Triple murder suspect has violent past

Curtis Clinton had no trouble with Sandusky police in the seven months since his release from prison - until Monday.
Emil Whitis
Sep 12, 2012

Curtis Clinton had no trouble with Sandusky police in the seven months since his release from prison — until Monday.

Sandusky police records show officers may have been unaware the 41-year-old convicted killer was living in this area.

Apart from his regular check-ins with the Erie County Sheriff’s Office, as he’s required to do as a registered sex offender, Clinton seemed to fly under the radar.

One week ago, a 17-year-old girl told Sandusky police Clinton had forcibly raped her at his Campbell Street apartment — the same apartment he used as his address in the sex offender registry.

On Monday, Sandusky police arrested him as the sole suspect in Saturday’s triple homicide on John Street.

It appears as if Clinton didn’t change much in the 13 years he spent in prison, locked behind bars on the maximum sentence for involuntary manslaughter and two assault charges, for which he was convicted in 1999.

He was originally charged with murder for the 1997 killing in Wood County of 18-year-old Misty Keckler, according to Toledo Blade stories during court proceedings at the time.

Keckler’s naked body was found in a bathtub, her feet and hands tied behind her back, according to court records.

Investigators later determined Keckler was killed before Clinton submerged her body in the bathtub.

His attorneys said she had died while the two were having consensual sex — Clinton had accidentally choked Keckler to death.

Sandusky police suspect Clinton strangled Heather Jackson, 23, and her two children, Celina, 3, and Wayne, 18 months.

Jackson’s body was found naked under a mattress. Autopsy results due this week may confirm investigators’ suspicions.

Police said there are no signs Jackson was sexually assaulted.

The autopsy report may provide further details on that, too.

In the Wood County killing, defense attorneys said there was no way to prove Clinton had deliberately killed Keckler, according to the Toledo Blade story. 

At the time, prosecutors said if the case had gone to trial, two of Clinton’s former girlfriends were prepared to testify that he choked them or was otherwise physically violent during sex, or when they refused to have sex with him.

In 1999, Clinton pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter.

He was also convicted of two counts of assault on a police officer after allegedly attacking jail guards when he was behind bars, awaiting trial for killing Keckler.

In a separate case — before he was ever indicted in Keckler’s death — Clinton pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual conduct with a minor  for an incident involving a 14-year-old girl.

He was 27 at the time.

For that crime, he was labeled a registered sex offender and sentenced to 16 months in prison, which he served while awaiting trial in Keckler’s death.

He was finally released from prison in February.

He immediately returned to Sandusky, the town where he grew up and  has family, assistant police Chief John Orzech said.

He registered his address within three days of his release, as required by Ohio law.

Until last week, he had had no run-ins with police.

Neighbors at his Campbell Street apartment, where Clinton rented a second-story unit, described him as a seemingly nice guy, although he had a penchant for using his white Cadillac to lure young girls.

One neighbor, asking to remain anonymous, called Clinton a “loner.”

He said Clinton would offer a smile and wave, but he never conversed much with other residents.

Downstairs neighbor Gene Eck, 51, agreed — he said Clinton always seemed too busy for more than an exchange of pleasantries.

Clinton’s mother, who identified herself as Mrs. Cole, said Clinton was a busy man. She said he held down three jobs, working at American Quality Stripping, the Thirsty Pony and Krunchie Pickle.

An unidentified bartender at the Thirsty Pony remembers Clinton as a “really nice guy.”

She said she was shocked when she heard he’d been charged with murder.

The bartender said a co-worker ran into Clinton a few days ago at the mall. Clinton made friendly small talk about getting fired and then walked off, the bartender said.

“It’s just crazy,” she said. 

Thirsty Pony owner Mike Sortino, on the other hand, couldn’t remember much about Clinton, who worked at the business for less than a month before he was fired.

Sortino wouldn’t say what Clinton did to get fired, and he refused to comment further.

“Nobody wants to be associated with something like this,” Sortino reasoned.

Meanwhile, Cole said her son is a “loving and caring son” incapable of killing someone.

She said she’s outraged by the allegations.

“I’m pissed off,” Cole said. “This whole situation is unexpected.”

Comments

Mother hen

Really Mrs. Cole incapable??? He has already killed one girl. Loving and caring I think not, more like sick and twisted. The first girl was unable to defend herself, so it was he who said it was during a sex act. If you read the articles it states Miss Keckler was hiding his 14yr old girlfriend, then states it was a sex act gone wrong. I call Bull sh** on this claim. It seems to me the justice system was confused as to the truth themselves. This man should of never gone free, and as for SPD and him flying under the radar, I hope the family files a civil suit. RIP sweet angels, my you all watch over this trial and make sure this monster gets whats coming to him.

commonsense

When SPD gets it absolutely right, we never know the outcome, because nothing happens following a quick arrest, or a guick best guess.  You can't know something that never happens.  One missed opportunity that may have prevented three deaths, is hindsight, which is always 20/20.  Police are not God, can't read minds and must go on facts that come up, sometimes at a snails pace.

czechurself

@ commonsense the facts regarding a rape of a 17 yr old girl were handed to police by the victim.  These facts were known before the murder of 3 people took place.  Clinton is a registered offender and his address at the Cambell Street Apts was his listed address.  This is information that lay people can get by performing a simple google.  The police have already indicated that Clinton was already being looked at in regards to the rape before the murders took place.  They should have arrested him immediately for sex with a minor.  "Hindsight" is 20/20 but does not offer much consolation. 

 

Mother hen

Really Mrs. Cole incapable??? He has already killed one girl. Loving and caring I think not, more like sick and twisted. The first girl was unable to defend herself, so it was he who said it was during a sex act. If you read the articles it states Miss Keckler was hiding his 14yr old girlfriend, then states it was a sex act gone wrong. I call Bull sh** on this claim. It seems to me the justice system was confused as to the truth themselves. This man should of never gone free, and as for SPD and him flying under the radar, I hope the family files a civil suit. RIP sweet angels, my you all watch over this trial and make sure this monster gets whats coming to him.

czechurself

 I'd still like to stress the point:  Regardless as to whether the 17 yr old pressed charges for rape, the fact still remained that she filed a police report and had a medical examination which would prove sex.  As a registered sex offender, Clinton at the very least should have been IMMEDIATELY charged for having sex with a minor child.  Or rather even being in the presence of a minor, which is probably a violation in itself.  Is this not common practice?  Did someone drop the ball or do we need to reform? I hate to think that if this would have happened right away three lives would have been spared.

 

 

truth_told12345

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained obscenity and personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

Julie R.

This was a 17-year-old MINOR that wasn't just accusing somebody off the streets of a brutal rape --- she was accusing somebody that just got of prison for the murder of an 18-year-old PLUS he was a registered sex offender. I also find it hard to believe that the ones that took the rape report did not know this fact. When the SR first published his name I googled it and the first thing that came up was --- he is a registered sex offender, picture and all. So was the prosecutor's office informed of this --- that he was being accused of brutally raping a minor and she was afraid to press charges against him? If so, why is it that they didn't order his immediate arrest? You can also bet that choking was involved in his brutal attack on the 17-year-old.

I'm not putting the blame on the SPD but as somebody already said --- SOMEBODY sure did drop the ball on this one.  

Good 2 B Me

Seems to have a fetish for young girls/women. I am guessing that where he is going, there will be many who have a fetish for sexual deviants and child killers. I bet sitting down is going to become difficult very soon.

It'sMe
 

The loss of these three people is a real tragedy. The evil in our society makes me sick. If only this mother had been trained and proficient with the use of a firearm, maybe this rabid animal would have been put down.   There is a special place in _ _ _ _ for murdering scum rapist like Curtis Clinton and hopefully he will be there soon. May you burn for eternity for the pain and suffering you have caused so many.  

 

It'sMe

 

 

The loss of these three people is a real tragedy. The evil in our society makes me sick. If only this mother had been trained and proficient with the use of a firearm, maybe this rabid animal would have been put down.   There is a special place in _ _ _ _ for murdering scum rapist like Curtis Clinton and hopefully he will be there soon. May you burn for eternity for the pain and suffering you have caused so many.  

 

 

commonsense

Clinton has been in prison for 13 years.  You can't get that many tattoos in a few months.  Did he get tattoos in prison?  How is that possible?  Are tax payers paying for tattos too?

rickross2

@commonsense......A old freind of mine just got out of prison after 5 years and 90% of his body is covered in Tattoos. I dont think we pay for it, I think he traded candy bars and cigarettes. They arent paying tattoo artists to come in and ink up prisoners. Which is laughable. Also I got from my shoulder to my elbow tatted up in about 5 hrs. jussayin

tax payer

I agree with Julie R. The police get info, a 17 year old is raped, she is so frightened of the rapist that she does not want to charge him, he is a registered sex offender and a killer, they do not look into it immediately to see what is going on with this criminal?? Perhaps 3 people would still be alive today. it frightens me that our law enforcement can be so lackadaisical in looking at a rape, and not seeing a problem. In this day we seem not to be outraged over a rape, Why? There can be no greater horror for a female, or male than the intrusion into your body. This has a bad taste in how this was handled.

HaRley44

 Wow.. So HIS mother is angry And shocked by the allegations? Why.. This isn't the first time he's done something like this imagine how angry and shocked Heather family is and the hurt there going through..they mean more to me than Ms Cole because she can still write and visit her son and heathers family has to live without her and those babies forever... And considering he was only out 7 months before doing this... be angry at him.. The system did not rehabilitate him obviously and in my opinion Sandusky police dropped the ball...whether that victim was going to testify or not it's still illegal for a registered offender to be around people under 18 so he was in violation.. He should have been picked up and held untill his parole officer decided what was next..or the judge if he didn't have one..usually when you violate the registrys guidelines your in trouble maybe he wouldnt have had the chance to commit the horrendous crime he did...by the way to everyone wanting to say how nice he was... Guess what.. Last time I checked... nice guys don't murder a woman and two innocent children 

Julie R.

My opinion is --- this was the "older man" she told somebody she felt was stalking her. Somebody made the comment that she might have been introduced to him at a wedding. The neighbors of this dirt-bag said there were young girls between the ages of 15-17 going to his apartment during all hours of the day and night. Stands to reason that Heather Jackson -- with two babies and out working two jobs trying to get her life straightened out --- was NOT one of those young girls. I think this pure evil thing waited his chance until she moved into her own place. If the autopsy shows she wasn't raped then it's only because she refused to have sex with him --- which would fit his demented pure evil profile. Is she was raped that, too, would fit it. 

Here's to hoping THIS case doesn't get plea bargained down or I'll be tempted to picket outside of that Erie County courthouse by myself. Who really cares if he sits on death row for the next 20 years while  appeals are filed. At least he'll be sitting in solitary confinement until he gets what he deserves. Just like Randleman should have.  

transplant

Could someone please tell me it this "Mrs. Cole" is Diedre Cole.

 

unbelievable..

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained lengthy or off-topic excerpts from other websites. Discussion Guidelines

HaRley44

 Julie R...The news said her name was Estelle cole

Pastor Ron

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal information and personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

Julie R.

"Sandusky police records show officers may have been unaware that the 41-year-old convicted killer was living in this area."

I don't believe that for one second. Before he was released the prison authorties HAD to know where he was going ---- right back to his hometown of Sandusky. No way did they and the Wood County prosecutor not notify the Erie County prosecutor and the Sandusky police of this, especially since he required a parole officer when he was first released. But even if that were true --- that the SPD were NOT aware of it --- they certainly should have been aware of it the first time the neighbors called the cops about the loud parties with underage girls going on in his apartment. He also had to do regular check-ins as a registered sex offender with the Erie County Sheriff's Department. You mean to say the Sheriff's Department never informed the SPD, either, that a dangerous ex-con was back on the streets of Sandusky? Bull.

kaemae

Julie R.

 Agreed

 Even if no one notified the SPD about Clinton being back in the area...They should have figured it out in the last seven months...calls being made about the apartments loud parties would have given them his name..shame on them for forgetting the part about investigation included in a police officers job discription, besides anyone can pull up the sex offenders list from the computer...Maybe they should have looked into new additions to the list when they started to recieve multiple rape allegations?

Shoulda-coulda-woulda's are a Bi**H   

Julie R.

"Apart from his regular check-ins with the Erie County Sheriff's Department, as he's required to do as a registered sex offender, Clinton seemed to fly under the radar."

How many cases does this make now where a dangerous threat to society has "flown under the radar?" Kevin Randleman, Shawn Caston, and now THIS one? How many more are out there? Bad enough that cops are being murdered but now it's innocent little babies.  

mrlizzzard

Trial in 30 days.1 appeal within a year.Slow death down town.I know too simple.

Every one of these creeps should have an additional sentence.If they return to the city or county where convicted 6 more months in county jail.

my oh my

How can they say this guy was flying under the radar when he had to register often with ECSO?????May god bless the victims and the family...EPIC FAIL on behalf of the justice system and Mr.Clinton for trying to beat the system..Ohio and the entire nation needs tougher and stricter laws when it comes to any Domestic Violence,Rape,or child molestation or corruption......

luvblues2

Anyone in Sandusky or Norwalk could give me a free house, pay all my utilities and give me enough money to live on and I'd turn it down. Don't ask where I live because I won't say. I don't want your kind here.

Just Saying

Aww, his Mama say he ain't capable of killing any body ! I now see where the Root began !

wiredmama222

Since 17 is the legal age of majority in this State, the rape of this girl is not considered "statatory".  Secondly, it was not a "brutal" rape as any of you are saying.  I don't know where you got that informtion, but it isn't in any of the paperwork I saw so far.  It was listed of other, but not about her.  She simply said it was "rape".  She refused to cooperate with the police and that ended any further things they could do with it because she would not press charges.  The cops did nothing more about it. 

Just because he had been in prison before didn't mean they could do anything on their own.  Sorry, but the law is the law.  He had served his time and that is it.  Being a registerd sex offender doesn't mean they can come in and get you for anything if the girl won't press charges....end of story with the cops.  That is the law. 

Would it have prevented Heather's death?  Who knows.  We would be guessing.  He didn't kill the girl with him in Clyde did he?  No. 

No one will know, ever.  That is what makes this so sickening.  We probably will never know why he killed the three of them.  She may have said no to him and he killed her for it.  then the kids.  Who knows. I am guessing just like everyone else. 

But the truth is the cops hands were tied.  They couldn't arrest him on the rape and that was it. 

So don't blame the cops.  They did nothing wrong and that girl isn't to blame either.  No matter what.

Dumpster _Dive_...

 The 17 year old  informed the SPD she was raped by this Monster- boy. 

The 17 years old girl is still a minor. What about her parents? Most responsible parents would want this Monster-boy  to be brought to justice at any cost.? Right?  

Question--->  Could it be prostitution exist in Sandusky? just wondering.. 

 

With information at hand. Your Police dept did not follow up on it?  They had no clue who Monster-boy was or what he was capable of doing ?  Monster-boy had a vicious past. The police data base would have shown that once they pulled up his name. 

I dont think there's a prison out there that can rehabilitate these Monsterlikes. Instead of 3 meals a day in prison - they should be taken down like the Rabid Animals they are. 

 

 

czechurself

@ wiredmama, that is correct, "the law is the law". 

Now let me explain why what you said after that is incorrect. 

In cases of rape the victim does not have to press charges, the state can without any cooperation from the victim.   It is up to the state to ever take a rape case to court, not the victim.   Even if a victim files charges and then chooses to drop them the state can choose to continue to prosecute. 

Information regarding the report of this rape by a registered sex offender should have gone directly to DA.  Given the fact that as a sex offender he has restrictions that most likely would have included having no contact with minors, and that he had just been released from prison for murdering a young teen, the circumstances were there for his arrrest.  

So, in fact, the hands of the LE were not tied. They could have arrested him.  

Someone has said "Rape is rape".  Whether it was preceded with brutal, violent, merciless, inhumane, cruel, heartless... its all rape.   

wiredmama222

@czechurself....that would be fine,except at the time she reported it, the SPD did not have the info that he was a registered sex offender.   Had they had that information, then your information WOULD be correct.  But since he reported to the SHERIFF and not the SPD, the information was not given to them in time. 

Pages