UPDATE: Warren County man found guilty of murdering sister

UPDATE @ 4:23 p.m.

A 38-year-old South Lebanon man was found guilty on all but one charge filed against him in a capital murder trial in Warren County.

Christopher Kirby faces the death penalty in the mitigation phase of the trial, to begin Monday.

RELATED: Accused killer had been told to move out before sister’s killing

On Wednesday, a three-judge panel found him guilty of murdering his adoptive sister Deborah Power, 63, and attempting to murder her husband, Ronnie Power, 66, at the home the Kirbys and Powers shared with other family in South Lebanon. He was also found guilty of aggravated robbery, felonious assault, grand theft and theft.

The panel found Kirby not guilty of tampering with evidence in the case.

Kirby was found guilty of beating both Powers with a baseball bat in September 2017 after Deborah Power told him he and his wife would have to move out of the house. Evidence showed Deborah Power told the Kirbys to move out after Kirby overdrew their bank account to buy heroin.

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

It was the third day of the trial in court in Lebanon.


A Warren County detective spent most of this morning on the witness stand in the trial of a South Lebanon man facing the death penalty for the alleged murder of his adoptive sister and attempted murder of her husband in September 2017.

The prosecution and defense rested after the testimony of Detective Jay Henning during the third day of the trial of Christopher Kirby, 38, of Lebanon.

Most of the morning was spent watching video of Kirby’s statement in which he told Henning and another detective that he beat Deborah and Ronnie Power with a bat. They had told him that he and his wife would have to leave after he overdrew the family’s bank account.

“We didn’t have nowhere to go,” he told the detectives.

Kirby also admitted he and his wife traded a TV he took after the assaults for heroin.

Kirby said the violence came about after his expectations that he would be able to reimburse the Powers, who supported the household with Social Security payments, fell apart.

RELATED: Warren County brother could face death penalty in sister's killing

“Does Ohio have the death penalty? Can I ask for it?” Kirby asked after being served with murder, attempted murder and robbery charges.

Kirby said he was upset that Ronnie Power, now 66, struck his daughter and emphasized the limited role Kirby’s wife, Jacqueline, played in the crime.

“He hurt my little girl. I couldn’t take it anymore,” Kirby told the detectives.

No other evidence or testimony supported Kirby’s allegations. His lawyers did not question witnesses about this.

“Can Jackie go home?” Kirby asked at another point during the interview with detectives before making the incriminating statement. The detectives said it would help her case if he detailed their roles.

RELATED: Warren County trial begins with focus on drugs, poverty

“I’ll keep talking,” Kirby said, as he asked for another cigarette.

Henning also recounted other earlier versions of Kirby’s explanation for showing up in Ronnie Power’s pick-up at the University Hospital in West Chester where Power was taken by ambulance.

Henning said he was investigating a felonious assault report involving the beating of Ronnie Power when they found Deborah Power’s body in a locked room at the house.

RELATED: Wife gets probation as husband faces death penalty

“We had everybody back out,” Henning testified.

Most of the incident took place in a home in the line of a surveillance camera mounted at the sheriff’s office in South Lebanon.

Video of various locations where the Kirbys and Deborah Power went that day were also captured on video.

The lawyers were scheduled to begin their closing arguments in the afternoon.

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