Lindsay Partin at her trial on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

8 recent court cases that have captivated southwest Ohio

Gonnii White was convicted of murder charge and participating in a gang at the time of the 2018 shooting death of Joseph Davis, 17, of Middletown. 

White, 17, was tried as an adult after the case was bound over to Common Pleas Court by Juvenile Court Judge Kathleen Romans. 

It took the jury less than two hours to convict the Middletown teenager. 

MORE: Middletown teen guilty of murder in 17-year-old’s shooting death 

Sentencing is set for July 15, 2019, and White’s attorney, Tim Upton, said he plans to appeal. White faces a life sentence with the possibility of parole after 19 years.

Here are other prominent court cases we have been, or currently are, following:

Tracey Abraham withdrew on Monday his not guilty plea to public indency. He pled guilty to fondling himself in a middle school classroom.
Photo: Staff Writer

Tracey Abraham 

Tracey Abraham, the Fairfield substitute teacher accused of fondling himself in a middle school classroom, pleaded guilty on April 1, 2019, to public indecency. 

Abraham was pulled out of a Creekside Middle School classroom on Jan. 8, 2019, on Nilles Road after the school resource officer received several complaints that he was fondling himself with students present. 

MORE: Fairfield sub accused of fondling himself in classroom pleads guilty

Louis Sirkin, the attorney for 41-year-old Abraham, of Cincinnati, withdrew a motion to suppress statements his client made to police. The hearing was in progress when Abraham changed his plea. 

Sirkin had claimed his client was not mentally capable of waiving his Miranda rights. A video played during a several hours long motion to suppress hearing last month shows Abraham signing a Miranda waiver. 

Fairfield Municipal Court Judge Joyce Campbell sentenced Abraham to 180 days in jail, and suspending all 180 days, ordered him to five years probation. He also is ordered to provide proof of counseling or therapy to his probation officer and relinquish his substitute teacher’s certificate to the state of Ohio. 

Jeff Couch appeared for arraignment in Butler County Common Pleas Court on felonious assault and domestic violence charges.

Jeff Couch 

Police charged RV business owner Jeff Couch, 51, of Tamarron Drive in West Chester Twp., on March 2, 2019, for felonious assault and misdemeanor domestic violence. 

The Butler County businessman was in court on May 20, and Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Stephens set his trial date for Sept. 23, 2019, for allegedly assaulting his wife.

MORE: Butler County RV business owner arraigned on felony charges involving alleged assault of wife 

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the trial is expected to last four days.

Court documents say police allege Couch “did knowingly cause serious physical harm to Shelley Couch” when he punched his wife in the face “multiple times and slammed her head onto a paved driveway multiple times.” 

A Butler County grand jury returned indictments against Couch on March 12, 2019.

Couch, who is free on a $16,000 bond, first appeared in Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Greg Stephens’ courtroom on March 25 represented by attorney, R. Scott Croswell III, of Cincinnati. 

Croswell entered not guilty pleas on both charges.

Couch is the owner of Jeff Couch’s RV Nation in Trenton.

Brooke Skylar Richardson appeared for a per-trial hearing Thursday, April 12 in Warren County Common Pleas Court. Her trial is scheduled to begin next week. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

Brooke Skylar Richardson 

Richardson, 19, is charged with aggravated murder, involuntary manslaughter, gross abuse of a corpse, tampering with evidence and child endangering in the May 2017 death of her infant daughter. She is free on bond.

The Carlisle teen is set to be on trial on Sept. 3, 2019, for allegedly killing her newborn baby girl and burying her in the backyard of her parents’ house in May 2017.

MORE: Carlisle buried baby case: After Ohio Supreme Court ruling, what happens next?  

In October 2018, the 12th District Court of Appeals sided with the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office concerning doctor-patient privilege in the case of Brooke Skylar Richardson, prompting defense attorney Charles H. Rittgers to appeal to the state’s high court. 

The Ohio Supreme Court decided in February 2019 not to hear an appeal filed by the defense team.

MORE: Attorney: Teen charged in Carlisle buried baby case ‘is under a lot of pressure’ 

Prosecutors want a 17-year-old Middletown teen charged with the shooting death of Benny Barefield last month charged tried as an adult. The teen was in Butler County Juvenile Court Monday for a pre-trial hearing. LAUREN PACK/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

Benny Barefield case

Two of four people incarcerated for months and accused in the December 2018 shooting death of Benny Barefield, of Middletown, were released from jail. 

A 17-year-old, whose case was sent to adult court in early March for trial was released from the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center.  The teen was charged with aggravated murder and participating in a criminal gang for the Dec. 14 shooting death of Barefield while he sat in his car at Ninth Avenue and Yankee Road. 

MORE: Two accused in Middletown homicide released from jail

MORE: Arrest warrant withdrawn for 4th suspect in homicide of well-known Middletown man 

Charges against two other people charged in Barefield’s death were also dismissed, and charges presented to a Butler County grand jury against a fourth person was withdrawn at the request of the city prosecutor.

Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw said “It is not over.” 

Bond was set by Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Pater at $50,000 for 25-year-old Saralin Walden who is charged in the death of her infant daughter. Walden, of Hamilton, was indicted last week by a Butler County grand jury for involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, and child endangering, a third degree felony. Walden’s 3-month-old daughter, Rae’Anna, was injured while in her care Oct. 23 and was pronounced dead five days later at a Cincinnati hospital, according to prosecutors. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer


Saralin Walden 

The Hamilton woman is charged in the death of her infant daughter this past October. She was indicted on March 6, 2019, by a Butler County grand jury for involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony, and child endangering, a third degree felony. 

MORE: Prosecutor says Hamilton mother’s drug use involved in case of infant daughter’s death 

She was found competent on June 18, 2019, to stand trial related to the death of her 3-month-old daughter, Rae’Anna. The child was injured while in Walden’s care on Oct. 23, 2018, and was pronounced dead five days later at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, according to prosecutors. 

Walden was appointed an attorney to represent her. 

Defense attorney Ramona Daniels also filed motions related to Walden’s mental state at the time of the incident. In addition to competency, a “not guilty by reason of insanity” plea was also filed.

Butler County Common Pleas Court Judge Charles Pater set Walden’s bond at $50,000, and she remains housed in the Butler County Jail.

Michael Strouse pleads guilty on March 12, 2019, to three charges in the murder of Ellie Weik of West Chester/

Michael Strouse 

A Liberty Twp. man pleaded guilty last month to murder, menacing by stalking and gross abuse of a corpse. 

Michael Strouse, 29, of Bluffs Drive, was indicted in September 2018 for aggravated murder, murder, three counts of tampering with evidence, menacing by stalking, petty theft, abuse of a corpse and gross abuse of a corpse in the death of Ellen “Ellie” Weik.

MORE: Man admits killing West Chester woman

Strouse admitted to placing a plastic wrap over the head of Ellen “Ellie” Weik, killing her, wrapping her in a blanket and placing her body in a field across from his house. 

Michael Strouse was sentenced on April 17, 2019, to the maximum of 15 years to life in prison for the murder Weik, plus an additional 2-½ years in prison on other charges. 

He will not be eligible for parole for 17-½ years.

MORE: Inside the investigation: How police used tech to catch a killer in West Chester 

Lindsay Partin reacts during her sentencing hearing on Thursday, May 9, 2019, for murder and child endangering in the death of 3-year-old Hannah Wesche in March 2018. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Lindsay Partin

Lindsay Partin, the Butler County babysitter accused of murder, was convicted on April 12, 2019, of that crime, and involuntary manslaughter and child endangering for the death of Hannah Wesche, a 3-year-old girl she babysat, on March 8, 2018. 

MORE: Babysitter guilty on all counts, including murder, in toddler’s death 

She sentenced on May 9, 2019, to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 18 years.

Before the sentencing, a family member and friend of Partin’s said they believe she is innocent, and Partin’s attorney, Melynda Cook Howard, plans to appeal. 

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