Six children have been caught up in the latest case of what police allege is a murder involving family members in Warren County.
Christopher Timmons, 35, remains in the county jail, charged last week with murder in the fatal shooting of Darlene Yocum, 32, on Aug. 4 at their home while five children were there.
A search warrant reviewed by this news organization in response to the indictment provided a vivid picture of what happened when crews responded to the incident.
“Upon arrival of the Hamilton Township Police Officers, several children were observed exiting the residence with blood on their persons and clothing,” an officer wrote in the search-warrant affidavit.
Authorities declined to comment or did not respond to questions about whether the children, including one not home at the time of the shooting, were with family or in foster care.
A list released Sept. 3 showed Timmons — already charged with reckless homicide, felonious assault and child endangering — was also indicted on a murder charge. He faces 15 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.
Timmons allegedly shot Yocum, with whom he was living, after returning home from three days away from home, methamphetamine in his system, according to Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell.
The search warrant, sought to scan a witness’ phone, said Timmons’ sister talked to him before the shooting and learned Timmons was using meth and “believed that the victim had hired a hitman to murder” him.
“This communication was then relayed to the victim via text message,” according to the affidavit.
Fornshell said Timmons had meth in his system but discounted the possibility that someone had been hired to kill him.
“There’s not been any evidence of that,” Fornshell said.
During the incident in the home’s kitchen, two shots were fired, including one close to Yocum’s neck, Fornshell said.
First responders who helped the children were honored at a Hamilton Twp. trustees meeting for going beyond the call of duty to care for the children.
“What I witnessed … was so extraordinary, I felt the Warren County community, and particularly the residents of Hamilton Township, needed to get a glimpse into the caliber of the professionals who respond to these types of incidents,” Fornshell said in a text message after the incident.
The prosecutor declined to elaborate on this or other evidence and predicted the case would come down to whether evidence showed Timmons intended to kill Yocum or she died due to his recklessness.
Timmons’ lawyer, Glen Rossi, appointed on Thursday, declined to comment.
Hamilton Twp. was the location of another case of deadly domestic violence last September. In September 2016, David Garrett shot and killed his ex-wife, Traci Fletcher-Garrett, in the yard of her home next to Little Miami High School before fatally shooting himself.
They were among six victims of fatal domestic violence in Warren County in a string of incidents beginning in July 2016, all but one of which left children without their parents.
And Christopher Kirby, 38, of South Lebanon, faces the death penalty in a trial to begin in October on charges he beat his sister to death and severely injured her husband last September after they blocked his efforts to get money from them to buy drugs. In that case, an 8-year-old boy made the 911 call.