Homicides up in Xenia, chief says city is safe

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In a city that typically has one or two homicides a year, four people have been killed so far in 2018 in Xenia, where the police chief seeks to reassure residents.

Three of the homicides came in two stabbing incidents, including one last week that resulted in the death of an 84-year-old woman and her 57-year-old daughter, whose brother is now being held on murder charges.

Xenia Police Chief Randy Person said that, despite the increase in homicides this year, “in terms of violent crimes, Xenia is a very safe community.”

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Homicides also have risen in Greene County, according to a Dayton Daily News investigation.

In the last two years, Greene County recorded 16 total homicides — seven in 2017 and nine this year — according to records from the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office.

In four years from 2013 to 2016, there were 10 total homicides in the county, including six in 2013, according to the records.

Two of the nine homicides this year in Greene County are vehicular, and in 2017, three of the county’s seven homicides were vehicular, according to the prosecutor’s office.

From 2013 to 2017, Xenia police investigated one homicide each year with the exception of 2015, when there were two, according to the city’s annual crime report.

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Chief Person compiled numbers in 2010 comparing violent crimes for cities of similar populations as Xenia, which had 25,719 people that year. Xenia ranked ninth out of 24 Ohio cities for violent crime incidents, according to the document.

“There has been no significant change that would lead me to believe there has been a major shift in violent crime that would significantly alter the results found in 2010,” Person said.

Pastor Dan Jordan at Xenia Grace Chapel said he is not hearing any fears or worries among people in the community that violence is increasing in the city.

“I don’t perceive anything out of the ordinary,” Jordan said. “In the back of my mind I’m always thinking, is it drug-related? Here and across the country, it’s so strong.”

Xenia police currently have two open homicide investigations involving stabbing incidents.

Winston Wright Sheppard, 55, is being held on $1 million bond for the stabbing deaths of his mother, Estella Sheppard, and his sister, Ralphael Sheppard.

Tova Wallace-Lee, 21, is being held on $200,000 bond and stands accused of stabbing to death 19-year-old Tre'Ana Larchelle Tarver.

In October, Xenia police saw their first homicide investigation of the year end in a guilty plea. Senora Hensley, 52, admitted guilt to involuntary manslaughter for selling a combination of fentanyl and heroin that led to the fatal overdose of 45-year-old Mark Cantrell.

Statistics show the number of other violent crime incidents fluctuate year-to-year in Xenia.

The city recorded 59 sex offenses in 2017, slightly above the five-year average of 53. There were 645 assaults recorded in 2017, above the five-year average of 626; there were six robberies recorded in 2017, below the five-year average of 14, according to records.

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For Greene County, prosecutor’s office records show the county has averaged 167 violent crime cases from 2013 to 2017. Violent crimes include homicides, robberies, burglaries, felonious assaults, sexual assaults, felony domestic violence, abduction/kidnapping, arson and vehicular assaults.

So far this year, the prosecutor’s office has dealt with a total of 163 violent crimes cases, according to the records.

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