Accused Warren County killer had been told to move out before sister’s killing

Christopher Kirby had more than missing money problems with the adoptive sister he is alleged to have murdered in September 2017, according to testimony on Tuesday in Kirby’s capital murder trial.

Deborah Power, 63, told her adoptive brother he and his wife would have to move out of the South Lebanon home where he is alleged to have beaten her to death in September 2017, Greg Kirby testified in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

“Debbie told them they had to leave. The kids could stay,” Greg Kirby, another relative living in the home on South Broadway, said.

Christopher Kirby, 38, is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery, murder, felonious assault, grand theft and tampering with evidence.

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In April, his wife, Jacqueline “Jackie” Kirby, 31, was sentenced to three years probation for receiving stolen property and misuse of credit cards and ordered her to enter the Women’s Recovery Center, an outpatient substance abuse program in Xenia.

On Tuesday, Christopher Kirby’s son, Nathan, now 10, testified about calling 9-1-1 after a hearing-impaired relative also living in the home on South Broadway found the surviving victim, bleeding badly from his head.

The survivor, Ronnie Power, 66, then took the stand to confirm Christopher Kirby and his wife were being told to move out after money withdrawn from the family’s bank account left them overdrawn.

“My wife and I had discussed having them move. We didn’t want any more stolen stuff coming up,” Power testified.

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Kevin Power, the hearing-impaired relative who initially found his father, Ronnie Power, testified through interpreters and recalled how his grandmother had passed away in recent years, leaving the crowded household in disarray and with growing tension.

He testified some of the tension came after tools and money, “many little things,” were missing.

“That and money problems. They wanted more money for drugs,” he testified through an interpreter.

On Sept. 15, 2017, he testified that he came down - after feeling someone had used the front door - to find his father with a head injury and enlisted the younger Kirby to call 9-1-1.

Kevin Power testified Christopher Kirby “would go out, come back and use drugs,” sometimes using his car. He also acknowledged he and others living there had problems with “pain pills” and heroin. Greg Kirby also testified about battling drug problems.

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Nathan Kirby said he and his 9-year-old sister were now living with relatives in Mississippi. He testified he and his sister had shared a bedroom with his mother and father at the home in South Lebanon.

Over objections by the defense, he testified about a taped belt his father used for punishment and had him sign.

He said he was watching “Family Guy” when he was called downstairs to call 9-1-1.

Ronnie Power said he met Deborah Power when they were in school in Middletown and how they married after meeting again in Middletown after he returned from the U.S. Navy.

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“We started dancing. We got married in February of 1974,” he said.

He recalled Deborah’s love for animals and one-time ownership of about 300 rabbits.

He testified they rented before buying the South Lebanon home and listed 13 people who eventually lived there.

He remembered drinking beers with a neighbor before going home on Sept. 15, 2017, but little about his beating.

“I think it was real close to Thanksgiving” when he awoke in Dayton hospital and pressed a doctor to tell him his wife was dead, Ronnie Power testified Tuesday.

The trial is expected to continue into next week.

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