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Judge issues 'gag order' for triple homicide case

Matt Westerhold • Sep 26, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone issued a "pretrial and trial publicity" order Tuesday, barring anyone associated with the arrest and trial of Curtis Clinton from talking about the case outside the courtroom. 

Clinton, 41, is accused in the violent rape of a 17-year-old girl Sept. 2 and killing Heather Jackson, 23, and her two children, Celina, 3, and Wayne, 20 months, on Sept. 8. 

Clinton, who was released from state prison in February after serving 13 years for the 1997 slaying of teenager Misty Keckler of Fostoria, was arrested Sept. 10 and charged with three counts of aggravated murder, rape and other felony counts. He is being held at the Erie County Jail.

Tone's order mirrors a similar order he issued after the arrest of Kevin D. Randleman last year. Randleman, who killed Sandusky police officer Andrew Dunn in March 2011, was convicted in a plea bargain and sentenced to life in prison without parole last month.

Commonly referred to as a "gag order," the ban prohibiting attorneys, police investigators, witnesses and others from talking about the case outside the courtroom is designed to assure a defendent can obtain a fair trial.

"The court finds that there is a liklihood that extrajudicial statements made by (trial participants) could disrupt the process by which a fair trial must be preserved," the order states. 

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