Petition drive picks up steam

Pace of people signing on to call for Stierwalt and Overmyer to be removed doubled Wednesday; dozens leave comments asking Kasich to take action
Register
Mar 20, 2014

Update March 19, 2014: An additional 200 people signed an online petition Wednesday asking Gov. John Kasich to invoke a state law that allows him to remove Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer and county Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt from office. 

Many are leaving comments urging Kasich to help. 

"I live in Sandusky County and have had a horrible experience with the Sheriff's Department. They don't care about right or wrong, just how much muscle they can show,"  Sandra Weatherspoon, of Vickery, wrote after signing the petition.

Read the petition

"Too many crimes have fallen through the cracks. Someone needs to be held accountable," Debi Eversole of Castalia wrote.

"These men are here to serve and protect and instead do the opposite," Ashley Mancour, Clyde, posted. 

"Kyle Overmyer has shown blatant disregard for the citizens of Sandusky County, while promoting his own interests in the Jones and Limberios cases. He also has chosen not to properly address the numerous scandals at the jail involving officers and sexual acts with inmates. Now we have a suicide in the jail…who is taking responsibility for that or is it going to be swept under the rug as well? I believe that there will be nothing done about this, unless provoked by the public," wrote Shelly Mills, of Fremont. 

"I grew up in Fremont," Keith Harris of Port Clinton wrote after signing the petition asking for Gov. Kasich's help. "The County is ran by who-knows-who-politics. If you don't 'fit in' they remove you."

"It's important because it is blatantly clear there are deep-rooted issues in Sandusky County," Diane Lowery of Sandusky wrote. "If this is not apparent to those receiving this petition then we have bigger issues in Ohio."

Was Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's grand jury tainted? Get Friday's Register for an update. Click here for the ePaper, for home delivery or buy the Register every day at a newsstand near you. 

Some supporters of Overmyer and Stierwalt are leaving anonymous comments at news articles about the petition drive and other news stories at sanduskyregister.com. One of them suggested jail guards who sexually exploited a mentally ill female inmate who was denied her medication were also at the same time attempting get her medications for her while they were exploiting her. 

"So how do you say she was denied her medications? Did they or did they not make attempts to contact a family member to get them, if they did how does that constitute her being denied her medications?" the anonymous commenter Simple Enough II posted at sandusyregister.com.

Another anonymous commenter supporting Stierwalt and Overmyer at the newspaper's comments section suggested he was unconcerned about the deaths of two people when they came into contact with sheriff's deputies.

"I wish we could get some answers about why the Register loves criminals so much," PapaJoe wrote on Wednesday in the comments section. "Bryan Jones and Craig Burdine both had long criminal histories and a record of violence."

"Long criminal histories" is an overstatement, but the families of both Burdine and Jones contend previous contacts with local police and sheriff's deputies likely played a role in their deaths. 

Another resident called the Register Wednesday, leaving a message suggesting it should not be reporting about the petition drive or the numerous other scandals plaguing county officials. 

"Stay out of Sandusky County," she said. "We don't need your reporting here." 

Stierwalt and Overmyer have ignored repeated requests for comment. 

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Update March 18, 2014: An online petition asking the governor to invoke a state law to force Stierwalt and Overmyer out has averaged about 100 signatures a day during the first three days since it's been posted. Many of the people signing onto the petition are leaving comments with the reasons they support the effort.

"Every one is accountable for their actions and as an official they should be held to a higher standard," Carolyn Stuart, of Columbus, posted after signing the petition at Change.org

"I live in Sandusky County and I have first-hand witnesses (to) the Sandusky County Sheriff's department inadequacy. I feel they think they are all above the law," Carla Dupont of Vickery wrote. "They need a restructuring starting at the top." 

"I feel that Sandusky County has failed to follow through with their investigations in these cases. They did not collect evidence or order an autopsy in the Jacob Limberios case," Theresa Burris of Huron posted. "I feel there is enough evidence to show they have failed to keep the people in their jail safe, and protect them ... Someone needs to be held responsible for the conduct of the employees of Sandusky County before anyone else gets hurt."

"Failure of justice is a failure in America's foundation and a building with a flawed foundation can not stand the test of time," Tamera Stacy, of Castalia, posted after signing the petition. 

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Original article posted March 17, 2014: The Justice for Jake & Ella group has filed a petition asking Ohio Gov. John Kasich to remove Sandusky County Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt and Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer from office "for failure to perform their duties as required by law." 

The petition is posted at the group's Facebook page and includes support from three other families impacted by decisions made by Stierwalt and Overmyer.

The family of Craig Burdine, who died at the Sandusky County Jail shortly after he was brought there in August 2007 has signed onto the petition drive. Family members of Isabel Cordle, who was brutally killed in January 1988 and an alleged rape victim who contends Fremont police did nothing to bring her assailant to justice also have joined the group.

The petition asks the governor to use the power granted him in the Ohio Revised Code to remove Stierwalt and Overmyer from office, and they are promoting the petition at the group's Facebook page under the banner "Stand Up for Justice and Accountability in Sandusky County."

The petition was posted at Justice for Jake & Ella page Sunday evening and had garnered more than 50 signatures by early this morning.

Read the petition

The petition asks Gov. Kasich to "file a formal complaint under Ohio Revised Code 3.08 seeking removal of the Sandusky County Prosecutor (Tom Stierwalt) and the Sandusky County Sheriff (Kyle Overmyer) for failure to fulfill their duties in investigating and prosecuting crimes occurring in Sandusky County. 

"RC 3.08 allows the Governor to file a complaint in the Common Pleas Court in the County seeking removal of county officials who have abused their offices, starting a process whereby evidence can be presented by each side to support their position."

See the Justice for Jake & Ella page

The Justice for Jake & Ella Facebook page has more than 19,000 followers and the petition also asks "other families of victims of abuse occurring in Sandusky County to lend their voices in support of this cause to sign this petition to the governor."

"In numbers there is strength," the petition reads. "We need every fair-minded person who seeks justice to join this effort. We can effect change, but only when we are united."

According to the petition, the state law cited, ORC 3.08, allows "the governor to initiate a process whereby the effected officials can defend themselves from accusations of misconduct (and) allow them a full and fair opportunity to be heard.”

Stierwalt and Overmyer were not immediately available for comment. 

Check back here for updates as they become available. 

The Register has reported the difficulties numerous families have experienced with Sandusky County officials. Click on the links below to read more. 

• Death of Lee Naus

• Isabel Cordle

• Trooper's sex lesson

• Stabbed, beaten burned & zapped

• Bryan Jones

• Limberios shooting saga

• Craig Burdine

• Sexploited jail inmate

Comments

Simple Enough II

Because some of the folks running against say Stierwalt I had no confidence in.

mamaC

Who holds the democratic chair there?

PapaJoe

Jmschmidt812 you are so right. The voters can vote them out in the next election if they choose. The governor has no right to remove people elected by the voters. Just because Matt Westerhold does not like them does not mean they are corrupt. Matt Westerhold should not choose who is sandusky county sheriff.

PapaJoe

If anything that would make corruption 100% worse with no fear of facing the voters again, they will do whatever they want

John Harville

The voters can't even get past a placeholder sham.

CatsAreTheBest419

Mr. Harville I feel you are beating a dead horse. If Mr. Brewer had an legitimate complaint against Mrs. Damschroder then why did he run with his tail between his legs. He didn't provide any argument what so ever. I guess you could say that the bigger person won. I think it is about time that you move along to a different topic now its over and done with.

Buster66

aBOUT THE IDENTITY OF hARVILLE?

John Harville

Yeah. Keep beatin' that drum. Offer some proof if you think you got it.

Buster66

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal information.

Lil DAB

I saw Buster's little post before it got deleted. Not hard to figure out who Harville is. It has already been brewing all over FB. Harville aka "the other guy" doesnt like when he gets "outed" yet wants to get away with posting everyone else relationships - re occupation, family...etc.

John Harville

If the issue is dead, why is Sandusky County BOE revamping all its voter registration and voting records for some 25,000 voters?
April 1 is first day of early voting for the May 6 REPUBLICAN Primary. Wonder if Mr. Brewer will vote in that since Mrs. Damschroder's attorney said he can't?

Buster66

Well Harville, you could look in the mirror and ask Mr Brewer and get an answer pretty quick. Think....*oh there it is....

John Harville

Had you been there, you would know the hearing never was properly called to order and was invalid from the moment Mr. Brey said Brewer had no standing "because he's not a Republican". The Board did not state Brewer had standing, thus the hearing - that was never properly convened - was over. Besides, how do you have a hearing without a respondent?
At least BREWER showed up. Where was RHONDA?

grumpy

She didn't need to show up, she had a representative show up. She was not subpoenaed, her representative being there was all that was needed.

Julie R.

If OHIO would get busy and enact a law making it so all county public officials can only serve 4 years & out, I think that alone would put a real dent in corruption.

Simple Enough II

If folks would actually know something of the issues and the candidates instead of voting based upon party lines and or "because I like the way they talk or look" we might get better, we might get worse.

Bodega

That's never actually going to happen any more than elected officials will vote to limit campaign money. That's like asking the fox to have his teeth pulled as part of the job of watching the sheep.

slightthroat212

I don't know that much about Ohio law, but don't you need adequate proof to get anything before a court? i agree that there appears to be corruption in Sandusky county and quesionable actions from what I have seen, but you have to be able to back up your accuations with facts to get someone out of office. Does this group have a lawyer? They surely need one to be on their side in this court hearing to present FACTS to the judge, not innuendo and non-facts. The judge is going to want facts. I sincerely hope they get a venue change because of this gets heard in the same county, there isn't a prayer of getting a fair hearing. Only a lawyer can get that moved, isn't that correct? So even with the help of the governor, this petition needs a lawyer on the side of the petitioners to help with all this. A GOOD lawyer with some clout.

Julie R.

"I don't know much about Ohio law, but don't you need adequate proof to get anything before a court?"

Heavens, no! If Sandusky County is anything like Erie County, it's the opposite. It's when you DO have adequate proof of everything that you can't get anything before a court!

CITY43420

Can we have bad writers removed for poor journalism??? Really SR.. Why can't you just leave Sandusky County alone? I live here and work here and it isn't as bad as everyone protrays it to be! Lets dig into Erie or Huron County and see what we find!! These people that hold these positions are Fathers, Husbands, Coaches and community supporters.. While I'm not saying that these families do not deserve Justice by any means, but calling for 3 people to lose their jobs in the meantime is just obsurd!!

DickTracey

So, CITY, are you saying it is ok for a grown man to watch porn and masturbate with a twelve year old?

So in Sandusky county, these fathers, coaches and husbands all think that a grown man can masturbate with their 12 year old?

You don't have a problem with your prosecutor letting a pedophile get away with that?

CITY43420

No I am not saying that that is ok by any means, what I AM saying is that is it appropriate for someone to lose their job because they are following the laws that their superiors put forth?

DGMutley

Stomping the life out of Craig Burdine is ok with you?

Jmschmidt812

But it was fine for him to throw another man in a fire causing him 3rd degree burns on his back?

Babo

No it was not acceptable but he was entitled to due process of law and not to die while in custody by an alleged extra judicial state administered killing.

Simple Enough II

So you actually think the jailers took it upon themselves to execute a person being brought into their custody? Really has me questioning where you come up with those comments/allegations.

DGMutley

Did they?

Babo

Do you understand the concept of due process of law?

DGMutley

And while we're talking about it, the young lady that was exploited by the sheriff's jailers should have never been arrested in the first place by the Fremont PD.

Simple Enough II

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

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