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This Hour: Latest Ohio news, sports, business and entertainment

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Ohio woman gets 32 years in forced labor case

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - Prosecutors say an Ohio woman has been sentenced to 32 years in federal prison for enslaving a mentally disabled woman through threats and intimidation.

A judge in Youngstown sentenced 33-year-old Jessica Hunt on Thursday. Messages were left for her attorneys.

A jury convicted Hunt and her boyfriend of forced labor, conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and conspiracy to illegally obtain prescription drugs.

Twenty-eight-year-old Jordie Callahan was sentenced Tuesday to 30 years in prison. The couple lived in Ashland, about 70 miles southwest of Cleveland.

Prosecutors say they kept the woman and her young daughter captive for nearly two years and threatened to harm the girl if the woman refused to do chores.

The couple's attorneys have been seeking a new trial and argued the government's trial witnesses were unreliable.


Ohio State marching band director fired

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State University has fired the director of its celebrated marching band amid allegations he knew about and ignored "serious cultural issues" including sexual harassment.

Jonathan Waters had led the band since 2012, and served in lesser capacities for a decade. His popular halftime shows drew millions of viewers on YouTube. The Columbus Dispatch first reported his firing.

Fledgling university President Michael Drake on Thursday released details of a two-month investigation found Waters knew about and failed to correct a "sexualized" culture where students were pressured to march in their underwear and earn sexually-explicit nicknames with performances.

Messages were left with Waters seeking comment.

Drake said the band season will continue as the search for a new director begins. Former Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery will lead a full review.


Arizona prison chief says execution wasn't botched

PHOENIX (AP) - Arizona's prisons chief says Wednesday's nearly two-hour execution of a murderer was not botched and the inmate was never in pain.

Department of Corrections Director Charles Ryan read a statement outside his office Thursday amid outcry over the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood.

He dismissed what he called a "premature and erroneous conclusion" that it was a botched execution. He called that portrayal "pure conjecture."

He also said the IV lines were perfectly placed in Wood's arm and there were no complications.

A review of the execution is still underway, and Ryan says the Arizona attorney general's office will not seek any death warrants until it's completed.


More tests planned after Ohio concertgoer's death

LORAIN, Ohio (AP) - A coroner's office say further tests and investigation are needed to determine what caused the death of an Ohio concertgoer found at a Lorain County landfill.

The Lorain County Coroner's Office said Thursday that the autopsy is complete for 22-year-old Cory Barron of Fremont. But coroner's officials say they expect the investigation into his death to take over a month to complete.

Cleveland police say Barron may have fallen down a five- or six-story garbage chute at Progressive Field in Cleveland and landed in a large waste container.

Barron went missing Friday night while attending a Jason Aldean concert at the Cleveland Indians' home stadium. A worker spotted his body Monday after a garbage truck emptied its load in a landfill near Oberlin, about 35 miles west of Cleveland.


Judge argues for return of firing squad executions

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - An influential federal appeals court judge says the nation's third lethal injection execution in six months to go awry underscores his call to bring back firing squads.

In an interview Thursday, 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said lethal injection was a dishonest attempt to disguise the brutal nature of capital punishment.

Kozinski first wrote of his distaste for lethal injection on Monday even while arguing against delaying the execution of Joseph Rudolph Wood III in Phoenix. Wood gasped for breath for 90-minutes and took nearly two hours to die Wednesday after receiving a lethal injection for killing his estranged girlfriend and her father.

Kozinski said properly trained firing squads are a foolproof" way to quickly execute an inmate and avoid complications surrounding lethal injection.


Suit over Ohio police shooting of teen dismissed

CINCINNATI (AP) - A lawsuit alleging a police officer used excessive force when he fatally shot a teenager in a struggle in downtown Cincinnati has been dismissed.

The lawsuit filed by Davon Mullins' family against officer Oscar Cyranek was dismissed this week in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati. A judge determined Cyranek acted reasonably in self-defense when he shot the 16-year-old Cincinnati boy in August 2011.

Police say the teen had drawn a 9mm handgun and put his finger on the trigger.

The lawsuit contended Mullins had been disarmed and was on the ground when the officer shot him. The Hamilton County prosecutor and a police board cleared Cyranek of any wrongdoing.

Attorney Benjamin Maraan (muh-RAN') says the family plans to appeal the ruling to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.


Ex-Ohio tax official pleads guilty in refund case

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A former top official at the Ohio Department of Taxation has pleaded guilty to a dereliction of duty charge in a case involving more than $30 million in business tax refunds wrongly withheld from companies that had properly requested the money.

Rick Anthony served as Ohio's deputy tax commissioner. Inspector General Randall Meyer said Thursday that Anthony entered the plea this week in Franklin County Municipal Court.

An investigation that Meyer's office released in November found Anthony was aware of the problem with the refunds. Investigators found he marked numerous tax refunds that had been requested and approved as "pending," causing them never to be physically paid.

The case prompted a new state law requiring that taxpayers be notified of overpayments and granted either refunds or credit toward future taxes.


Judge's removal requested in NE Ohio murder case

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - Prosecutors in Akron have asked the Ohio Supreme Court to remove the judge slated to preside over the aggravated murder trial of a man charged in the drug-related slayings of four people.

Summit County prosecutors say Judge Mary Margaret Rowlands improperly asked prosecutors to drop death penalty specifications in Deshanon Haywood's trial. They didn't do so.

Prosecutors wrote in their motion that Rowlands wanted to spare the expense of a lengthy death penalty trial. Prosecutors argue Rowlands' request breaches judicial canons.

Rowlands declined to comment. Her office issued a statement that says she will file a response with the Supreme Court.

Haywood pleaded not guilty on multiple charges of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and kidnapping after four people were shot in the head. Police say the slayings were heroin-related.


Court throws out Chiquita terror payment claims

MIAMI (AP) - A divided federal appeals court has thrown out claims against produce giant Chiquita Brands International made by thousands of Colombians killed during years of bloody civil war.

A panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that federal courts have no jurisdiction over the Colombian claims. The lawsuits accused Chiquita of assisting in the killings by paying $1.7 million to a right-wing paramilitary group. Chiquita formerly operated large banana plantations in Colombia.

The majority cited a 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling imposing limits on attempts by foreigners to use U.S. courts to seek damages for human rights abuses abroad.

Chiquita praised the ruling in a written statement. Attorneys for the estimated 4,000 Colombians may ask the full 11th Circuit or the Supreme Court to consider the case.


Prosecutors seek to extradite former Ohio official

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Federal prosecutors have asked a judge to start the process of extraditing a former Ohio deputy treasurer from Pakistan.

Amer Ahmad (ah-MEER' ah-MED') is facing 15 years in prison for bribery and conspiracy. In December, he pleaded guilty in Columbus federal court to charges in an alleged kickback scheme at the Ohio treasurer's office. Ahmad, a Chicago resident, surrendered his passport while awaiting sentencing.

But in April, the 39-year-old Ahmad was arrested in Pakistan after attempting to enter the country using fake documents. He remains in Pakistani custody.

The U.S. attorney's office on Wednesday requested to begin Ahmad's extradition. Ahmad's attorney says he wasn't surprised by the government's effort.

Ahmad worked for two Ohio treasurers, Democrats Richard Cordray and Kevin Boyce. Then he was comptroller under Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.


Band booster club ex-treasurer charged with theft

NEWARK, Ohio (AP) - Authorities say a former booster club treasurer accused of stealing about $67,000 meant for a central Ohio high school band has been indicted for theft.

Attorney General Mike DeWine says 51-year-old Ernest T. Bowers, of Pataskala, was indicted Thursday by a Licking County grand jury in Newark on one felony count of theft.

Court records don't list an attorney for Bowers. A message left at a home phone listing for Bowers wasn't immediately returned Thursday.

Investigators say the money intended for the Watkins Memorial High School Band was used for personal trips, adult entertainment, gas and food. Authorities say the money also was used for personal cellphones, cable services and family members' education expenses.

The attorney general's statement says Bowers allegedly stole the money over a four-year period.


Lawmakers seek help for Ohio uranium plant cleanup

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio's two U.S. senators and several congressional representatives are asking the U.S. Department of Energy to take action to forestall up to 675 potential layoffs for workers decontaminating and decommissioning a Cold War-era uranium plant.

Layoffs are expected to begin in October for some workers cleaning up the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, roughly 60 miles south of Columbus.

In a letter Thursday, the lawmakers said they're working to address a projected funding shortfall through the legislative process. They asked that the department overseeing the cleanup support that effort through advocacy with President Barack Obama's administration and other lawmakers.

The letter was sent ahead of a Thursday public meeting planned by local officials in Pike County and surrounding areas to discuss the situation.

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