The Tri-State's most notorious rampage killers

Posted at 8:47 PM, Apr 22, 2016

James Ruppert (killed 11 on March 30, 1975):

While his family was preparing Easter dinner, the 40-year-old Hamilton man was upstairs loading his rifle and three handguns and preparing a massacre. He slipped downstairs and shot his mother, brother and sister-in-law in the kitchen, then killed his eight nieces and nephews, ages 4 to 17.  Ruppert fired 35 shots during the five-minute massacre. There was so much blood it dripped  through the floorboards and  can still be seen on the wood in the house where a single mom and her two kids now live. Ruppert, an unemployed college dropout living with his 65-year-old mother, couldn't measure up to his brother, a family man with a good job at GE. The night before the killings, he told a bartender that his mother was threatening to evict him because he drank too much and couldn't hold a job, but he would take care of it.

WCPO INSIDERS can read about the killings and the single mom living in the Ruppert house now.

David Ison (killed five on Sept. 25, 2011):

Two dollars, five deaths. The Fayette County, Ind., man had gone to Roy Napier's house in Laurel to buy Oxycontin and got angry because Napier raised the price by $2 per pill. So Ison, 46, shot and killed Napier, his wife, and their two children, Jacob and Melissa Napier, ages 18 and 23. On his way out, Ison shot their neighbor,  Henry Smith, 43,  in the front yard. He spared Melissa’s 4-year-old daughter. Neighbors found her wandering in the road.

Delhi bank robbery (four killed on Sept. 24, 1969):

Joe Huebner and his wife Helen stopped at the Cabinet Supreme Savings & Loan on Delhi Road so she could cash her paycheck. He waited in the car. And waited. When he saw three men run out of the bank, he rushed inside to check on her. He found her dead along with the teller,  Lillian Dewald, and two other customers sisters Luella and Henrietta Stitzel.  The three bank robbers -  Raymond Kassow, Watterson Johnson and John Leigh -  had vowed not to leave any witnesses, so they herded the four women into the vault and Leigh shot them until he ran out of bullets. He said he shot Dewald four times "because she kept screaming." Kassow and Johnson had cased the bank a month earlier and Dewald told her husband, a Cincinnati traffic cop, that she feared they were going to rob her. He told her to call Delhi police, and they kept surveillance on the bank for several days. The three killers got away with $275, but not for long. Kassow was caught the same day. The other two made it to New Mexico and were arrested four days after the killings. Their death sentences were commuted to life in prison, but  every time they came up for parole, the community wrote thousands of letters to oppose it. All three men died in prison, with Kassow the last in 2015 - 46 years later. "Good riddance. He was a piece of crap," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said. "He executed innocent women. It was the most sickening thing I saw in my entire career."

Clay Shrout (killed four on May 26, 1994):

The 17-year-old got up about 5 a.m. in his Florence, Kentucky, home and shot his parents and  sisters, ages 14 and 12. Then he went to a friend's house – a girl he had taken to the prom two weeks earlier - and  made her drive him to classes at Ryle High School. Shrout showed his trigonometry teacher the gun and sat down at her desk, then silently held the class hostage for about 10 minutes until an assistant principal knocked on the door and offered to trade places with them. Shrout let the others go and gave up the gun about five minutes later when the first police officer arrived at the door. He later told police he was mad at his parents for taking away his weapons because he was flunking English.

READ more about Clay Shrout.

Bricca family slain (three killed on Sept. 25, 1966):

There's still no arrest. The suspects were cleared. There's no justice for the young Bridgetown family – or their neighbors still haunted by the brutal slayings of a 4-year-old girl and her parents. But county coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, born two years before the killings, never says never. Sammarco sent evidence to the FBI for DNA testing, hoping for a lead in Cincinnati's most notorious cold case. Pauline West remembers it like it was yesterday. "Somebody brings it up, the Bricca murder, every year," said West. "It shook up the whole neighborhood, [people were] scared to death, people were afraid to go out of their house. Then there was rumors of who did it; it was never, ever proven." Jerry Bricca, a 28-year-old engineer at the Monsanto plastics facility in Addyston, was stabbed to death in his home on Greenway Avenue, along with his 23-year-old wife Linda and daughter Debbie. Linda was a former airline flight attendant and worked part-time at the Glenway Vet Clinic. There were rumors for years that she could have had an affair with the vet. The coroner at the time, Dr. Frank Cleveland, said someone had "recent sex" with Linda. A neighbor who found the bodies was cleared.

READ more about the Bricca case.

Marco Chapman (killed two on Aug. 23, 2002):

A handyman, Chapman had done work on Carolyn Marksberry's house in Warsaw, Ky., and had befriended her family. But he knew that Carolyn had counseled a friend to end her abusive relationship with Chapman. He also knew her husband was out of town. Chapman said he went to the Marksberry house to rob it, but things got out of hand.  He tied up Carolyn and stabbed her 15 times.Then he stabbed her son and two daughters and slit their throats. Cody, 6, and Chelbi, 7, bled to death.  Courtney, 10,  was able to escape and get to a neighbor's  house. Chapman was executed by lethal injection in 2008.

Donald Harvey (convicted of 36 murders between 1970 and 1987):

Calling himself the "Angel of Death," the hospital orderly pleaded guilty to poisoning 24 patients at Cincinnati's Drake Hospital between 1986 and 1987, but he claimed he killed 50 more when you add the time he worked at the Cincinnati VA Hospital and Marymount Hospital in London, Ky., and others he killed just because. Harvey said he started killing out of mercy for terminally ill patients, then he just started to like it. He said he used cyanide most of the time because it was hard to detect. But a doctor doing an autopsy on one of his Drake Hospital victims caught a whiff of the poison, and authorities traced the killing to Harvey. That might have been the end of the story – one count of murder - except for WCPO anchor Pat Minarcin. Minarcin's investigation revealed a serial killer. Harvey admitted those Drake killings and a dozen others to escape the death penalty. He will be eligible for parole in 2043 when he is 91.

READ how WCPO's Pat Minarcin revealed a serial killer.

Posteal Laskey (killed seven in 1965-66):

Dubbed "The Cincinnati Strangler," the one-time taxi driver terrorized the city for a year. He killed his victims in their homes and apartment buildings, in parks as they walked their dogs or in his cab. All but one were older than 50.

READ more about The Cincinnati Strangler

Anthony Kirkland (killed four from 2006 to 2009):

After serving 16 years for killing his girlfriend, Kirkland went on a murder spree in Cincinnati. He killed 45-year-old Mary Jo Newton, 25-year-old Kimya Rolison, and two teens, 14-year-old Casonya Crawford and 13-year-old Esme Kinney, a seventh-grader at SCPA who played the cello. Kirkland kidnapped Esme as she jogged alone around the Winton Hills reservoir close to her home on Saturday afternoon, March 7, 2009. Esme's parents had called police when she didn't come right home, and police were already out looking for her when they came upon Kirkland in the woods. He had Esme's iPod and her watch. They found her body nearby. 

Alton Coleman (killed two in July 1984):

Driving through Cincinnati during a three-state murder spree with his girlfriend, Coleman killed 15-year-old Tonnie Storey and 44-year-old Marlene Walters. Hours after she had left home to go to a computer class, Storey's body was found in an abandoned building on July 11. Two days later, Coleman and his girlfriend showed up at the Walters house in Norwood asking about a camping trailer they were trying to sell. Coleman said he hit Harry Walters on the head with a wooden candlestick, knocking him unconscious and partially incapacitated for life. He   struck Marlene about 20 times and tied a ligature around her neck, strangling her. Coleman, who killed a total of eight, was executed by lethal injection in 2002.

Joseph Paul Franklin (killed two on June 8, 1980):

An avowed racist and cold-blooded killer, Franklin admitted or was convicted of killing 20 people in a four-year, 11-state rampage between 1977 and 1980. He never shot children except when he came to Cincinnati in 1980.  A sniper, Franklin targeted blacks, Jews and interracial couples. He wounded Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt and civil rights leader Vernon Jordan in separate shootings. He said he shot Flynt because Hustler published a photo of an interracial couple having sex, and he shot Jordan because he had seen him in public with a white woman. Except for a few cases, Franklin used a high-powered rifle and shot from a long distance. He planned his escape diligently and sometimes used a bicycle to leave the scene. That's how he evaded police and prosecution. Franklin drifted around the country and wound up here on a hot, summer night. He took a high perch on a railroad trestle in Bond Hill and planned to shoot an interracial couple, but he got impatient when none came by. About 11 p.m., he saw two young blacks, 14-year-old Darrell Lane and 13-year-old Dante Evans Brown. The two cousins had snuck out of their grandmother's house, where they were spending the weekend. They were walking down Reading Road to a convenience store to buy candy. Each was clutching a dollar bill. Franklin escaped after the shootings, there were no witnesses, and no charges were filed for 17 years. But the m.o. and the rifle eventually pointed to Franklin, who was on death row in Missouri in 1997 for a killing a man outside a synagogue. Prosecutor Joe Deters played a hunch and sent a pretty, young assistant, Melissa Powers, to interview Franklin. Powers testified that as soon as she entered the interview room, Franklin told her, "You know I did it," and "I killed those dudes." Powers (now a judge) came back with a five-hour taped confession, and a Hamilton County jury convicted Franklin on Oct. 21, 1999 – almost 20 years after he killed Darrell and Dante. Franklin was executed by lethal injection in Missouri in 2013.