“It’s too late for Jake,” said Brady Gasser, who spearheaded the proposed legislation with the help of state Rep. Chris Redfern in the aftermath of the death of his friend, Jacob Limberios, on March 2, 2012. “But passing this legislation in Jacob’s name will at least give us the satisfaction of knowing we stopped this from happening to future victims”
Gasser turned his rage at Sandusky County officials’ failure to conduct a competent investigation into aggressive advocacy on behalf of his lifelong friend’s family.
Gasser is a co-founder of the robust “Justice for Jake & Ella” group in addition to his work with Redfern crafting legislation he hopes won’t allow what happened to the Limberios family to happen to another family.
“Jacob left us too soon,” Gasser said. “Current law left us with the burden of seeking the truth on our own”
Sandusky County coroner John Wukie refused to order an autopsy after Jacob died inside a rural Clyde home when the gun he brought there fired a bullet into his head. Wukie did not go to the home or conduct his own investigation of what occurred, relying instead on information provided by Sheriff Kyle Overmyer and deputies at the scene.
Wukie ruled the death a suicide but added words to the ruling suggesting it could have been an accident. He has refused to correct the ruling despite findings by the state that Jake’s death was an accident.
Physical evidence was destroyed immediately after Jake was killed and the witnesses allegedly failed lie detector tests, which are not always accurate and cannot be admitted in a court case.
But Wukie’s refusal to order an autopsy is a key decision that led to the enduring ordeal the Limberios family suffered, according to Gasser, and “Jake’s Law” will require autopsies be ordered when a death occurs under similar circumstances.
“The bottom line of this bill is the belief that every deceased person deserves the respect of a proper and thorough investigation into how they died,” Gasser said. “Regardless of where they spent their last moments”
Gasser and Redfern either met or spoke about a dozen times developing a bill with language that gives it a better chance to become law.
“Initially Brady suggested it should require autopsies for all causes of violent deaths,” Redfern said. “That would be veryexpensive, and legislators are concerned about cost”
Redfern lobbied fellow lawmakers earlier this month and plans to introduce the “Jake’s Law” legislative proposal in the House this week.
Gasser’s enthusiasm made that possible.
“Brady is a very smart young man,” Redfern said. “You quickly realize his relationship with Jake was very profound. There’s a lot of commitment on his behalf and this family’s behalf”
Gasser had been friends with Limberios since the first grade and shared a common bond among their friends.
“After he passed I’ve just tried to be around a lot, helping his folks,” Gasser said. “They always felt like my second family”
He’s seen firsthand the difficulty the Limberios family has had in dealing with their son’s ambiguous death.
A college student studying urban development at Cleveland State, Gasser forced the change he wanted to see down a long road. He didn’t expect the hurdles that would need overcome when he started out.
“Maybe I was a little naive” he said.