solve’

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Woman transported to local hospital.

Woman transported to local hospital.

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Woman transported to local hospital.

One week after a woman was shot in the chest during a drive-by shooting, Middletown police have no suspects, and no arrests have been made.

Det. Ryan Morgan, lead investigator in the case, said the woman who was shot remembers little about the incident and others inside the home in the 400 block of Curtis Street on Jan. 12 told police they don’t know why the shots were fired and they didn’t see a shooter.

“This will be a little difficult to solve,” Morgan said today. “We will work it as far as we can.”

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AND, for an extra sixth story of the day ...

Starting with a backpack, Lakota superintendent showed he was on different path

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Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

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Lakota Schools Superintendent Matt Miller. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Late last month, the leader of Butler County’s largest school system received a pay raise, praise and a new contract through 2025.

In response, Lakota Superintendent Matt Miller told board members he’d be pleased to finish out his career as the top official of Ohio’s eighth’s largest public school system.

The 49-year-old Miller, whose district enrolls 16,800 students in 22 schools throughout West Chester and Liberty townships, talked to the Journal-News recently about his career, his methods and his priorities for his recently extended tenure.

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