Area roundup

Murder charge against fugitive

From staff reports

A murder charge has been filed in connection to a body found burning along a road in Morgan County last month.

Shaquille Davis, 19, of Zanesville, has been charged in Muskingum County with aggravated murder with a gun specification for the death of 24-year-old Phillip Lawrence Kimbro Jr.

Kimbro’s body was found July 25 along County Road 15, between Ohio 555 and Hambel Road, by a tree trimming crew. He was identified through a fingerprint match, according to The Associated Press.

Morgan County Prosecutor Mike Haddox announced last week that the Zanesville Police Department would be acting as the lead investigative agency in the case, shifting the focus of the murder investigation into Muskingum County.

Haddox would not comment on whether Kimbro was living in Muskingum County at the time of death.

According to The Associated Press, Kimbro’s last known address, dating from 2011, was in Lorain and Kimbro listed Zanesville as his hometown on his Facebook page.

Davis, who has yet to be apprehended, should be considered armed and dangerous, according to the Zanesville Police Department.

Driver hurt; car found in river

From staff reports

A man who drove into the Ohio River late Monday night was life-flighted to Grant Medical Center in Columbus.

Ronald D. Welch Jr., 43, of 209 Fearing St., was driving eastbound on Virginia Street in a 2003 Ford Mustang belonging to the vehicle’s passenger, Victor Thompson, when he traveled off the right side of the road and into the river.

According to the Marietta Police Department, the vehicle was found with its front tires in the Ohio River.

Welch was flown by medical helicopter to Grant Medical Center. His condition was not available from Grant Medical Center Tuesday evening.

Thompson was transported to Marietta Memorial Hospital. Jennifer Offenberger, director of marketing and public relations for the Memorial Health System, said Tuesday evening that Thompson was no longer at MMH, but said she could not elaborate on whether he was released or transported.

Police believe alcohol was a contributing factor in the case, said Marietta Police Capt. Jeff Waite.

Charges will depend on the results of blood work, said Waite.

Murder trial delayed to Sept. 9

From staff reports

The murder trial for 28-year-old Ira D. Blair, originally slated for Tuesday, has been continued until Sept. 9.

Blair, of 139 Groves Ave., is charged with the April 2 beating death of 68-year-old Frank B. Stephens, of Marietta.

Blair’s murder trial was continued at the request of defense attorney Rolf Baumgartel, who filed a motion Friday requesting “time…to negotiate and prepare said case.” Blair is also slated to go to trial Sept. 9 for a fourth-degree felony charge of burglary for allegedly breaking into a Third Street residence and business on the day Stephens’ body was discovered at Blair’s residence.

Blair was found asleep and bleeding into pillows in an upstairs bedroom at 423 Third St. by David Martin, the building’s owner.

Blair was also indicted on an unrelated fourth-degree felony charge of drug trafficking for allegedly selling heroin to a confidential informant on March 19.

The drug charge will not likely be combined because it is unrelated, said Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.