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Middletown man pleads insanity in case of woman’s stabbing death, house fire

Posted at 10:56 AM, Aug 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-28 10:56:29-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — A Middletown man is being held without bond while he is accused of the stabbing death of a woman whose house was then burned down.

Anson Pride, 41, was indicted by a grand jury last week for aggravated murder, felonious assault, aggravated arson, aggravated burglary and tampering with evidence in the Aug. 14 death of death of Jamaka Calhoun at her Lind Street home.

Police Chief David Birk said the 28-year-old mother appeared to be protecting herself in an altercation with Pride, who police suspect was breaking into houses in the neighborhood.

Calhoun was pulled from her burning house and died at the scene. She died from stab wounds, and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.

Pride’s court-appointed attorneys, Morgan Kohler and Anna Mallory, entered a not guilty by reason of insanity plea on Pride’s behalf during Thursday’s arraignment in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Keith Spaeth ordered a psychological forensic evaluation and set a hearing for Oct. 1.

Bond was set for Pride at $1.25 million in Middletown Municipal Court after his arrest, but bond was denied during arraignment at the request of the prosecution. It is an unusual request that is often reserved for those who face the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said Pride’s criminal past is one reason for the request.

“We try to stay out of a lot of discussion about bond issues ... but in this particular case you have a repeat violent offender issue because this fellow had not been out of prison all that long and all of a sudden here he is stabbing a woman and presumptively attempting to murder a child in the process by means of fire,” Gmoser said. “So I am permitted at that point for bond purposes to say the evidence is serious and evidence is great and we are requesting no bond be issued because of the danger to society.”

According to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, Pride was released from prison on Aug. 9 after serving a sentence for burglary and aggravated burglary.