Witness up against it

Guest on ‘Dr. Phil’ refuses to meet with state investigators
Oct 2, 2013


A man flown to California to talk with “Dr. Phil” about the March 2012 killing of Jacob Limberios — a killing he witnessed — should not get to dodge the Ohio Attorney General’s investigators.

That’s what the Limberios family’s attorney told Ohio assistant attorney general Marianne Hemmeter, but she and other state prosecutors seemed willing Tuesday to pass on interviewing witness Will Lewis. 

“I must insist you cause Will to be brought into police custody for purposes of undergoing a thorough and proper interrogation,” attorney Dan McGookey told Hemmeter in an email Saturday. “Should Will refuse to answer questions by invoking the Fifth Amendment (right), we must insist you immediately take the matter to Judge (Dale) Crawford, seeking a court order requiring him to answer the questions.”

Click here to read past articles, watch news video and see photo galleries.

Visiting Judge Dale Crawford is presiding in a court case brought by the Limberios family members, who are seeking a cause of death ruling.  

“Should he still refuse to do so, we insist that you seek contempt charges against him, with all appropriate orders compelling him to speak up,” McGookey wrote. 

The Ohio AG’s office provided a lukewarm response, failing to say if investigators intended to ever interview Lewis. 

“If you could, please provide any case law that you have regarding your proposed course of action, I would be interested to take a look at it,” state prosecutor Matt Donahue wrote McGookey. 

Donahue refused to reply to a Register inquiry, suggesting the newspaper contact someone else at the AG’s office not involved in the investigation.  

Both Hemmeter and Donahue also refused to comment on whether other witnesses would be interviewed, or whether questions raised by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s earlier involvement in the investigation — while it was still under local control — would be addressed. 

Lewis, Brittany Bowers and Evan Neidler were all inside the Sandusky County home the night Jacob died of a single gunshot wound to the head. All three have insisted Jacob shot himself. 

Will and Brittany took lie detector tests in June 2012, administered by a BCI employee, but they also agreed to take tests again on the “Dr. Phil” show, when they were in California last month for a taping of the program. The latest lie detector tests were conducted by Jack Trimarco. 

McGookey said the BCI tests conducted last year were not done appropriately, the methodology used was dated and the results are not reliable. He’s confident the results from the tests on the “Dr. Phil” program will also reflect this. 

“The BCI tests already have been reviewed by six different experts in the field and deemed to be unreliable,” McGookey said. “The Ohio Attorney General, and BCI, have a big problem with how that can happen.”

Dr. Phil’s expert, Trimarco, served as an FBI special agent and was program manager for the polygraph unit at the Los Angeles FBI field office until his retirement. Phil McGraw, a forensic psychologist and host of the “Dr. Phil” program, refers to Trimarco as the “top polygraph operator on the globe.”

“Will Lewis has never invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify,” McGookey said. “If he can go on the ‘Dr. Phil’ show to talk about Jake’s killing, then he can talk with the AG’s investigators and they should interrogate him.”

Troy Wisehart, a Sandusky attorney who represented Lewis, did not return a call from the Register’ on Tuesday. In an earlier interview, Wisehart said he advised Lewis not to talk to the AG’s investigators. 

“Will wants his story out there,” Wisehart said previously, before Lewis appeared on “Dr. Phil” to talk about Jacob’s death. “He doesn’t want to (plead the Fifth Amendment), but as his attorney I’ve advised him to.”

At the time, Wisehart said there had not been any occasion for Lewis to reserve his right not to talk with investigators. 

A witness cannot refuse to testify and then turn around and talk freely to TV show hosts or others, McGookey said.  

McGookey also wants Hemmeter and Donahue to interview witnesses who came forward earlier this year with information on Jacob’s death.  

The AG’s investigators refused to comment about challenges to the BCI polygraph tests, or whether they’re trying to determine who might have destroyed blood evidence at the start of the investigation, which was conducted by Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer and his deputies. 

An air date has not been scheduled for the “Dr. Phil” segment about the Limberios family. Program producers did seek and receive permission to use the Register’s news coverage on the death, as well as photos and other information for the program. 

Click here to read more about Lucas County deputy coroner Cynthia Beisser and other articles in the Register series, "Stabbed, beaten, burnt and zapped."

The Register plans to show the Limberios segment of “Dr. Phil” live at sanduskyregister.com when the show is broadcast. 

Phil McGraw and his show’s producers have also been invited to be guests on “Between the Lines Live,” the Register’s public affairs talk program at sanduskyregister.com.


Stop It

I'm all for Justice for Jake, but it is my opinion that going on Dr. Phil was a bad move. It somehow cheapened the whole saga and also made the BCI, an important part of the AG's office, look like they are incompetent. That cannot set well....


"made the BCI, an important part of the AG's office, look like they are incompetent."

Look like they are incompetent?

The BCI is incompetent. It's all about politics.

"In fact, the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation is, in effect, lying about some ex-convicts' records - because state law requires it."

Stop It

I didn't say they "weren't" incompetent. Just that it probably didn't set well when called on it. The AG has to keep a damn near flawless image.


What doesn't sit well is the fact that this witness all of a sudden is refusing to talk on the advice of his attorney; AND BCI does not want his testimony. Maybe they have already come to a conclusion, since there is only one--based upon the evidence. Justice for Jake!!

red white and blue

Stop it seems u continue to have exscuses or negative comments about this case.are u related to the (wittness)?


Is everyone who has a Justice for Jake sign a relative of his?


I'm not.


Which is exactly the point. You don't have to be related to have an opinion on either side.

Kottage Kat


Stop It

I have no clue where you are coming from, red white and blue. I have been following this since it was made aware. I have and always will be on the side of the Limberios family. Perhaps you may care to share my negative connotations when you find them? I won't hold my breath.

EDIT to add: Let's just say that I find Dr. Phil less than credible.


This is now getting ridiculous. McKookey wants Lewis taken into custody (arrested) without probable cause. Then he wants to take away his 5 th amendment right with a forced interrogation and if he doesn't he wants him jailed for contempt. You have to be kidding me.

Lewis can talk to who he wants and can invoke his 5th amendment right when he wants. McKookey doesn't control that. He had a preconceived idea of what happens and he wants to contort the facts to meet his expectations. At this point law enforcement agencies should totally ignore McKookey and he Register. This way the paper and McKookey can continue implying a coverup and keep this going for a while, which is really what they probably want.

dont blame me

Mr. McGookey is absolutely correct. If I’m not mistaken Mr. Lewis can be brought before a Grand Jury or coroners inquest and forced to testify. If he refuses then he can be granted immunity as long as he had nothing to do with Jacobs death. He must then answer the questions or be held in contempt and go to jail until he does testify.



Big Poppy

Sounds like somebody is starting to get scared!

dorothy gale

Nothing screams "GUILTY" like refusing to talk. So what does this guy have to hide??

The Bizness

Innocent until proven guilty....don't even think about jumping to conclusions.

I wouldn't want to talk either, think about if you state one thing wrong and it gets twisted.

Big Poppy

Or if you can't remember exactly what you stated the first time!


Dontcare he has probable cause. You can go on dr phil and say something about the case but can not talk to ag office. His miranda rights were revoked when he went on dr phil show. Plus another wittness has come forth.


Detrain, you are clearly wrong. If they had probable cause they would arrest someone. His 5th amendment is not "revoked" because he went on Dr. Phil. You can certainly have you own opinion but you can't make up facts.


If your lawyer advises you not to cooperate, you have done something that can get you in trouble. Simple as that!


Or maybe they think facts will be distorted, like on this blog


Once a fact is distorted it is no longer a fact.


So when you distort the facts about Obama, the facts are no longer facts? In what world do you dwell? Do you read what you have written?


No one can be compelled to testify if it means getting themselves into trouble and McGookey should understand that. He was just told to site case law showing his point of view. Good luck with that. However, this has been the problem since this started. The family wants someone to say something different than what they have said before and they aren't.

It sounds like the AG is about to render the same finds that have been rendered before does it not? So why antagonize the people you asked to make a finding?????? Settle down, let them speak and back off. Going to Dr Phil was a mistake. Now wait for the AG to speak and let it alone. Your want for a different verdict may or may not be forthcoming so wait for it. We pray in our time, God answers in HIS.

Julie R.

Why would this Wisehart attorney advise his client not to talk to the AG investigators? Even better, why did Lewis seek an attorney to begin with? Do the others ~ Brittany Bowers and Evan Neidler ~ have attorneys, too?


Good questions!


Because they are being accused of something they didnt do. They have told the truth but the witch hunt continues.



dont blame me

I told you not to trust them. Politics in play..


Then why is there another wittness that needs to be talked to if they are innocent. I think there is more to this than the other side knows. Dontcare how do you know what they said is true. What witch hunt. The county did wrong and the kids are hiding something evidence shows that. I get my facts straight from the true source how about you.


I don't understand your question. What "evidence" that wasn't paid for? Is your "true" source bias? Everyone wants the truth, not the manufactured truth.