CINCINNATI – It’s not easy to make our “top 9 crazy crimes of the year” list.
It wasn’t enough to just tell your arresting officer, “I hope you die tomorrow,” while repeatedly cursing him and calling him vulgar names from the back seat of a police cruiser.
Sorry, Adam Jones, you didn’t make the cut.
To be on our list, your crime had to really top the crazy scale. And trust us, there were a lot of options this year.
We won’t keep you waiting any longer. The winners in our 2017 “top 9 crazy crimes” are:
9. Drunken off-duty police officer drops gun in theater, police say
Cincinnati police Sgt. Shauna Lambert told Milford officers she had "a lot" to drink before she dropped a gun inside Rave Motion Pictures on Rivers Edge Drive Jan 6.
WATCH video below (courtesy of Robert Dunaway):
No one was injured, and no shots were fired, so maybe we should just say “no harm, no foul.” But it was no laughing matter to the people there who had visions of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting that killed 12 people and injured 70 others. Some of the Milford theater-goers ran for their lives.
Tony Peterson, who said he sat two seats away from Lambert, said she was behaving strangely even before the movie, "Rogue One," started. Peterson said he and his fiancée moved to other seats, and Lambert began to harass other patrons. Then she dropped her pistol.
"Some guy turned his cellphone light on, saw what it was (and) snatched it up," Peterson said. "And then the commotion started."
Lambert was sentenced to five days in jail for inducing panic and using weapons while intoxicated.
It wasn’t Lambert’s first run-in with the law; her license was seized in April 2016 after she was pulled over in Blue Ash and "smelled like alcohol," according to a police report. Blue Ash police charged her with OVI, Sgt. Allison Schlie said, but records show Municipal Court Judge Josh Berkowitz amended it to a count of reckless operation in response to a motion from Lambert's attorney.
8. Police say high school coach ran from girl’s house when her mom came home
Nicholas Priessman, a 26-year-old Colerain High School coach, got caught where he shouldn't have been, police say.
A female student told police that Priessman had messaged her on Snapchat to set up a meeting and that he informed another football coach he would be late to that afternoon's practice. Then, she said, Priessman came to her house and began kissing and touching her.
According to investigative records obtained by the WCPO I-Team, Priessman was caught Sept. 25 when the student's mother returned home earlier than expected. He fled through the backyard, but the jig was up.
“You said your mom was home and I absolutely panicked and freaked out," Priessman wrote in a text to the student.
In another text, Priessman admitted he had intended to have sex with the student.
The family reported Priessman to police and he resigned from his position at Colerain two days later.
Priessman was charged with attempted sexual battery - a felony in Ohio. If convicted, Priessman could spend up to three years in prison. Priessman is due in court in January.
7. 5-year-old boy saves parents after they overdose
There were dozens and dozens of heroin crimes – from children finding their mom dead, to murders, to the driver accused of killing a bicyclist, to the feds making the biggest heroin bust here ever -- 21 pounds of a heroin and fentanyl mix worth about $1 million.
But this one takes the skag.
Kenny Currey said he always told his grandson to come to him if he was in trouble. So when the 5-year-old discovered his parents, Chelsie Marshall and Lee Johnson, unconscious on the upstairs floor of their house, the boy ran barefoot two-and-a-half blocks in the dark to Currey's house.
"He walked in the door, and Mom and Dad weren't coming behind him," Currey said. "All of a sudden, he starts saying, ‘Mom and Dad's dead, Mom and Dad's dead!'"
The couple had OD’d on heroin while getting ready to drive to work, according to Middletown police. They had already buckled Aidan's 3-month-old sister in her car seat.
"This 5-year-old child, a hero, saved three lives today," police wrote online. "How can something so awesome be so sad all at the same time?"
Police gave Aidan a badge, and he and his sister were sent to stay with another grandmother out of town. Both parents were charged with heroin and child endangerment offenses.
6. Feds: Ohio man trying to help ISIS arrested at CVG
Hey, you've been to CVG, so let me ask: Has anyone seen a line to the security check that says, “Enter here to join ISIS"?
FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force arrested 26-year-old Laith Waleed Alebbini on April 26 and accused him of attempting to provide material support or resources to the foreign terrorist organization.
They said Alebbini, a citizen of Jordan but a permanent legal resident of the U.S., attempted to travel to Syria in order to fight with ISIS against the Syrian leadership.
Alebbini had been living in Dayton, Ohio, they said. Apparently the Dayton airport has no non-stops to Syria.
Alebbini got on the feds’ radar when he was arrested in January trying to enter the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C. He later said he thought embassy security was lax, according to a special agent’s report.
“If I had a bomb on me, I swear to God, three embassies would have gone down," he said, possibly referring to the Indian and Japanese embassies on the same block.
This wasn’t the first time a Tri-Stater was arrested on charges of supporting ISIS or planning terrorism. There was Christopher Cornell, the Oak Hills High grad sentenced to 30 years for plotting to attack the Capitol (a court dismissed Cornell’s appeal of sentence this year) and the Maysville, Kentucky woman accused of advocating online for terrorist attacks in the U.S. and promoting ISIS propaganda.
5. Woman stuffed in pit said kidnapper told her: ‘You’re mine now.’
A “crazy crush” led a Blanchester man to kidnap his neighbor and bury her alive in a pit in his backyard, the victim’s mother said.
Jennifer Elliott, 30, sat in court a week later and told a harrowing story claiming she was held captive by her 45-year-old neighbor, Dennis Dunn. The Blanchester woman said Dunn told her “I love you” and “You’re mine now” after he stuffed her into a pit under a shed in his backyard on April 26.
"I remember banging on the dirt and screaming,” Elliott said.
Elliott’s ordeal lasted about three hours before Blanchester police rescued her, Chief Scott Reinbolt said. Her mother, Gayle Rowe, reported her missing at about 1:15 a.m. Rowe said she searched Dunn’s yard and heard faint screams. Officers pulled Elliott out of the pit at about 4 a.m.
The pit was 40 inches deep and 2 feet in diameter and was covered with wood and heavy objects.
Elliott was unable to speak when she was found, police said. She said she had an epileptic seizure.
"If we wouldn't have found her, she would be dead," Rowe said.
Elliott told the prosecutor she thought she was going to die in that hole. “He would make threats and call me a ‘piece of s**t,'" Elliott said.
The Clinton County Sheriff's Office had a history of investigating incidents involving Dunn and Elliott. In October 2016, Elliott told police Dunn was sending her "harassing phone calls and text messages," but she decided not to participate in prosecution of Dunn, according to the sheriff's office.
4. Business owner accused of importing fentanyl dies of 'suspected suicide'
Grace Bosworth was an award-winning entrepreneur with a successful small business, but she had a dark side, federal authorities said.
Bosworth, 39, and her business partner, James Halpin, were charged with smuggling fentanyl into the Tri-State. Halpin told investigators that he and Bosworth were daily users of the powerful synthetic opioid linked to thousands of overdose deaths in Ohio.
Bosworth and Halpin were arrested in June after Homeland Security Special Agent Michael Grote claimed he purchased 100 milligrams of fentanyl from “a website on the dark web,” according to an affidavit. The May 30 purchase led U.S. Postal inspectors to their Cincinnati address.
That was enough fentanyl “to kill a football stadium full of people,” Acting U.S. Attorney David A. Sierleja said in a statement.
According to the affidavit, Halpin told investigators Bosworth bought weekly shipments of at least 2 grams of fentanyl and repackaged the drugs so Halpin could mail them from local post offices to customers all over the country.
Six months later on Dec. 5, Bosworth was found dead on the second floor of the two-family home they shared in Newport. The coroner's office called her death a "suspected suicide," but the exact cause of her death is "still pending."
Bosworth was the owner of Global 2 Local Language Solutions, a translation-services business incubator that was based in Hamilton County until last July. Cincinnati vendor records show Global 2 Local received more than $1.6 million in payments from Cincinnati's health, police and water works divisions since 2013.
The arrest came as a shock to the Hamilton County Business Center, a Norwood incubator where Bosworth has operated her company for the previous five years.
“The company’s done everything that traditional businesses here have done,” Director Patrick Longo said. “They’ve gone out and got new business, had a plan, tried to implement their plan. Looked like things were going good.”
In October, Bosworth and Halpin both indicated in court filings that they were exploring “pre-indictment negotiations with the government.”
3. Police: Corner store owner fatally shoots would-be robber in South Fairmount
The video from the store surveillance camera showed the whole deadly encounter.
A robber points a gun at a clerk behind the counter and demands money, not realizing the owner is just a few feet away – out of sight – with a gun of his own.
The robber waves the gun in a threatening gesture. The terrified clerk throws money across the counter. The bills land at the robber’s feet.
The owner fires one shot and the robber falls to the floor.
The owner of Sam's Quick Market on Harrison Avenue said it was a matter of life or death.
“I feel bad because the guy died, but at the end of the day, if somebody comes and points a gun at you, that’s the last option you have,” he said.
The owner told WCPO the family business had been robbed twice and the family had made the decision to arm themselves.
“We didn’t care about the money,” he said. “You see my cousin throwing the money out. Maybe (the robber) pulls the trigger and kills us.”
Police identified the robber as 34-year-old Hananiah Israel. Israel had been sentenced to three years in prison for robbery in 2006. More recently, he had been arrested for theft in June.
After a homicide unit investigation, Prosecutor Joe Deters absolved the owner and said he would not even take the case to a grand jury.
"If you enter a store with a weapon to rob it, you have forfeited your right not to be shot," Deters said. "And these clerks were lucky they weren't victims themselves. They were clearly defending themselves."
2. Woman who claimed she lost unborn baby in mass shooting wasn't really pregnant, police say
If a woman hadn’t lied about being pregnant, there wouldn’t have been a gender reveal party that ended with two gunmen bursting through the front door and killing a 22-year-old mother and injuring nine people – including three kids.
Cheyanne Willis, the guest of honor, was not even pregnant at the time, Colerain police spokesperson Jim Love said later. He said police would let the prosecutor determine whether Willis should face charges.
Willis had told WCPO she lost her baby as a result of being shot in the leg at the party. And that was not Willis’ first encounter with violence or the media.
Late in 2014, Willis told WCPO she was attacked on Christmas Eve by another woman who punched her and wrote "I got my --- whooped" on her forehead in eyeliner. A grand jury declined to indict the suspect.
The gender reveal partygoers were watching a movie inside a house on Capstan Drive on July 8 when two gunmen came in through the front door and fired 14 rounds, police said. Autum Garrett, of Huntington, Indiana, was killed. The children -- ages 2, 6 and 8 -- were not seriously injured and quickly released from the hospital.
Five months after the mass shooting, Colerain police haven’t made any arrests or named any suspects. But what Love says about the case speaks volumes.
Police believe the shootings were drug-related. Several people at the party had connections to three different drug circles, Love said.
And the investigation has been stymied by lies and false testimony by witnesses, starting with the reason for the party itself.
Police Chief Mark Denney said Willis’ pregnancy story was just one example of false leads they had received. They also got "significant resistance" from the victims, he said. He lamented the "hours and days" they wasted while two gunmen remained on the loose. Investigators were so frustrated they wouldn’t talk about the case.
Anyone with real information is asked to call the Colerain Police Department Tip Line at 513-470-7165 or Crime Stoppers at 513-352-3040.
1. Ohio woman killed and dismembered husband, continued to live in home with body parts, officials say
We said “crazy crimes,” remember? What can be crazier than this?
A northern Ohio woman who killed her husband in June and cut up his body kept his remains in their house until their son discovered them on Dec. 9. The son, who lives on and off with his parents, was locked out of the house but climbed in through a window, the Summit County sheriff said.
The first clue of trouble was the smell. The second was the maggots. The third was the three plastic containers he said he discovered inside the home.
So the boy texted his mom and asked what was in the plastic containers, the sheriff said. The mom, who was shopping at Walmart, quickly texted back:
Marcia Eubank, 49, admitted to shooting 54-year-old Howard Eubank in the back of the head on June 13, the sheriff said. She dismembered his body using an electrical saw and other tools, authorities added.
The sheriff arrested Marcia at Walmart.