Ohio headlines

COLUMBUS

Man exonerated in ’80s slayings

A judge has finally cleared the name of an Ohio man who spent more than five years on death row for a pair of slayings he didn’t commit.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that the ruling by a Franklin County Common Pleas Judge on Wednesday declared Dale Johnston innocent in the 1982 slayings and clears the way for him to seek compensation from the state.

Johnston was sentenced to die in 1984 for the shooting deaths of his teenage stepdaughter and her fiance. Their bodies were cut up and buried in a cornfield and thrown into the Hocking River in southeastern Ohio. The shaky case against him toppled on appeal, and he was freed in 1990.

Another man confessed in 2008 to slaughtering the couple.

CLEVELAND

Former labor leader admits to taking bribes

A former Ohio labor leader could spend up to six years in prison after pleading guilty in federal court to soliciting and receiving bribes.

The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reports that Robert Peto pleaded guilty Wednesday to six charges of soliciting and receiving bribes from an electrical contractor and an investment broker.

The 58-year-old Peto served on the board of directors of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority for eight years before resigning in August. He also served as an officer in the Ohio and Vicinity Regional Council of Carpenters before being removed in 2011.

Peto also pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy, plus tampering with a witness and using his position as a public official to illegally obtain property in return for an official act.

OREGON

9 students shaken up in school bus wreck

Nine high school students near Toledo have been taken to a hospital with bumps and bruises after a morning school bus accident.

The fire chief in suburban Oregon says none of the injuries are life threatening.

The accident happened Thursday morning when the bus and a car collided.

Fire Chief Ed Ellis says the car may have crossed the center line before the crash.

Twenty-nine students were on the bus along with a driver.

COLUMBUS

Woman charged in 2 shootings

A 41-year-old woman has been charged in shootings that left a man dead and a woman injured on the city’s south side.

Police say Mary L. Page was arrested hours after the shooting at her apartment, located around the corner from where 39-year-old Marcus Leonard was fatally wounded at about 6 p.m. Tuesday. The woman at whose apartment Leonard was staying temporarily, 59-year-old Theresa Cooper, is in serious condition at Grant Medical Center.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that Page has been charged with one count of murder, but that police are searching for others who were involved in the shootings. She is being held at Franklin County jail and is to appear in municipal court on Thursday.

BRIDGEPORT

Neighbors carry woman from burning home

Quick-thinking neighbors banded together to save a 103-year-old woman from her burning eastern Ohio home.

It happened Wednesday night when the garage caught fire at a home near Bridgeport. WTOV-TV reports that neighbors went into the home and helped the frail woman to safety.

The woman’s daughter told the television station that the entire garage was engulfed before they noticed the home was on fire. She was scrambling to get her mother outside when neighbors came to the rescue. About eight of them helped get her clear of the house.

The cause of the fire has not been determined. Bridgeport is about 125 miles east of Columbus, on the Ohio River.

MANSFIELD

Man gets prison in bath salts case

A northern Ohio man is going to prison for at least three years for distributing the synthetic drug known as bath salts.

Ahmad Fares pleaded guilty in September to possession of drugs and other charges. The 27-year-old was sentenced Wednesday in Mansfield.

The Mansfield News Journal reports that the charges stemmed from the seizure of 5,300 containers of bath salts with a street value of $212,000. Before bath salts were banned, Fares sold them at his drive-through business.

Fares apologized to the community and his family in court.

Bath salts are crystalized chemicals that are snorted, swallowed or smoked. They can cause paranoia and hallucination, and their use has led to hundreds of calls to poison centers nationwide. Ohio lawmakers made them illegal in 2011.

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