Monday, May 21, 2018
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Police & Fire

Dad pleads not guilty in death of young son

OTTAWA, Ohio - A Fort Jennings, Ohio, man charged with drowning his 13-month-old son in a bathtub pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity yesterday in Putnam County Common Pleas Court.

Michael Luebrecht, 37, was indicted Monday by a Putnam County grand jury on one count of aggravated murder for the May 23 death of his youngest son, Joel. If convicted, Mr. Luebrecht could face the death penalty because the victim was under the age of 13.

William Kluge, attorney for Mr. Luebrecht, who entered both a not guilty and a not guilty by reason of insanity plea, said his client has serious mental health issues.

Judge Randall Basinger continued bond at $1 million for Mr. Luebrecht and referred him to the Court Diagnostic and Treatment Center, Toledo, for an evaluation.

MONROE - An armed robbery suspect was in the Monroe County jail last night, charged with leading deputies on a car chase after they arrived at his home to arrest him yesterday.

Deputies declined to name the suspect until he is arraigned in court this morning.

According to a sheriff's department report, deputies went to a home on Allison Road in London Township about 11:30 a.m. and encountered a suspect in the May robbery of a pizza delivery driver in Monroe County. The man fled out the rear of the house and was later seen in a vehicle on Allison by another deputy. The deputy attempted to stop the car, and the suspect got out of the vehicle and ran.

Deputies checked some abandoned homes in the area and spotted the suspect again. He attempted to flee, but was soon apprehended, deputies said.

BLUFFTON, Ohio - Village residents will decide in November whether they want to pay to renovate Bluffton's 118-year-old town hall.

Petitions seeking a voter initiative for a 10-year, 0.25 percent income tax to renovate the three-story brick building have been submitted to the village clerk.

Signatures still must be verified by the Allen County Board of Elections, although 99 more than the required 107 signatures were collected.

Village Council, which favored razing the town hall and building a new one, decided in April to let voters have their say.

HILLSDALE - A state corrections officer who was to be sentenced Monday in a sexual misconduct case killed himself in a burning home earlier that day, authorities said.

Michigan State Police tentatively identified the body found in the home at 3875 East Mosherville Rd., Moscow Township, as Terrence Ballard, 43.

Ballard was to be sentenced by Hillsdale County Circuit Court Judge Michael R. Smith on two counts of criminal sexual conduct.

Firefighters were dispatched to the home at 11:44 a.m. on a report of a fire there and found the man's body and a suicide note.

They believe Ballard set the fire on the main floor, then went to the basement and killed himself. The cause of Ballard's death was unavailable yesterday.

HILLSDALE - A Jackson, Mich., man could spend up to 10 years in prison for stealing antique crystal, china, and other items from homes and barns in Hillsdale County.

Douglas Parks, 42, was sentenced Monday to a minimum of 83 months behind bars by Hillsdale County Circuit Court Judge Michael R. Smith. Parks was arrested in March and later convicted on two counts of breaking and entering.

Judge Smith also ordered Parks to pay $2,400 in fines and make restitution of $5,550 to three break-in victims.

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