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

chuckles

AG Dewine has asked visiting judge in Limberios grand jury brouhaha to review the selection process - specifically whether Sandusky County Clerk of Courts Tracy Overmyer made the required publications about the grand jury. Thanks to Fremont News-Messenger for this update.

sash

Thanks for the tip chuckles. They also answered my questions about the process I asked in the previous story that no one answered. Computer generated jury list produced by an outside vendor.

holysee

" The Sandusky Register deserves and enormous congratulation for allowing people to post anonymously. People cannot post on the News-Messenger for fear of retaliation. We must always praise and cherish such dedication as the SR has shown, not passing these comments off to FB. This could have never happened without them!

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