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Did Liscia Willis kill her dad to take over his house? Defense disputes theory

Attorney: No mortgage, mental illness or criminal history
Posted at 10:11 PM, Dec 23, 2019

FOREST PARK, Ohio — Prosecutors paint Liscia Willis as a monster who killed her own father – a retired Cincinnati police officer - so she could take over his house.

“She planned to kill him and take over the mortgage on his home. She stabbed him repeatedly until he died,” prosecutor David Wood said at Willis’ court hearing Monday.

Willis was moving her belongings into her father’s Forest Park house when police making a welfare check found James Dunlap's body, Wood said.

But Willis’ attorney, Clyde Bennett, calls that a complete fabrication.

“Really, all the police have is a body found in the basement. Then they conjure up this idea about mortgage,” said Bennett, a high-profile local defense attorney. “Well, my investigation indicates that the house doesn't even have a mortgage on it.”

A public records search appears to show that Dunlap bought the house in 2012 with a loan that runs through 2027, but the records don’t show if the loan was paid off.

“You have a woman who's a pretty good woman for 49 years of her life and all the sudden they claim that she just woke up and took a knife and started stabbing her father. That's asinine to me and it doesn't make sense,” Bennett said.

Bennett said Willis has no history of mental illness and no criminal history.

Dunlap lived in a nice house at the end of a cul-de-sac.

“He’d walk around the neighborhood all the time with his dog,” said a neighbor, Kimberly Tran.

People who worked with Dunlap said everyone called him Uncle Skip because he was so loved in the places he patrolled. Dunlap often lent money to coworkers and people on the street and never expected a payback, they said.

“Anytime I saw him he'd say hi, ask me how my day was,” Tran said. “He was really sweet.”

A judge refused to lower Willis’ $1 million bond. The case will come up in court again on Dec. 31, and the grand jury report will be released at that time, the judge said.