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Witnesses: Fight led to fatal stabbing in Middletown

James Ray Carroll washed his clothes and shoes to remove any possible DNA after allegedly stabbing man to death, witnesses told police.

A $1 million bond was set Monday morning in Middletown Municipal Court for a man charged with murder in the death of Chicago man found dead in the road early Sunday morning.

FIRST REPORT: Police investigate body found in roadway as homicide

Lawrence Kinzel, 46, of Chicago, was found dead after suffering from an apparent stab wound at about 12:30 a.m. at the intersection of Lefferson Road and Sheffield Street, according to police. Kinzel suffered a stab wound and his death has been ruled a homicide, according to the Butler County Coroner’s office

Detectives began an investigation that led them to an apartment on Audubon Drive, where they say the suspect, 39-year-old James Ray Carroll, fled. As Carroll was evading officers, he allegedly stole a car in the parking lot of Save-A-Lot at 4525 Roosevelt Blvd.

MORE: Man charged with murder after stabbing victim found in Middletown road

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Police searched for Carroll in the area of Ohio 122 near Interstate 75 for hours Sunday night. He was located at a residence on the 2700 block of Central Avenue and booked into the Middletown City Jail at about 2:30 a.m. Monday.

Carroll is charged with murder, tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, receiving stolen property and failure to report a crime of death. He was arraigned by Middletown Municipal Court Judge James Sherron.

Several witnesses told detectives that Carroll and Kinzel were fighting, and during the altercation Carroll stabbed Kinzel in the back area, according to court documents obtained by the Journal-News.

MORE: Woman shopping for Thanksgiving dinner when alleged murder suspect steals her car

After stealing the vehicle, Carroll was discovered hiding in a closet at the Central Avenue residence and police were told by witnesses that he washed his clothes and shoes to remove any possible DNA, according to the police report.

Carroll has been named in more than 20 criminal cases in Middletown Municipal Court, including assault and robbery, since 2007.

The car Carroll is accused of stealing to elude police is a 1998 Cavalier that belongs to Dorothy Cowgill, she told the Journal-News this morning.

Cowgill said she and her sister and daughter purchased $350 worth of Thanksgiving groceries Sunday at Kroger, then drove to Save-A-Lot to complete their shopping.

Cowgill said the car’s gas tank was “dead on empty,” and she planned to fill it up after she left Save-A-Lot.

“I didn’t know if I had enough gas to get to Save-A-Lot,” she said with a laugh. “He beat us to it and ran out (of gas).”

MORE: Woman who stole from Middletown youth sports group will spend Christmas in jail

When Cowgill walked out of Save-A-Lot, she realized the car was gone. She called Middletown police, but was told she needed proof of ownership. She told police those papers were in the car.

She received a call from police at 1:42 a.m. Monday, informing her the stolen car was found, but it was involved in an active murder investigation, so she couldn’t get her groceries out of the trunk. She was at the police station Monday morning, waiting to be interviewed by detectives, she said.

“Ice cream and everything is melting in that car,” Cowgill said.

The murder investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Steve Winters at 513-425-7786.

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