Prosecutors: Dead dad’s life insurance paid accused daughter’s bond

A Hamilton teen accused of shooting her father to death is free on bond thanks to her father’s life insurance policy, according to prosecutors.

The girl, then 14, was a high school freshman, when she picked up a 9 mm handgun on Feb. 23, loaded it and shot her 71-year-old father, James Ponder, in the head at their Millville Avenue home, according to police and prosecutors.

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“I just shot my dad,” she told 911 dispatchers in a call placed moments after the shooting. She was arrested on the driveway of the family home when police arrived.

Prosecutors had requested the teen be tried as an adult, but Butler County Juvenile Court Judge Kathleen Romans ruled the teen’s case will remain in juvenile court. However, she was indicted for aggravated murder by a Butler County grand jury as a serious juvenile offender, which entitled her to bond.

Romans set the girl’s bond at $300,000 with a 10 percent rule at a hearing on Aug. 29. That bond was posted last month and the girl was placed on home incarceration with an electronic monitoring device at her grandmother’s residence.

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On Sept. 29, prosecutors filed a motion requesting a review and revocation of the bond.

In that motion was an affidavit of James Ponder Jr., who said his step-mother, Heidi Ponder, received life insurance benefits of $250,000 from the death of his father.

The benefit was paid to Heidi Ponder in April 2017, Ponder Jr. said in the affidavit.

“I have knowledge that my step-mother … posted the bond for (the teen) in the amount of $30,000 out of funds from the life insurance benefit,” he said.

Ponder Jr. added the teen’s defense is also being paid by the life insurance benefits.

Romans is taking the matter under advisement, according to prosecutors.

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