Prosecutor: Teen accused of murder should be tried as adult

Raymond Zimmerman, 17, fled from Springfield hospital parking lot

KEY POINTS

  • Raymond Zimmerman, 17, was recaptured Saturday in Fairborn
  • He escaped custody around 9 p.m. Friday outside a Springfield hospital
  • He is accused of murder in his uncle’s Jan. 14 shooting death on Haddix Road
  • He complained about ankle pain as an escape plan, chief deputy says
  • He forced a 70-year-old Springfield woman to drive him to Fairborn

Update (Jan. 26)@2:30 p.m.:

The teen charged in connection with the death of his uncle in Clark County now faces more charges after he fled from law enforcement over the weekend.

Prosecutors said Monday they want Raymond Zimmerman, 17, to be tried in adult court because of the seriousness of the crimes he’s accused of committing.

Zimmerman has been charged as a juvenile with delinquent acts of escape, kidnapping, aggravated burglary and felony theft, according to information from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.

He was read those charges in Juvenile Court this afternoon.

Zimmerman appeared without his lawyer or any legal guardians present, and did not enter a plea on any of the charges.

Zimmerman previously was charged as a juvenile with a delinquent act of murder in connection with the Jan. 14 shooting death of his uncle, William Henson, in Henson’s Haddix Road home in Mad River Twp.

He will have a pre-trial hearing in Juvenile Court Tuesday morning on all five charges he now faces.

The teen homicide suspect is accused of escaping from Clark County Juvenile Detention Center workers outside Springfield Regional Medical Center on Friday night and holding a 70-year-old Springfield woman hostage at knife-point. He was recaptured Saturday morning in Fairborn, according to Clark County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Doyle Wright.

The teen fled from the outside of the hospital after he was taken to the emergency room on complaints of ankle pain, Wright said. Handcuffs were taken off of his left wrist so he could use crutches when he darted from the detention center workers, he said.

A probable cause hearing will need to be held on the prosecution’s motion to move all five charges to adult court.

First Take (Jan. 24):

Raymond Zimmerman — charged as a juvenile in the Jan. 14 shooting death of his uncle, William Henson, in Henson’s Haddix Road home in Mad River Twp. — was still wearing handcuffs dangling form his right wrist but was unarmed when he was apprehended without incident shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday in the 300 block of East Emerson Avenue in Fairborn.

Zimmerman abducted the unidentified 70-year-old woman and forced her to drive him to Fairborn Saturday morning, then released her. At some point during the ordeal, the woman was pushed down and suffered an abrasion before driving herself back to Springfield, Wright said. She was treated at Springfield Regional Medical Center for the injury not considered life-threatening.

Fairborn police received tips that Zimmerman was in an apartment complex on East Emerson Avenue and found him wandering through a hallway when they apprehended the escapee.

Zimmerman was apparently trying to visit his girlfriend in Fairborn and had been staying there before his arrest. Ana Rodriguez, who identified herself as the sister of Zimmerman’s girlfriend, said she saw Zimmerman as he was being led away by Fairborn police.

“He told me to tell my sister that he loves her,” Rodriguez said. “I think he was trying to see my sister for a last time, but he didn’t get to see her.”

Rodriguez said she has known Zimmerman for three years.

“Inside, he’s a really good guy,” she said. “He’s just making bad decisions for himself.”

Zimmerman has been charged with a delinquent act of murder in the shooting death of his uncle, an avid gun collector and who had hundreds of firearms in his home. Henson’s sister found the 59-year-old man dead in his home on Jan. 14. Zimmerman briefly lived with his uncle, according to a sheriff’s office report.

A second man, Robert V. Winbush, 18, of Fairborn, has been charged with aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary in connection with Henson’s slaying. Investigators spoke to witnesses who said Winbush and Zimmerman told them about the shooting, a sheriff’s report said.

While in custody at a Clark County juvenile detention facility, Zimmerman complained of ankle pain and was taken to the Springfield Regional emergency room at 8:50 p.m. Friday to be treated.

While exiting a juvenile-detention transport vehicle near the hospital’s emergency room entrance, workers removed handcuffs from Zimmerman’s left wrist so he could use crutches, Wright said. That’s when the 17-year-old took off, shoeless and wearing orange detention clothing, with the handcuffs still attached to his right wrist. The two employees were not able to catch him.

Wright said there’s “no doubt in my mind” that the ankle pain that Zimmerman claimed in order to seek treatment was part of an escape plan.

“I believe he plotted this,” the chief deputy said.

In the hours that followed, investigators believe Zimmerman was able to enter an apartment in the 400 block of West Columbia Street in Springfield belonging to a 70-year-0ld woman, whom he did not know, and may have spent the night there undetected, Wright said.

Zimmerman confronted her Saturday morning and forced her to drive him to Fairborn, the chief deputy said.

Wright said the woman “did the right thing. She cooperated.” She notified Springfield police — who had gone to her apartment after a landlord reported suspicious activity — what had happened upon returning to her residence.

“This could have turned out much worse than it did,” Wright said.

Zimmerman will face several additional felony charges — he already faces a delinquency murder charge — including kidnapping, auto theft, aggravated burglary and escape, Wright said. Prosecutors already had requested to try Zimmerman as an adult on the murder charge, and the transfer to adult court may be decided by a juvenile court judge later this week. If he also will be tried as an adult for the latest charges, Zimmerman “could very well spend life in prison,” Wright said.

Wright said he could not comment on whether procedures were followed during the transport of Zimmerman to the hospital.

“The Clark County Sheriff’s Office will work with the Juvenile Court Detention Center to ensure such escapes never occur in the future,” Wright said.

The chief deputy praised the combined efforts of the Fairborn and Springfield police departments and the sheriff’s office that led to the recapture of Zimmerman.

“This is a violent individual who is a danger to society and must remain in custody,” Wright said. “This could have turned out much worse than it did.”

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Staff writers Drew Simon and Malik Perkins contributed to this report.

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