Saturday, May 26, 2018
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Victims' kin opposed to release of accomplice

FOSTORIA - One of four men convicted in the 1990 slaying of a Fostoria woman and her newborn son could be released from prison after a parole hearing next month - but not if Sherry Carte has anything to say about it.

Ms. Carte's sister, Michelle Huffman, 24, and son Christopher, 16 days old, were beaten to death April 11, 1990, and she thinks those involved in the murders "should have been put to death."

James L. Dauterman, Jr., 43, who is serving a term of 15 years to life for complicity to murder, is scheduled for a hearing Nov. 21 before the Ohio Parole Board in Columbus.

Dauterman helped his then-boss, Chris P. Doyle, hire two men to kill Ms. Huffman. But when the men failed to carry out the slaying, Doyle, now 49, did it himself and eventually was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison.

Doyle, who was a Findlay businessowner, admitted in court testimony he killed Ms. Huffman and her baby boy to prevent disclosure of an affair he was having with the Fostoria woman.

Two other men, Vance R. Bennett, 61, and Brian D. Mullins, 41, also are serving prison terms for their roles in the slayings.

Ms. Carte said she plans to attend Dauterman's parole hearing and argue against his release.

"She is no longer here to fend for herself, so I'm speaking for her, so to speak," Ms. Carte said. "I will do anything in my power to keep these people where they are. They don't deserve to see ... daylight again. This was premeditated."

Ms. Carte said she was notified last month that Dauterman had been approved for parole and was scheduled for release Sept. 15. She said she contacted the Hancock County Prosecutor's Office, which filed an objection with the state.

"I was like, 'Oh, no, this can't be happening,'●" Ms. Carte said.

The prosecutor's office did not return calls seeking comment.

JoEllen Lyons, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, said a parole board panel reviewed Dauterman's case in June, followed by a central-office review in August that led to the release date being set.

A week before the scheduled release, the department's Office of Victim Services petitioned to have the full nine-member parole board review Dauterman's case, Ms. Lyons said. That action automatically halted his release, pending the hearing.

Ms. Carte said she thinks about her murdered sister and nephew every day. Her family's pain at the loss of Ms. Huffman and Christopher was renewed in April when her sister's other son, 19-year-old Kurtis Huffman, shot himself to death.

Ms. Carte said she believes Dauterman and the others involved in the killings 15 years ago bear some responsibility for Mr. Huffman's suicide.

"Now you tell me that didn't play a role in that," she said. "When the kid was 4 years old, after his mother passed away, he was asking to go to heaven to be with his mother."

Contact Steve Murphy at:

or 419-724-6078.

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