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Trenton hostage suspect pleads not guilty in women's murders

Posted at 9:30 PM, Jul 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-10 00:26:33-04

HAMILTON, Ohio -- James Geran's jaw was wired shut Monday as he appeared in Butler County Common Pleas Court to plead not guilty to charges of murder, felonious assault, improperly discharging a firearm and having weapons under disability.

Still healing from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, he communicated with the judge by nodding and mumbling.

According to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, Geran engaged Butler County authorities in a two-hour hostage standoff after they discovered the body of Maegan Motter, a known "business associate," abandoned on the side of a road in Madison Township.

One of his former hostages, girlfriend Gina McCleary, watched Geran's arraignment from the first row. Police believe he shot and killed the other -- her 63-year-old mother, Sharon McCleary, who was discovered dead inside the home -- at the culmination of the standoff before turning the gun on himself. 

He was injured but talking when emergency responders loaded him into an ambulance.

"What happened was in no way justified," Gina McCleary, who previously defended Geran, told the Journal-News. "I still have not been about to speak to him, so I am still just kind of on the fence about how I feel completely. I am just taking it one day at a time right now."

Geran wore a lime green Butler County Jail jumpsuit, which is typically indicative of an inmate on suicide watch, to court Monday. He will continue to be held on a $4 million bond until his next court appearance July 26.

The Journal-News is a news partner of WCPO.