A ruling is expected next month about a taped conversation in which an armed robbery suspect is said to have apologized to a Miamisburg police officer for “terrorizing his citizens” during a volatile scene that drew multiple law enforcement agencies.
Police say Charles Ashford of Dayton made an apology as he was booked into jail after being wounded by an off-duty officer who authorities said thwarted an escape attempt by the 17-year-old after a Feb. 5 gas station robbery near the Ohio 725/I-675 interchange.
But Ashford’s attorney said an audio recording of the conversation in which the alleged apology occurred isn’t clear enough to determine what his client said.
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Miamisburg Officer Russell Green testified in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court on Friday that Ashford said he was sorry as the suspect was handcuffed and being processed at the jail.
“He said, ‘Officer Green, I’m sorry for terrorizing your citizens,’” Green told the court.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Gramza said he did not hear those words on the tape.
“What was actually said?” Gramza said. “It was something … (Green) says that’s where he remembers him apologizing.
“That one statement – I don’t think he says that. Or you can’t hear him say that. And that’s his testimony? But no. The tape is the best evidence.”
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Ashford, who has no criminal history and is now 18, is facing multiple charges and is being tried as an adult. The case before Judge Barbara Gorman is set to resume Nov. 28.
Not guilty pleas have been entered for Ashford on 10 counts after the Feb. 5 response by several law enforcement agencies to what a judge has called a life-threatening situation.
Authorities said Ashford robbed a Byers Road Shell station at gunpoint in the mid-afternoon on Feb. 5 and sought to flee by trying to carjack vehicles near the interstate. Off-duty Miami Twp. Officer James Swearingen wounded the teen in the arm after officials said Ashford failed to comply with his orders to drop a gun, records show.
A grand jury later cleared Swearingen of any wrongdoing, saying he acted lawfully.
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At the Miamisburg scene, a woman who identified herself as a Drug Enforcement Administration agent initially said in a 9-1-1 call it appeared a police officer had been shot, as Ashford claimed to be an undercover FBI agent, records show.
Also responding were Miamisburg police, the Miami Valley Fire District and two Jackson Twp. Police Department members, who said they happened to be in area en route to Centerville.
Ashford is being held in juvenile detention after a $500,000 bond was set.
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