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DeWine gets file

Jessica Cuffman • Jun 1, 2013 at 6:00 AM

The Ohio Attorney General's office received the official request Friday to investigate Jacob Limberios' death.

"The next step will be to assign a special prosecutor," said Dan Tierney, spokesman for the attorney general's office. "By the nature of it switching over, the special prosecutor will look over any materials that are currently in the investigative file."

That will mean a review of nearly 2,000 pages of documentation former special prosecutor Dean Henry compiled after taking over the investigation earlier this year. A new judge in the case, Dale Crawford, removed Henry from his role this week after citing a conflict of interest with Henry's representation of Sandusky County coroner John Wukie in an accompanying civil case.

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Jacob Limberios died of a single gunshot to the head on March 2, 2012, when he was at a York Township home. Three witnesses at the scene said he shot himself with his .357 Magnum, and without ever visiting the site, Wukie ruled the death an accidental suicide.

Sandusky County officials quickly closed the case, and refused to reopen it as a criminal investigation until after Jacob's parents, Mike and Shannon Limberios, had an independent forensic pathologist perform an initial autopsy.

Dr. Cyril Wecht ruled the death of homicide, citing a lack of stippling around the bullet's entry wound, which indicated the firearm was at least 18 inches from Jacob's head when it was fired. 

Henry later ordered a second autopsy through the Lucas County coroner's office. The results were startling.

Dr. Cynthia Beisser said Wecht incorrectly determined the entry wound was on the left side of Jacob's head — that in fact, the shot entered from the right side, a contradiction not only to Wecht's ruling, but to the evaluation of all first responders at the scene of the shooting that night.

Now, however, it will be up to an assistant prosecutor through Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office to determine how to move forward in the criminal investigation.

"Generally, when we investigate a case, we look at any possible crimes that could have occurred regarding the incident," Tierney said Friday.

As for what the exact scope of the investigation, the office will need to review Henry's original appointment to the case, issued by Sandusky County judges John Dewey and Barbara Anstead, who both have since recused themselves after protest from the Limberios family about their possible conflicts of interest.

Both judges interjected themselves without a court case to appoint Henry, and then issued a confusing ruling affirming the appointment after the Limberios family challenged it due to the conflicts it created. 

Neither judge has offered an explanation for their reasoning in the appointment without considering the conflicts. Dewey stepped down after the Limberios family filed a complaint with the Ohio Supreme Court, contending his involvement was unethical. He did not respond to the complaint or address the ethics question.  

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