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

Julie R.

Why no comments allowed on the article about the seven Murrays from the Murray & Murray law firm winning Super Lawyers of the Year?

As an afterthought, is that sort of like when Kevin Baxter won Prosecutor of the Year? (chuckle-chuckle)

Bodega

Because it's not an article. It's an Ad.

FreBerg2

Hey anyone want to talk about the Death of Lee Naus. To start I can tell you that I didn't vote for Mayor Jim Ellis, but he's done a heck of a job so far and as long as he doesn't keep the Ballville Damn he will receive my re-election vote. I'm going to admit I don't know a lot about this case, and that's why avoided it at first but lets give it a shot. So a man was found dead in a dumpster and it might have been a homicide. This is the one article I hope the Register continues to write about so we can gather more information, but what I do get is that the register is confronting Mayor Ellis about his statement, "No one at the city is going to answer your questions regarding this matter,” Ellis wrote to the Register. “It is an old case, and so the prudent thing is to promptly provide you with the documentary record and have you refer to it.” I see nothing wrong with this. What can Jim Ellis contribute to this story. Was he the Mayor at the Time? No. Was he on the Police Force? No. How would he have any usable information on a cold case. He provide the document's you ask for and went on with his day. So based on the paper work you received and tips you received in emails you believe that Fremont Police is covering something up. Well that maybe correct but I also have a great Tip. A young Kyle Overmyer and Tom Stierwalt actually killed Kennedy. Not Lee Harvey Oswald. They were both on the Grassy Knoll. If you need to Reach me to further the investigation my number (419)867 5309. My point is anyone can tip anything lets make sure they are real before you accuse a innocent man like Mayor Jim Ellis of being corrupt.

John Harville

Jim Ellis is Jim Ellis' greatest asset. He also is an opportunist. And a wealthy one at that. His first thought always is of his best interest. Not sure why SR went to him for info... but haven't followed that story much.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for the comment John Harville. I have no idea whether Jim Ellis is wealthy,  an opportunist or any of the other words you use to describe him. The Register, however, did not seek comment from Ellis. Our questions were sent to Fremont police Captain Jim White, who referred the inquiry to Chief Tim Wiersma, who then referred it to law director Jim Melle. Ellis replied for everyone without receiving any inquiry from the Register. It would seem law director Melle, as an elected official, has a duty and an obligation to respond, IMO, and his willingness to do that and the duty and obligation he has cannot be usurped by the mayor. The questions White, Wiersma and Melle were asked are centered on a legitiimate matter of public concern. Their nonresponsiveness has no bearing on the legitimacy of the inquiry, and, in my opinion, is irresponsible, at best. 

And Freberg2, you're confused. As you acknowledged in your comment, you don't know much about this death at all. Your grassy knoll-JFK comment bears that out. It's a pretty silly analogy and represents more excuse making. Do you think there might be a time when the endless excuses will ever end? You've been here all day coming up with different excuses. Are you on the county clock?

 

FreBerg2

Matt
What excuses have I made? All I have I done is provide another point of view. I'm sorry if that upsets you. Isn't this blog for freedom of speech. And to accuse me of being on the country clock is outrageous. I am deeply offend, and that shows how this paper attacks anyone who cross them. By the way Matt Monday is my day off work.

Jmschmidt812

Ah there it is, I've been waiting to see this comment from you. Another stretch to place somebody on county payroll because they have a different view of things. Classic, thanks for not disappointing Matt. Oh yeah I'm still not associated with any law enforcement agency nor am I retired public employee.

red white and blue

@^^Friedberg both sides of my family have lived in fremont for over 70 years I've had family on both side on the police department and the sheriff's department this county USE TO BE SO PROUD.Those days are gone every county has its fare shake of mistakes but as many as Sandusky county has made in the last two years is unbelievable! It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize something has to change! As far as "The Group"and "The Register"Truth hurts it news it facts if you don't like the many mistakes that have been brought to light don't make them or don't run for office! As a voter I pay for there wages there for I have a right to know answers and to know that the city is being run by people that are concomitant.

FreBerg2

Red white and blue.
I agree with you to a certain extent. If your not happy with the officials vote for someone else. I have never missed a chance to vote. The problem is in today's society rumors and lies become fact before people get a chance to defend them self. We live in a society that you are now guilty until proven innocent.

Jakes Dad

Think about that.Guilty until proven innocent. None of this might be.

Random Thoughts

Jakes Dad,  A lot of your supporters including myself have been wondering why you dropped your civil case to have the death certificate changed, especially since the attorney general, after a very thorough investigation, agreed that it was an accident.  It seems you were so close to at least getting a ruling from the judge.  If it was a matter of money, I'm sure there are attorneys out there who would finish the case at no cost.

Ctwhalers

I think they have another attorney so he trying to figure best way to handle this

bdid.d519

I will be sure to fight with and support all of you that are putting down these families when it one day hits one of your own. Especially Jake's family... If you think it can't happen to you and yours, I hope you are right... Sorry to say but your support for those who hide and destroy evidence won't do you any good then... Never say never... those are the famous last words of fools...

Stop It

A no win situation. Vote them out.

Steve P

Question, how often has this law been used, what was the success rate in removing any official, if anyone has this information with names and dates.

Babo

It's been very rarely used though citizens in a school district did successfully remove their entire school board in the last 10 years through the petition process. The ORC has a number of statutes that encourage citizen participation in government but with the growth of the power of the Bar and its desire to protect income streams by alliances with those in government and the media; citizen participation today is usually discouraged and hampered by the legal industry and citizens' lack of knowledge of their rights.

It will be difficult but not impossible to convince the Governor to take some action if a proper Complaint is drafted and there's a lot of support for it. This is after all an election year.

IMO, the SR's endorsement of DeWine in the last election was a major blow to the re-election of Cordray. DeWine used that endorsement in his ads in Cordray's Democratic strongholds in Northern Ohio.

Kasich can use this matter to take Democratic support in Northern Ohio from Fitzgerald. Similarly, DeWine's opponent David Pepper, a southern Ohio Democrat could use these stories to help his campaign against DeWine by showing he wasn't tough after all on public corruption.

Bodega

A lot of good points you make here, Babo.

Ctwhalers

His son was not careless. You apparently have no heart. Put yourself in his shoes.

red white and blue

J4J!!!!! AND THE MANY OTHERS THAT HAVE BEEN SHAFTED when you are elected you are sworn to uphold the law and protect the citizens not break the law and shaft the people of sandusky county

Babo

Interesting report in the News Mess concerning the hospital in Fremont agreeing to pay a huge civil fine to the Feds for improper financial relationships with referring doctors that impacted Medicare and Medicaid payments. By agreeing to the fine they don't have to admit culpability but hard to believe the Hospital would pay an $8.5 million dollar fine for no reason.

Doctors, lawyers, police...just waiting for the local bank to be exposed too.

Julie R.

If Sandusky County is so corrupt (and I don't doubt it) why not move to another county that is not corrupt? After all, there must be plenty of them around. (sarcasm) Why not move to the holy land of Eeerie County, where we have the Prosecutor of the Year, 7 lawyers that are Ohio's Super Lawyers of the Year, County Commissioners that walk on water, a new Clerk of Court that we keep hearing is the next best thing to Mother Teresa compared to the former one, not to mention the oh-so honest & ethical attorneys in the black robes at the Eeerie County courthouse!

Stop It

You never miss an opportunity, Jules. Gotta give ya that. :)

Ctwhalers

It Does not matter if we live in Sandusky county or not. Corruption needs to stop.I would like to see some in Erie county delt with to but there are so many right now in Sandusky county that need our help and support. By just sitting there and not doing anything is not helping any. It is time we all stand up and say enough is enough in the usa.

Julie R.

I support every one of the families in Sandusky County and if I lived in that county, you better believe I would have been the first to sign that petition. I thought it was horrendous what was done to Bryan Jones and I thought it was despicable what they did ~ and are still doing ~ to the Limberios family. It's like who in the heck do they think they are in that county, anyway? I still can't get that picture of Jake's dad kneeling at the cemetery out of my head. It was enough to make anybody sick, especially when there was absolutely no reason for it to ever go that far.

They ALL need to be kicked to the curb in that county!

red white and blue

^^i second that^^J4J

Ctwhalers

Some of you non supporters crack me up. You sit there and do nothing you act like there is nothing I can do about its not my problem but if it happens to you watch you will come crying for help from us. I am very proud of jakes dad. He told you where to get your information from and how he truly feels. Email the AG'S office and tell them you want the whole ag report on Jake limberios. Tell them you want eveything jakes parents got including audio everything. Then you come on here and tell us supporters what you think now. I bet none of you will cause you do not want to be proven wrong. J4J

Ralph J.

When somebody in the past tried to expose the corruption in Sandusky County, where were the voices in support? Must you wait until it happens to you and a loved one to cry out for support? What about the rest of you, the silent majority? Why the silence?

http://www.u4.no/articles/the-ba...

Babo

Great article! Ohio's government has a lot in common with third world developing countries.

DickTracey

Matt, I would love to see you guys design the graph like they did in the Steubenville rape case. It showed the football players, prosecutors, lawyers, Board of Ed members, police, and then it connected them with lines, showing relationship, etc. It made a huge impact when laid out like that, to show how everybody was related and had something to cover up! Just reading these comments, I hear more connections or relatives than I knew.

It could be called the Six Degrees of Sandusky County.

Here is Steubenville's. http://www.democraticunderground...

DGMutley

That would be very interesting!

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