Liberty Township man arrested in hit-and-run that killed woman pleads not guilty

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- A man accused of running over and killing a woman in Butler County over the weekend pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

Investigators said 55-year-old Thomas Recker Jr. was driving a vehicle late Friday that was involved in a hit and run.

Authorities said they found Rebekah Jo Shaw’s body just off the side of the 5700 block of Cincinnati-Dayton Road shortly after 12:15 a.m. Saturday.

While investigators have released very few details in what led to Shaw’s death, they said she was riding with Recker when she was run over late Friday night. Authorities are investigating how she ended up out of the vehicle and in the roadway where she was struck.

Deputies arrested Recker after tracking down his 1999 Chevrolet Silverado.

Recker, a diesel mechanic who resides in Liberty Township, pleaded not guilty to charges of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, leaving the scene of a crash and aggravated vehicular homicide.

Butler County Coroner Lisa K. Mannix said Shaw died of multiple blunt force traumas.

“There's blood everywhere,” a witness told 911 dispatchers after discovering Shaw’s body while driving home early Saturday. “(We) checked her neck and wrists for a pulse. She's bleeding out of the ears.”



Liberty Township resident Taylor Marguerat said she spotted Shaw’s body from the passenger seat of her boyfriend’s car.

"(My boyfriend) was taking me home and we saw a body on the side of the road,” Marguerat said. “It was crazy. I still can't get the image of it out of my head.”

An official close to the investigation said Recker and Shaw were acquaintances and knew each other for about two years.

Recker’s neighbors said Monday they couldn’t believe he was arrested.

"I've known Tom for four or five years. He’s a nice guy,” neighbor John Newcomb said. “Kind of kept to himself. I guess strange things happen to good folks.”

James Turley, who lives across the street from Shaw's parents in Wayne Township, said the news of her death was hard to take.

"It's terrible. I really liked the girl,” Turley said. “She used to play with my daughter. She was just like part of the family.”

Authorities said Shaw had an extensive criminal record. She recently served 30 days in the Campbell County Jail for driving on a suspended license. She was also arrested numerous times on drug and felonious assault charges.

Deputies are investigating a bar where they said Recker and Shaw may have been together just before she died.

No bond was set for Recker Tuesday and he remains in the Butler County Jail. He is scheduled to next appear in court for a preliminary hearing on April 30.

WCPO's Tom McKee contributed to this report.

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