Michael Vaughan, Latonia standoff suspect, pleads not guilty

'Mentally unstable,' jailer says

CINCINNATI – The Army veteran who held police at bay for 19 hours last month and was listed as "mentally unstable" was pleaded not guilty Friday.

Michael Vaughan, 43, was admitted to the Kenton County Jail Thursday after waiving his extradition.

Vaughan was previously held at the Hamilton County Justice Center. He was taken there Tuesday and held under suicide watch after spending more than a week at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

On Thursday, Vaughan spoke to the judge with his arm in a sling. Investigators said the sling concealed the gunshot wound he received from police during the marathon standoff on Sunday, Dec. 22.

"He's been very calm and no problems in the booking process," Kenton County jailer Terry Carl said.

Vaughan, who is being represented by attorney Chris Roach, was checked every 15 minutes and had a guard outside his cell. He will remain under suicide watch in the Kenton County Detention Center.

"Our mental health staff has decided that he's mentally unstable at this point," Maj. Carmaine McGuffey said.

He is also not allowed to have contact with other inmates.

"He'll be put in isolation first of all," Carl said. "More than likely he'll be put in a uniform because of his injuries. He'll be treated…with all the [typical] precautions...for suicidal and mentally disturbed individuals."

Vaughan is being held on a $250,000 bond and is scheduled to be back in court on Wednesday Jan. 8 at 1:30 p.m.

The Latonia resident faces a charge of attempted murder of a police officer after shooting at Covington police when they arrived at his home at about 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21.

Officers responded after someone called police and said Vaughan posted disturbing messages on his Facebook page. That page has since been suspended on the social media site.

RELATED: Facebook played key role in Latonia standoff

As the standoff played out, Vaughan exchanged shots with police into Sunday morning. His three children were in his house in the 4300 block of Michigan Avenue for most of the standoff.

The situation ended a few hours after Vaughan released his children to police, set his house on fire and exchanged one final volley of gunshots with police before being wounded and surrendering.

"Vaughn once again engaged our officers from elevated position with a rifle. We returned fire in Vaughan's direction and struck him one time that we are aware of," said Covington Police Chief Spike Jones after the incident ended at about 1 p.m. Sunday.

Jones also said Vaughan will likely face further charges.

"He will need to be held accountable for the acts he committed," Jones said.

Jones suggested Vaughan, who served in Afghanistan, may suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and that further evaluations of the veteran's mental state would be done.

An inquiry into Vaughan's past revealed he had an earlier run-in with Kenton County police. On May 8, he was arrested for violating an Emergency Protective Order, according to Kenton County Detention Center records.

Vaughan, who enlisted in the military in 1989, also faced disciplinary actions for sexual harassment while in the National Guard. Vaughan attempted to sue the Guard, stating the action taken against him was groundless.

The standoff was reportedly sparked by a break-up between Vaughan and his girlfriend that day

Steve Courtney, his wife and his 19-year-old grandson Ryan Rickey were sitting in the living room of a home across from Vaughan's residence at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday when they say a stray bullet exploded through a window and into their living room.

"We were sitting in the living room when a gunshot came through a dining room window and hit the wall next to me," said Rickey. He said the bullet missed him by 3 feet.

Vaughan's three children were released to the custody of family.

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