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Women held captive seek Joan Rivers' apology

Cleveland -- Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced.

Rivers and her daughter were discussing their reality show April 22 on NBC's "Today" show when she complained about her living arrangements, saying, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space."

An April 23 statement from attorneys for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus calls Rivers' remark hurtful and shocking. The attorneys say the women have endured painful media attention and the comment is "a new low" that warrants an apology.

Rivers' publicist hasn't responded to messages seeking comment.

Berry, DeJesus and a third woman, Michelle Knight, escaped last year. Their kidnapper, Ariel Castro, hanged himself in prison.

-- Associated Press

Mother sentenced to life in baby's death

Toledo -- A Toledo woman convicted of killing her 6-month-old son has been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 15 years.

Court officials say a judge on April 24 sentenced 26-year-old Amanda Bacon on charges of murder and child endangering in the death of her son, Avery.

Prosecutors say she bashed the baby's head, fracturing his skull so severely that he died two days later at a hospital.

The jury convicted Bacon of the charges last week, acquitting her of an aggravated murder charge.

Bacon testified that her roommate injured the baby and forced Bacon to prostitute herself. But her roommate testified that he saw Bacon throw the baby to the floor in December 2012.

-- Associated Press

Woman lauded for saving neighbors from fire

Euclid -- A suburban Cleveland fire department has taken to social media to credit a woman with saving two disabled neighbors from a fire in their apartment.

The Euclid Fire Department said in a Facebook posting April 23 that the woman neighbor managed to get the residents out after a grease fire broke out in their apartment. WKYC-TV reports that one of the residents was in a wheelchair and the other was an elderly woman on oxygen.

The woman, who wasn't named, lived upstairs. Firefighters said she evacuated the residents from the smoke-filled apartment before they arrived.

The fire department's Facebook post lauded the woman "for her quick reaction and response … This neighbor selflessly risked her life to save her neighbors. We would like to thank her for the bravery she exhibited tonight."

-- Associated Press

Teen will get life in stabbing of jogger

Columbus -- A 16-year-old boy who was living in a group foster home when he was accused of fatally stabbing a jogger in a central Ohio park last year will be sentenced to life in prison as part of a plea agreement.

A prosecutor in Franklin County Juvenile Court announced the agreement April 23 that will transfer the teen's case to adult court. He will be indicted by a grand jury, and his formal guilty plea could come as early as next week.

The boy won't be eligible for parole for 18 years.

The prosecutor said the teen will admit to killing 55-year-old Jane Juergens in a Westerville park and tampering with evidence by tossing his knife into a wooded area. Stewart lived in a group home near the park.

-- Associated Press

Bill would require more investigation of suicides by

coroner

Columbus -- County coroners would be required to investigate suspected suicides, under legislation being considered in the Ohio House.

Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) offered House Bill 482 following the accidental death of a man in his district that was initially ruled a suicide but later determined to have been caused by a faulty trigger mechanism on his firearm.

"Neither the coroner nor the deputy attended to the body, the death scene, interviewed witnesses or examined all the evidence," Redfern told members of the House's health committee. "… Families should be provided with a clear set or as clear a set of facts as possible concerning the death of their loved one."

Redfern, who also serves as chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, offered sponsor testimony on the legislation April 23 during one of the few committee hearings scheduled over lawmakers' pre-primary spring recess.

HB 482 would require coroners or deputy coroners to travel to the scenes of suspected suicides, take possession of dead bodies and, in certain circumstances, perform autopsies. Such tasks are permitted under current state law but not required.

The legislation also would require newly elected or appointed coroners to complete an hour of training in how to handle suicide investigations. That would be part of the 16 hours of continuing education already required under state law.

Redfern acknowledged the potential costs of the law change, with several hundred additional autopsies performed annually at a cost of about $2,000. The state averages about 1,400 suicides annually, with autopsies performed on about 900.

-- Marc Kovac, Capital Bureau

Police seek woman who took toy from baby's grave

Ontario, Ohio -- Police are trying to identify a woman who took a stuffed animal from an Ohio boy's gravesite after other toys and solar nightlights were stolen from there.

On April 19, the child's family left a stuffed yellow duck for Easter at a cemetery in Ontario, near Mansfield. Surveillance video taken hours later shows a woman pick up the duck, look around and walk away.

Detective Jon Sigler says the duck was found April 23, apparently thrown along a cemetery road.

Sigler says toy tanks and flowers also have disappeared in recent years from the grave of the 14-month-old boy, who died in 2007.

His mother, Jaclyn Sheridan, tells The Mansfield News Journal that solar lights on other gravesites have been left alone and that she suspects her son's grave has been targeted.

-- Associated Press

Ex-Ohio cop freed in killing can stay free for now

Cincinnati -- A former Ohio police captain released after nearly 15 years in prison for his ex-wife's killing can remain free as the state's highest court considers taking his case.

The Ohio Supreme Court's ruling April 23 will allow former Akron Capt. Doug Prade to stay out of jail until at least the summer.

That's when the court should decide whether to consider Prade's appeal of a lower court's ruling.

The March ruling by Ohio's 9th District Court of Appeals found a judge was wrong to free Prade based on bite-mark DNA testing.

If the Supreme Court takes the case, Prade would remain free as the justices weigh whether to overturn the lower ruling.

If the court turns down the case, Prade would have to go back to jail.

-- Associated Press

Group hopes to overturn gay

marriage ban

Columbus -- A group that hopes to overturn Ohio's ban on gay marriage has been given the green light to begin collecting petition signatures.

The Ohio Ballot Board on April 22 agreed that the Freedom to Marry Constitutional Amendment represented one amendment, and backers could proceed to seek voter support to place it on the ballot.

"Please remember that we are not here to debate the merits of the proposed amendment, only whether it is one amendment or more," Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said during the board's short morning meeting.

Columbus attorney Don McTigue, representing the petitioners, offered brief comments, noting that the new amendment was similar to a prior submission OK'd two years ago by the ballot board. Supporters of the amendment will need to collect more than 380,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.

It's the second proposal from FreedomOhio, which wants to overturn the state's gay marriage ban while allowing churches to refrain from participating in such ceremonies. The new ballot language also would call for gay marriages conducted in other states to be treated equally under state law to heterosexual unions.

The gay marriage ban was added to the state constitution by voters in 2004, with support from more than 60 percent of the electorate.

-- Marc Kovac, Capital Bureau

Memorial for 11

serial-killing victims needs $250K

Cleveland -- Construction of a memorial at the Cleveland site where the remains of 11 women were found in a serial killer's home has been delayed because its funding is short by $250,000.

WOIO-TVreports that construction at Anthony Sowell's former property won't start as planned on Mother's Day.

Public and private funding would be used for the memorial at the site where Sowell's house once stood. The Mount Pleasant Ministerial Alliance has been working to create a memorial garden.

Sowell was found guilty in 2011 and sentenced to death. Many of his victims were drug addicts who were never reported missing.

Cost estimates for the project had initially ranged from $175,000 to $480,000. Proposed designs included a playground, stone walkways and a reflective pool.

-- Associated Press

Goodyear narrows possible names for new airship

Akron -- Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has narrowed the list of possible names for the new airship that is the next generation of its famous blimp.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports people submitted more than 15,000 suggestions through a naming contest. The ten finalists include Ambassador, Explorer, Inspiration and Pride of Goodyear.

People can vote for their favorites on Goodyear's website for the next three weeks. Goodyear has said whoever submitted winning name will get access to the airship for a day.

The high-tech, helium-filled craft has a semi-rigid internal structure not included in earlier models that raises questions about whether it is truly a blimp, though the company still refers to it as such. Its silver balloon-like body is emblazoned with Goodyear's yellow logo on a blue background.

-- Associated Press

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