Family: Police botched stabbing investigation

Police botched it, and her son might be forced to pay a terrible price. That's what Carol Cherry says about an investigation Sandusky police conducted after a June 20 incident on Market Street. Cherry's son, Jonteal Cherry, 16, was arrested for allegedly stabbing a woman, but she said police never bothered to figure out exactly what happened.
Melissa Topey
Aug 9, 2010

Police botched it, and her son might be forced to pay a terrible price.

That's what Carol Cherry says about an investigation Sandusky police conducted after a June 20 incident on Market Street.

Cherry's son, Jonteal Cherry, 16, was arrested for allegedly stabbing a woman, but she said police never bothered to figure out exactly what happened.

"Police failed to question anybody on Market Street," Carol said. "My son tried to walk away."

Carol maintains her son did not stab the victim, who suffered a puncture wound and was treated at Firelands Regional Medical Center after the incident.

An initial police report of the investigation did not list any witness names or other pertinent information or details, and did not include any witness statements.

"Upon arrival officers were advised Jonteal Cherry stabbed Andarra Branham," the report states, without further detail.

More than a month later, police acknowledged they still had not obtained witness statements after inquiries from Carol and the Sandusky Register.

Jonteal's attorney, Jessica Dillon, said police mishandled the incident.

"It wasn't an investigation at all, to charge someone with an F2 (second-degree felony) and try to bind it over to adult court where he could get 20-some years," Dillon said. "I feel I'm the only one doing any investigation for the Cherrys."

Erie County assistant prosecutor Cheryl Goodrum refused to discuss whether police properly gathered evidence.

Goodrum intends to force Jonteal into adult court to face charges for felonious assault and obstructing justice.

"At this point I feel comfortable with my case," Goodrum said.

Dillon is not the only one, however, questioning police methods.

Keith King, a former Lake County deputy sheriff who is now a private investigator and law enforcement instructor, said basic standards of investigation were not followed in the June 20 incident.

Police should have conducted direct interviews of independent witnesses to determine where they were and what they saw, and those interviews should have been documented, King said.

"It's important to get as much information as possible," he said.

Defense attorney Ian Friedman, former president of the Ohio Association of Criminal Defense lawyers, said conducting proper interviews immediately at the scene secures the evidence.

"It gives everyone the best chance at getting to the truth," Friedman said.

A defendant deserves the higher standard.

"I have seen it and argued to a jury that it was not worthy of a conviction," Friedman said, referring to cases where police failed to immediately obtain witness statements. "With consequences this high I'd hope they conduct it by the book. The state has one strike against it already."

Sandusky police have declined to comment specifically on the concerns Carol Cherry and her son's attorney have raised.

Phone calls to acting Sandusky police chief Charlie Sams' cell phone went unreturned.

Sandusky police and the Erie County Prosecutor's office also declined to fulfill the Register's request for all police reports and witness statements, or video surveillance taken by police at the June 20 incident.

Jonteal turned 16 on Wednesday. He has been incarcerated for the last two months in the Erie County Detention Home.

He was one of three boys charged in the November 2009 BB gun vandalism of 60 cars and homes. He was convicted of felony vandalism charges and numerous misdemeanors in juvenile court.

Andarra Branham, the woman who was stabbed, said Friday she has almost healed from the injury she suffered.

"I'm trying to get over it. I'm just going to let it play out in the court," Branham said, declining further comment.

Comments

iamrevolutionary

 OMG!!...... What can a citizen say to that?!  

Sounds a WHOLE lot like SPD is taking lessons from MPD!!!  (Mansfield)........SCARY ,  Folks!

Katelih-Trailer...

 Who was SPD going to interview?  No one ever sees anything anyway. What we have here in this "city" is a bunch of losers who protect other losers. " I aint seen nothing" ,  " I aint heard nothing. Oh, them was gunshots , I thought them was some firecrackers or sumthin" 

the unsilent majority's picture
the unsilent ma...

cause this kid is obviously a model citizen right?

Joker

It seems that when things happen in that part of town NO ONE wants to talk to the police; so who exactly were the police supposed to interview?

And who exactly is Keith King and why is he relevant to this story?  I'll bet he's on the Register's payroll.  If you want a trully independent source then interview someone in, oh I don't know, Licking County.

Julie R.

It says that assistand prosecutor, Cheryl Goodrum, refused to discuss whether police properly gathered evidence...... 

That name sounds familar. Wasn't she one of the attorneys for that Krista Harris lady in 2004 or something? So when did she become an assistant prosecutor?

silvereagle_1

another wannabe gangsta!!!   king needs to stay in his own county.

sandtownlowtown

Great job Sandusky Register.... maybe when this stellar young student is released from his unfortunate incarceration, he can come play with your sons and daughters in YOUR neighborhoods? 

Hey Carol, while most parents are preparing graduation parties, going away to college parties, etc... maybe you can throw him a getting out of jail party?  Make sure you get him a nice new knife (I'm sure that one had blood on it and was taken as evidence) or a shiny new GUN as a gift, because from the stories I'm hearing everyday in this outstanding newspaper... he's going to need one on those streets!

Here's to committing a CRIME, beating the system, and being able to go out and do it all over again!  Hip Hip Hooray! 

Bada Bing

Just like the gun shot victim..Must have been mistaken identidty

outsider

 Well Ms. Cherry since you are the only one that believes your son is innocent it is your job and of course your attorney's job to find all this important witnesses. Your son can't provide you with names? There was no account in the article of witnesses. It's your attorney's job to refute the charges. How about your attorney does his job.

dorothy gale

Was this incident reported in the Register back in June?  I don't remember reading about it.  It would be interesting to know what sort of evidence the police DO have in this case.  Maybe he really WAS in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Or maybe he was just looking for a way to get out of paying restitution to his vandalism victims!  Seriously, though, this paper is obviously very biased against the local police so it's best to let the story play out in court.  I don't think we will read the truth in these pages.

 

ottonut44

I'll give it a day or two, but then bet me that the "race" card isn't played.  This woman shouldn't bitch if the neighbors refuse to snitch!!!

Cross

This isn't exactly the Rosenberg's.

This should be an op ed article on how to try and get your punk kid off when he's blatantly guilty. On par for the course for the Register. 

There is no evidence of anything being botched. The only thing botched is this article.

Julie R.

Erie County assistant prosecutor Cheryl Goodrum says she intends to force Jonteal into adult court to face charges for felonious assault and obstructing justice............

Sure hope this kid has a good attorney. Isn't Goodrum the one that allowed the joke Erie County Common Pleas Court to send her client, Krista Harris-----who was making allegations about Baxter------ to a harsh five year prison sentence for so-called theft from her elderly aunt using a legal Power of Attorney?  

h0metwnher0

O look another headline from the register bashing police, shocker

MINE

Police bashing again?    Seems to me that you can just go out and commit any crime you want anymore.  Why not...you have a newspaper that can't wait to stand behind you especially if it might make our police officers look bad.   When is it going to stop?   Any time you read this newspaper it is giving the wrong message to any criminal.    Go ahead...do what you want....just say the cops were wrong and we will print an article to help you get out of trouble.  Unreal.

Salvatore

Upon arrival officers were advised Jonteal Cherry stabbed Andarra Branham," the report states, without further detail. Is this all that was in the police report? Was Cherry arrested soon after? Did Branham identify Cherry and did she know him? Were there other witnesses there? If so, did Cherry or Branham know any of the witnesses? Yes Juliie, Goodrum was one of Harris's attormeys that now works on the gravy train at tax payers expense. This is not a murder and I want to know why a 16 year old is being tried as an adult. Cherry must be black I presume? Cheryl Goodrum refused to discuss whether police properly gathered evidence. WHY????????  Goodrum intends to force Jonteal into adult court to face charges for felonious assault and obstructing justice. WHY??????  "At this point I feel comfortable with my case," Goodrum said. WHY?????? Why does Goodrum feel so comfortable? WHY????  Will Goodrum share all of her evidence with Cherry's defense attorney?

Julie R.

Doesn't the story say that the police did not do a proper investigation? So why do you people have this kid already judged guilty?  He's only 16 years old and this joke assistant prosecutor wants him tried as an adult so he can get a 20 some year prison sentence? Wow! Every time I think Sandusky and these Erie County prosecutors can't get any more nuts than they already are----they always do!   

Salvatore

Why wasn't this June 20 incident on Market Street listed on the Police Blotter that the Ragister published for the SPD incidents for June 20? I saw nothing listed for a stabbing on Market.

SUNDAY, JUNE 20

12:23 a.m. -- 700 block Hancock St., several people in front of home would not leave.

12:34 a.m. -- 700 block Hancock St., several people arguing, left when police arrived.

1:43 a.m. -- Polk and Prospect streets, shots fired, nothing found. Believed to be fireworks.

1:48 a.m. -- 400 block Langston Place, Kyle R. Hoffman, 23, 200 block Locust St., Oak Harbor, disorderly conduct, operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

2:45 a.m. -- 500 block W. Perkins Ave., police stood by as a large group of people left bar.

2:48 a.m. -- 100 block Columbus Ave., two men harassing woman at bar.

2:59 a.m. -- 700 block Hancock St., large group of people in area.

3:02 a.m. -- 1100 block Columbus Ave., Della Brown, 34, 4000 block Venice Road, obstructing official business.

3:22 a.m. -- 1000 block Wayne St., Reese and Neil streets, man seen circling the area for more than an hour.

9 a.m. -- 1400 block Hayes Ave., vehicle vandalized.

9:22 a.m. -- Lorain County Sheriff's office, Manuel Feliciano, 36, 2100 block Mulberry Drive, bench warrant.

9:48 a.m. -- 2000 block Wilbert St., car damaged, possibly by estranged husband.

9:52 a.m. -- 1900 block Cleveland Road, GPS unit stolen from car.

10:05 a.m. -- 1100 block Second St., vehicle sideswiped.

10:41 a.m. -- West Jefferson Street, digital camera, iPod and $29 cash stolen from bag.

2:14 p.m. -- Ohio 6, Weigel's Point, Justine L. Brown, 21, 900 block Quail Road, Fremont, bench warrant.

3:44 p.m. -- 300 block Melville St., Dustin F. Routsong, no age or address provided, violation of a civil protection order.

7:43 p.m. -- 1800 block Superior St., Joseph Borowick, 30, same, disorderly conduct.

7:57 p.m. -- 200 block Hendry St., bicycle stolen from garage.

8:10 p.m. -- 4600 block Pinewood Drive, tire side wall sliced.

9:17 p.m. -- 1200 block Carr St., Karoon Grant, no age or address provided, possession of marijuana, bench warrant. Tania Dickerson, no age or address provided, persistent disorderly conduct.

10:26 p.m. -- 500 block Pearl St., fireworks; nothing found when officers arrived.

10:36 p.m. -- 1600 block N. Larchmont Drive, shots fired.

11:11 p.m. -- 400 block Lawrence St., Wii game system and games taken.

MONDAY, JUNE 21

safecracker2

Hey Julie R....

 

Jonteal turned 16 on Wednesday. He has been incarcerated for the last two months in the Erie County Detention Home.

He was one of three boys charged in the November 2009 BB gun vandalism of 60 cars and homes. He was convicted of felony vandalism charges and numerous misdemeanors in juvenile court.

 

That's enough for me. Why don't you stop armchair-quarterbacking every article this paper prints against the police departments?  You know you can only believe half of what you read in this paper. Do something constructive with your time and try making a difference in this community instead of sitting behind your computer and only hearing what you want to hear.... Just saying!

safecracker2

Julie R.... have you ever started an investigation due to someone else's actions and seen it through the justice system? Noooo... I'm thinking NOT!  You can dog the prosecoter's all you want, but it's about checks and balances. Gilliam's wife was convicted and will have to pay her debt to society based on our rules in this state. Here's your problem... you are not taking all the circumstances into the case as every cop and prosecutor does to weigh a plea bargain, or to go through to a trial. How much do you, as a taxpayer, are you willing to pay to see that this kid, or any other person, who should be responsible for their own actions, see that they are accountable?  You'll be the first one complaining that someone doesn't respond to your barking dog call in a timely fashion, because they're dealing with more serious issues. Like your new buddy convict who has already been prosecuted. T-R-O-U-B-L-E!!!!

lovin my princess

at safe cracker 2

here goes to show u dnt kno shyt bout nuthin he was not convicted of the bb gun shooting...its jus best if you keep your mouth shut if you dont kno wat your talkin about

Woody Hayes

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

Tman

I say we get Rufus involved....................innocent.........case closed.  NOT!!!!

Julie R.

Charge a 16 year old kid with an F2 felony and try to bind it over to an adult court where the kid could get 20 some years?

* Never trust an attorney that works in collusion with the shady prosecutors and courts to throw a client under the bus------who then gets rewarded with a job in the prosecutor's office.

lovin my princess

@ julie r

it seems like your the onli one that has any since and understands wats goin on

 

Sam

Woody & Safecracker2 GREAT COMMENTS.  The "kid" stabbed someone , does he have a juvenile record?  He very well could be a threat to society and the juvenile system might not be equipped to handle him. Where is the father? Does the mother have a record? How stable is the family and home. The only way the juvenile system works if the parents are involved and responsible. The apple never falls far from the tree.  Once again Julie R off on one of her many rants.

Julie R.

Geez, 'ole Sam's already got this kid tried and convicted! What happened to the deputy treasurer and the cop's wife that got it for stealing------wasn't the story then "innocent until proven guilty?"

Sam

Julie R from you ""innocent until proven guilty?" that's a hoot considering how you have falsely attacked public officials with out any evidence except your own mindless made up rants.  You always avoid the question, if you had any evidence where is it?  Continue to communicate with the mother ship for you information Juliebeth..........

outsider

 Sorry for my post last night. It was inappropriate but it was funny. Sometime I just can stop when presented with such an easy segway.

Julie R.

@ safecracker2:

Doesn't the story say that the police failed to question anybody? Doesn't it say that an intial police report doesn't list any witness names or other pertinent information or details, and did not include any witness statements? Doesn't it say that more than a month later police have acknowledged that they still have not obtained any witness statements?

And with that kind of botched investigation this joke assistant prosecutor wants to charge this kid with an F2 felony and bind it over to an adult court where the kid could get 20 plus years? Good luck on that one, Ms. Assistant Prosecutor.

@Sam: I have never falsely attacked a public official. Special emphasis on falsely.  And you are wierd.

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