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Man kills ‘business associate’ and then girlfriend’s mom in Butler County crime spree

A Butler County man killed his “business associate in criminal activity" and dumped her body on the side of the road before killing his girlfriend's mother during a standoff with police, according to the sheriff's office.

Three women were held hostage Wednesday morning by James Geran, a convicted felon who police say also killed a woman the night before.

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James Geran

Geran, 45, shot Megan Motter in the head, killing her, and dumped her body off Woodsdale Road in Madison Twp., according to Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones. The 27-year-old's body was found at about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 2000 block of Woodsdale Road.

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“She was murdered, dumped on the side of the road. Shot,” Jones said.

The investigation of Motter's death led deputies to an apartment in Trenton.

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When deputies knocked on the door of the Sal Boulevard apartment, Geran shot at them, according to Jones. Deputies returned fire, shooting about three rounds of bullets as they took cover, according to the sheriff.

Inside, Geran had three hostages: his 26-year-old girlfriend, Gina McCleary; her 27-year-old sister, Tammy Davis; and their mother, 63-year-old Sharon McCleary, Jones said. Over the course of about two hours, Geran continued to fire between five and eight times at the deputies outside, but negotiators were able to talk him into releasing the sisters.

061418 trenton standoff GateHouse (Robert Dibrell)

“We tossed a phone inside and communicated with him,” the sheriff said.

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Sheriff’s Office negotiators were eventually able to talk Geran out of the home.

“Said he was going to smoke a cigarette first,” Jones said.

However, when he let the second sister out, he immediately closed the door, the sheriff said.

“We tried to make entry at that time, then we heard gunfire,” Jones said.

Geran then crawled out, having shot himself in the chin with a .380 caliber gun, Jones said.

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"But he wasn't dead when he left. He was still communicating," Jones said.

An ambulance leaves the scene of a two-hour standoff in Trenton. (NICK GRAHAM/STAFF)

Inside, deputies found Sharon McCleary dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

Geran was taken into custody and transported to Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, where he is expected to live, according to Jones.

Jones said no charges have been filed, but his office is working with the prosecutor's office.

"We should have charges soon," he said.

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The investigation is ongoing, and Jones said authorities were working three crime scenes: the Trenton apartment; the site where Motter's body was found; and a car, which may have been where Motter was killed, that was parked outside the Trenton apartment.

Authorities are working three crime scenes: the Trenton apartment; the site where Motter's body was found; and a car, which may have been where Motter was killed, that was parked outside the Trenton apartment. (NICK GRAHAM/STAFF)

Investigators believe they may have a motive, but Jones declined to say what that motive is. The sheriff described Motter as a business associate of Geran. He said that business is "criminal activity," but declined to elaborate.

Motter, whose first name is also spelled Meagan in court records, had a criminal record that included traffic violations, a drug charge and a falsification charge.

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Geran was scheduled to be in Middletown Municipal Court on Wednesday for previous charges.

Geran was cited in May for a turn signal violation and was scheduled to appear in court at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday for the traffic violation.

He was previously charged with improper use of a firearm in a motor vehicle, but that charged was ignored by a grand jury, according to court records.

He was convicted in 1994 of robbery and gross sexual imposition and sent to prison, according to court records. Geran was released from prison in March 2016, according to the sheriff’s office.

Geran has a listed address in court records of Golfview Road in Middletown.

WCPO, a news partner of the Journal-News, contributed to this report.

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