Ohio News Briefs

Ohio elections chief: Over 957,000 ask for absentee ballots

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The number of Ohioans who have asked for an absentee ballot ahead of the November presidential election is closing in on 1 million.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted says more than 957,000 absentee ballot applications were received as of Friday. That’s 35,000 more than at this point in the 2012 election.

Almost 15,000 of the requests for an absentee ballot are from military and overseas voters.

Residents in the swing state can vote absentee by mail or in person without having to give a reason.

Military and overseas voters can already cast ballots for the Nov. 8 election. Early voting for other Ohioans begins on Oct. 12.

Completed absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 7.

Man kills woman in Burger King, then kills self in bathroom

CLEVELAND (AP) — Police say a man fatally shot a woman inside a Burger King in Cleveland before killing himself inside the bathroom.

Authorities say the suspected murder-suicide occurred at around 8 a.m. Tuesday.

WJW-TV is reporting that the woman might have been a restaurant employee.

Neither the man nor the woman has been identified. Both died at the scene.

Cleveland police declined to provide additional details about the shootings.

Clemency hearing set for inmate with January execution date

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The state has scheduled a clemency hearing for the first inmate scheduled for execution under a new process for putting condemned prisoners to death.

Convicted killer Ronald Phillips is set to die Jan. 12 for the 1993 rape and killing of his girlfriend’s 3-year-old daughter.

The state prisons agency on Tuesday scheduled a Dec. 1 hearing where Phillips’ attorneys can ask the Ohio Parole Board for mercy. Gov. John Kasich will have the final decision.

Ohio’s prisons agency said Monday it plans to carry out at least three executions next year with a three-drug combination of drugs similar to a method it used several years ago.

In 2013 the parole board voted unanimously against clemency, saying Phillips’ crime was “among the worst of the worst.”

Records: Warrant was out for suspect in rest area shooting

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Court documents indicate an arrest warrant had been issued for a man who the State Highway Patrol says shot an 18-year-old multiple times at a central Ohio interstate rest area over the weekend before turning the gun on himself.

Authorities say Shawn Johnson fired several shots into a vehicle in a seemingly random attack Sunday morning at an Interstate 71 rest area in Delaware County. Alexander Melchert, a College of Wooster student from Wisconsin, was critically hurt.

Authorities say they found Johnson dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot after he crashed into a guardrail.

A criminal complaint says Johnson had been charged two days earlier with domestic violence.

Police say Johnson hit his mother repeatedly in the head, said he was going to kill someone and then stole her purse.

Sailor killed in Pearl Harbor attack to be buried in Ohio

ELYRIA, Ohio (AP) — A sailor killed 75 years ago in the attack on Pearl Harbor is set to be buried with full military honors in northeast Ohio.

Rudolph Piskuran, of Elyria, and 429 other sailors aboard the USS Oklahoma were killed on Dec. 7, 1941 when a torpedo struck the ship.

Piskuran’s remains were identified earlier this year through DNA testing. He will be buried late next week at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Elyria.

The Chronicle-Telegram reports Piskuran had been a 1940 graduate of Elyria High School. He played basketball and sang in the boys’ chorus and junior a capella chorus.

In a letter dated eight days before the attack, Piskuran told his parents he felt safe and happy. He said he was more concerned about volcanoes than the Japanese.

Ohio inmate’s sentence lengthened for anthrax hoax

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio inmate accused of sending a judge a suspicious letter and powder in an anthrax hoax and instructing a second inmate to do the same has pleaded guilty and had three years added to his sentence.

The Columbus Dispatch reports 33-year-old Sean Heisa was serving a 30-year prison term for a series of armed robberies when the letters were sent last year containing powder that he claimed was anthrax.

He had three years added to his sentence Monday after he pleaded guilty to charges including possession or use of a hoax weapon of mass destruction, retaliation and inducing panic.

Heisa apologized for, in his words, “wasting the court’s time with these cases,” but he denied telling the other inmate to send the second letter.

Sheriff: Accused Ohio killer helps artist sketch 1st victim

MARION, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio sheriff says a man linked to the killings of four women helped a sketch artist come up with a new image of his first victim, who still hasn’t been identified.

Authorities in Marion County released the sketch Monday.

Shawn Grate has pleaded not guilty in two killings in north-central Ohio. Authorities say he confessed to killing two other women, including one around 2005 in Marion County.

Authorities there say Grate doesn’t remember that victim’s name.

The sheriff’s office says Grate told detectives that a first sketch based on the woman’s skeleton didn’t look like her, so he gave investigators a better description.

The sheriff says Grate told investigators his first victim was a woman who’d been selling magazines.

Grate’s attorneys haven’t returned messages seeking comment since his arrest.

Reconstructed Cleveland breakwater nears completion

CLEVELAND (AP) — A $36 million project to repair a northeast Ohio breakwater that was damaged during Superstorm Sandy is nearing completion.

The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reports the Army Corps of Engineers and a team of contractors are 90 percent through a project to reconstruct an almost mile-long section of the wall that protects the Cleveland shoreline. The two-year project is expected to be finished by the end of November.

The key elements of the reconstructed breakwater are geometric concrete structures that resemble a ship’s anchor and are designed to dissipate the waves rather than block them.

More than 18,000 of the six-ton structures are scheduled to be unloaded into the breakwater and form an interlocking wall of concrete by the end of the project.

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