Dad pleads not guilty to killing daughter, boyfriend

Bond set at $2 million

HAMILTON, Ohio -- A 55-year-old Hamilton man has pleaded not guilty to the shotgun slayings of his daughter and her boyfriend in his Hamilton home last week.

Alfred Rutherford's bond was set at $2 million Friday morning. He remains in the Butler County jail with his next hearing set for July 17.

Police said Rutherford's grandson was having a sleepover when he shot Lacey Rutherford, 29, and Steve Watkins, 41, at his Hilda Avenue home about 2:24 a.m. on June 18.

Rutherford was indicted on one count of aggravated murder and one count of murder. The aggravated murder charge connected to Watkins' death carries the possibility of a death sentence, the Journal-News reports.

Watkins, from Wilmington, Ohio, was found shot to death in the home's bathroom.

Alfred left the home after the shooting and was arrested just before 11 a.m. at Hamilton's Joyce Park thanks to a tip, authorities said. He was originally charged with two counts of murder and obstruction of official business.

Authorities also recovered a vehicle at about 12:15 p.m. they believe Alfred used to drive away from his home.

Officers said Alfred and his daughter lived together, and several children were at the home for a sleepover during the shooting. Three of the children were Lacey’s, police said.

A woman, who identified herself as Alfred’s wife, called 911 at 2:23 a.m. and told dispatchers, “my husband killed my daughter.”

Alfred can be heard in the background of the 911 call stating, “(You're) not taking me to jail, please let me go.” A child, identified by the caller as Lacey's child, is also heard in the background crying.

The woman then said Alfred left in a Ford Escort heading toward Nilles Road.

Alfred shot Lacey in the throat with a shotgun, the woman told dispatchers in the 911 call. She added they had been arguing.

Play 911 Call

A neighbor told WCPO she saw Alfred in his front yard pacing “as though agitated” before he took off. She said three children came out of the home shortly after.

"They come running out in the yard and they're just like running around while this man is out here running around too," the neighbor said. "Then he gets in his car and leaves... (The children) watched their mom be murdered."

Lacey Rutherford and Steve Watkins

Lacey Rutherford and Steve Watkins

Hamilton Police Chief J. Scott Scrimizzi said detectives interviewed Alfred after he was arrested. They said they are relieved he did not kill himself or try to fight officers when he was spotted.

As Alfred was taken into the Butler County Jail Wednesday afternoon, he shouted "You guys have got the wrong (expletive) guy."

WCPO’s Bryce Anslinger was in court for the hearing and said Rutherford showed little emotion during his first appearance.

Rutherford was also assigned a public defender. He is due back in court next Thursday for another hearing.

Alfred Rutherford

Alfred Rutherford was taken into the Butler County Jail Wednesday afternoon

Anyone with information in this case is asked to call Hamilton police detectives at 513-868-5811 ext. 2002.

WCPO's Jay Warren contributed to this report.

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