Top Miami County stories of 2021: Police trial, school drama, Troy history

TROY — The top news stories of 2021 in Miami County hit many topics — the trial and conviction of a former West Milton police officer, a drive by Tipp City residents to remove two school board members, and outrage over a camera found hidden in a Miami County human resources office.

Ex-cop sentenced for child rape

Kevin Wright, a former West Milton police officer, was indicted in 2020 on three felony counts of rape of a girl under age 13. A jury heard the case in Miami County Common Pleas Court in April and found him guilty.

Judge Stacy Wall ordered him to serve 10 years to life in prison, consecutively, on each charge. Wright has appealed the conviction and sentence to Ohio’s 2nd District Court of Appeals.

» More: Former West Milton officer gets life sentence for rape

Tipp City school board removal controversy

A group of concerned citizens in the Tipp City Exempted Village School District called for the board’s president and vice president to resign for several months.

The group collected more than 1,500 signatures seeking removal of Theresa Dunaway and Anne Zakkour, filing those petitions in December in county Common Pleas Court. Both board members have denied any wrongdoing and have refused to resign.

» More: Court petitions filed seeking removal of board members

Troy 1840s building center of development dispute

The owner of a downtown Troy building that has portions dating to the 1840s wants to demolish the structure, saying repair is not feasible after it was damaged by a 2020 tornado.

The non-profit Troy Historic Preservation Alliance disagrees and has gone from protesting outside the building to filing an appeal in Common Pleas Court of the city’s approval of demolition.

» More: Group asks judge to intervene in demolition case

Concealed camera leads to investigation

No criminal charges were filed after a hidden surveillance camera was found in the wall of a Miami County Safety Building human resources office.

County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell called the case “a despicable display of corruption and misuse of power.”

» More: Investigation into hidden camera closed weeks later

Troy police officer fired over excessive use of force

Troy Police Officer Eric Kilbourne was fired by the city in June following an investigation into a use of force incident when a man was being arrested for domestic violence.

Kilbourne subsequently was indicted by a Miami County grand jury on two misdemeanor counts. The case was resolved this fall with a provisional plea and participation in a diversion program.

» More: Former Troy police officer takes plea deal

Troy gets its DORA

After initially voting down a proposed Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area for downtown, Troy City Council changed its mind and voted in early 2021 to support the concept.

Not everyone agreed the DORA would be good for the community. A group of residents circulated petitions and collected enough valid signatures to place a referendum on the council vote on the November ballot. When the election was over, DORA was approved, with the district activated in late November.

» More: Details of Troy DORA ballot issue

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