Prosecutor to seek death penalty in Dayton triple shooting case

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Triple slaying suspect appears in court. His children claim he has mental illness.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Three people are dead in a Dayton triple shooting and a 61-year-old man remains jailed as the primary suspect:

  • Muhammad Shabazz Ali has formal charges filed against him
  • He's accused of shooting the victims after a mental evaluation
  • Police: The shooting was not believed to be random
  • Ali has spent time in prison for two homicides

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UPDATE@4:35 p.m. (Aug. 23):

The Montgomery County prosecutor will seek the death penalty in the triple shooting case against Ali, officials announced in a release Tuesday.

A panel of assistant prosecutors assigned to the Violent Crimes Bureau of the Prosecutor’s Office met with homicide investigators from the Dayton Police Department shortly after the

Ali’s arrest on Aug 12 and approved initial charges in a complaint filed in the Dayton Municipal Court, the release said.

But after review of additional investigation into the facts and circumstances of the homicides, an amended complaint was filed Tuesday with additional charges as well as specifications that will allow the Montgomery County Grand Jury to consider indicting the suspect on counts with death penalty specifications.

The case will be presented to the Montgomery County Grand Jury at a later date, as Ali is being held on a $1 million bond.

UPDATE @ 3:07 p.m. (Aug. 15):

A Dayton Municipal Court judge entered a not guilty plea and set bond at $1 million for Muhammad Shabazz Ali.

Two of Ali’s children talked to News Center 7’s Mike Campbell, and claim their father has mental health issues and needed his medications.

UPDATE @ 4:26 p.m. (Aug. 12):

Over 20 charges have been approved against Muhammad Shabazz Ali, including 10 counts of murder.

UPDATE @ 6:05 p.m. (Aug. 11):

Dayton police are expected to present their case against Muhammad Shabazz Ali to a Montgomery County Prosecutor’s panel on Friday morning.

Meantime, homicide detectives are continuing their investigation to determine the relationship between Ali and his victims.

The Dayton Police Department is asking anyone who has additional information about this crime to call 333-COPS (2677) or Crime Stoppers at 222-STOP (7867). Callers may remain anonymous.


Muhammad Shabazz Ali was arrested not long after police said he shot and killed 74-year-old Jasper Taylor, 53-year-old Tammy Cox and 25-year-old Michael Cox inside 35 Oxford Ave. just after 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Police took Ali into custody — he is in the Montgomery County Jail pending the formal filing of a murder charge — following a short pursuit of approximately 5 minutes that meandered through the city’s west side and ended in the area of Paul Laurence Dunbar Street and Germantown Pike.

A neighbor on Oxford Avenue said he heard nine to 10 gunshots and saw a man “casually” walk out of the residence and get into a white Chevrolet pickup truck and speed away.

Tammy Cox and Taylor died at the house, according to police and the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office. Michael Cox died later at a hospital, according to the coroner’s office.

We’ve learned that prior to Wednesday’s shooting, Ali was admitted to a local hospital for a mental evaluation and was released. The shooting occurred a few hours later, according to our sources.

A 9-1-1 recording reveals that police were called to Day-Mont Behavioral Health Center, 1520 Germantown St., on a report that Ali was being unruly. He was in the lobby — throwing chairs and pulling things off the walls, cursing and screaming, the caller told the 9-1-1 dispatcher.

A man could be heard in the background, yelling, “I want my medication!” as the staff tried to keep him under control. The caller told the dispatcher that Ali didn’t seem to be intoxicated and did not have a weapon.

We’ve also learned that Ali served 20 years in prison for two homicides — that of a woman and her unborn child. He was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1988 when he was known as Robert Ford. The conviction was in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.

Ford was incarcerated from September 1988 until his release on parole in January 2009, according to an Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction official. Ford was released from parole in January 2010 and had changed his name by the time he was released, the official said.

The youngest victim from Wednesday’s triple homicide, Michael Cox, was released July 4 after serving a four-year sentence for aggravated robbery and felonious assault. He pleaded guilty in January 2013 in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and was sentenced to the Correctional Reception Center.

In January 2014, Michael Cox asked Judge Mary Wiseman for an early judicial release. In his request, he wrote that he would “live an honest, law abiding, hard-working, successful, productive, contributing life.”

Cox also wrote that he would take advantage of prison programming: He planned to attend Sinclair Community College. He had a job lined up. He wrote that he missed his daughter, who was a year old then, and was going to live with his mother.

Wiseman denied Cox’s request.