TRENTON, Ohio -- Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones announced Tuesday that James Geran, who killed his girlfriend's mother and shot himself at the end of a two-hour standoff with Trenton SWAT officers, now faces murder charges in connection to the deaths of two women: The mother, 63-year-old Sharon McCleary, and a 27-year-old "business partner" named Maegan Motter.
Police discovered Motter's body on a Madison Township driveway in the early hours of June 13, according to Jones. He said Motter was a known criminal associate of Geran's, and deputies' investigation into her death led them to the apartment where Geran, girlfriend Gina McCleary, her sister and her mother were staying.
McCleary's sister fled immediately when authorities arrived, but Geran kept the other two women inside the apartment for two hours. At the end of hostage negotiations, Geran agreed to release his girlfriend and come outside.
He did the former right away. Gina McCleary left the apartment running, according to Jones, and sheltered behind an armored car outside.
Two gunshots later, he managed the latter, crawling out the door with a self-inflicted bullet wound in his skull and a dead woman inside the apartment. He was bleeding and missing teeth, but alive and speaking as authorities loaded him into an ambulance.
Gina McCleary insisted after the standoff that her mother's death was an accident and that they had not really been held hostage.
"I don't believe he did it on purpose," she said the following day. "I would never, ever ever believe he did, and I'm going to keep my feelings that way until I find out what happened."
Jones, in a news release announcing the formal filing of charges against Geran, characterized him much differently.
"It feels good knowing that the guy who can allegedly kill two people with accuracy but miss when he tries to take his own life is behind bars where he cannot hurt anyone else," he said in a news release.
Geran will remain in the Butler County Correctional Complex’s medical unit as he receives treatment for his wound.
Anyone with additional information about either death should call the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division at 513-785-1251.