Judge issues 'gag order' for triple homicide case

Convicted killer arrested Sept. 10
Matt Westerhold
Sep 26, 2012

Erie County Common Pleas Court Judge Tygh Tone issued a "pretrial and trial publicity" order Tuesday, barring anyone associated with the arrest and trial of Curtis Clinton from talking about the case outside the courtroom. 

Clinton, 41, is accused in the violent rape of a 17-year-old girl Sept. 2 and killing Heather Jackson, 23, and her two children, Celina, 3, and Wayne, 20 months, on Sept. 8. 

Clinton, who was released from state prison in February after serving 13 years for the 1997 slaying of teenager Misty Keckler of Fostoria, was arrested Sept. 10 and charged with three counts of aggravated murder, rape and other felony counts. He is being held at the Erie County Jail.

Tone's order mirrors a similar order he issued after the arrest of Kevin D. Randleman last year. Randleman, who killed Sandusky police officer Andrew Dunn in March 2011, was convicted in a plea bargain and sentenced to life in prison without parole last month.

Commonly referred to as a "gag order," the ban prohibiting attorneys, police investigators, witnesses and others from talking about the case outside the courtroom is designed to assure a defendent can obtain a fair trial.

"The court finds that there is a liklihood that extrajudicial statements made by (trial participants) could disrupt the process by which a fair trial must be preserved," the order states. 

 

Comments

Julie R.

Yes, this monster is just soooo entitled to a fair trial and blah, blah, blah.

It never fails to amaze me how scr*wed up the system is.

4shizzle

Why was he not executed for the first murder?

czechurself

Because he was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and the maximum penalty for that crime is 10 years. He received the maximum penalty and served the full term.

4shizzle

Thank you for that explanation.

czechurself

4shizzle my nizzle

wiredmama222

Yes, the good old gag rule. So now we get bits and pieces. No tanted jury pool on this one is that the idea? Except we all have enough info already. So what is the difference? It's like locking the door after the crime. Makes no sense whatsoever. Isn't it a little late now?

SamAdams

Julie R.: If even the worst of us isn't entitled to a fair trial, then NONE of us are entitled to a fair trial. You have the right to an opinion as to what's deserved by this particular accused (I support free speech, too, meaning even that with which I disagree), but you're NOT entitled to suggest the system is "scr*wed up" because we actually bother with unalienable rights in this country!

czechurself

I second that emotion, Sam

Julie R.

The victims, of course, are never treated fairly but the scr*wed up system says the low-life criminals should be treated with kid gloves.

As for this horrendous case --- I have to agree with wiredmama. We already have enough information on what that evil monster did to Heather Jackson and those two babies and we also know all about his first victim thirteen years ago. We also know that he brutally raped and choked a 17-year-old a week before the murders of Heather Jackson and her two babies, so what's with the gag order?

SamAdams

How, pray tell, do you suggest we treat victims "fairly?" I'd suggest we put them on trial and, if guilty, punish them to the maximum extent of the law. That doesn't work for you? You'd prefer lynch mobs? Vigilante groups?

Victims DO get short shrift, but that's because they didn't volunteer for whatever it was that was done to them. And it's terrible that victims often have to relive their trauma in a courtroom to ensure that the bad guy really DOES get what's coming to him. But that's part and parcel of the victimization, unfortunately. To do otherwise - to engage in some sort of "eye for an eye" behavior complete with mob mentality - makes the rest of us little better than the criminal.

In this case, you've already found the accused guilty. And yet NONE of us in the general public has access to ALL of the information the police have gathered and the prosecution will present. All we know is that he's been accused and there's enough evidence and/or suspicion to warrant charging him. I hope you're not on the jury for this one! In fact, if that's how you render judgment and recommend punishment, I hope you're never on ANY jury!

Do I think he's guilty? Yeah, it sounds like he is. But to skip over the process that will PROVE him so, and to demand immediate punishment without a legitimate conviction, is ill-advised, immoral, and unconstitutional to boot.

wiredmama222

Thans Julie. I wondered if anyone even read that. Sometimes I wonder if the courts even think about pre trial media exposure and what that means. Of course this guys lawyers will do everything to get this moved out of this town, especially with a death penalty. And, just as Randleman, will get the no answer, just as Randleman's attorney did. Wonder what that will be like. How long before the bargining will begin, just like Randleman, and he goes to jail for life with no parole, like Randleman.
I can see it all, like it was in flashback. This man will NOT get the death penalty is my prediction. I will owe you a cup of coffee is he does, ok?

deertracker

You may know but I don't. We only know what has been told to us. Yes, technically we do have enough information to render an opinion but there's still lots of facts out there. I say show us the monster that he really is.

Bluto

If it so important for some to know every detail of such horrific crimes , then they should go to these trials while they're in session instead of reading about it second hand . Perhaps this would fulfill some peoples need for macabre entertainment . Personaly , I have heard enough . Let the law ( hopefully ) get it right this time .

deertracker

Some of us do have jobs that only allows us to find out through the news. I do not consider it "entertainment" but after all the inuendo and rumors I would be okay with knowing the facts. I don't NEED to see the Dunn video but I still wonder what happened out there....except for the obvious.....fact of the matter is we only know what we were told.

luvblues2

If they don't make certain that this case is handled at the very best for the defendant, he may get a reduction in sentencing for a stupid technicality. Get your priorities in order. We will hear it in the news. They did not gag the media.

blueyedgrl1030

IDK luvblues the order says and others-could prohibit the media to a certain extent also. As far as I'm concerned to me this gag order just signifies what many many many people have said and questioned on here-SPD screwed up somewhere (ie..clinton flying under SPD's radar, no one knew he was released and back living in town until the report of the rape on the 17 yr old and STILL not going to question him or do SOMETHING)so in my mind this gag order is just a way for the whole Erie Co good ole boy club to help cover each others a$$es. If Judge Tone or ANYONE was worried about fair trials etc why wasn't this gag order issued immediately upon Clintons arraignment in Common Pleas Court? If some want to compare this to the gag order in the Randleman case Ive also seen posters on here question whether that gag order was actually a way for SPD NOT to have to release the in car camera video from officer Dunns cruiser that night. I myself never wanted to see such a horrid thing but there were some who did and the judge denied that-especially when the SR made the reuest for its release-seems kinda like the same here-theres been SOOOO much innuendo and rumors and gossip-especially on these blogs for days and weeks after this horrendous crime and no one stopped that but now all of a sudden a gag order gets issued? IDK just seems "fishy" to me-call me crazy but Ive seen it and been involved in watching the good ole boy club of Erie Co LE and the courts go out of their way to cover their a$$es after the fact just like Julie R continuously states on here. In my opinion Elizabeth Baumgartner was ALWAYS on the right track with her accusations-its just that the poor woman was sooo OBSESSED with trying to bring it forward she went looney with how to do that and dug herself one huge hole with her actions she chose to do. Refer back to the whole Baxter family fiasco-Kevin Baxter had his OWN BROTHER charged criminally because he wouldn't shut up with his accusations of Kevin Baxters wrongdoings. Yup face it people-the good ole boy club strikes again plain and simple.

luvblues2

I'm just sayin', blueyedgrl, let's not try to put icing on the cake before it's done baking. Everyone in this entire area wants to see this swiftly over and done with. Unfortunately, the court system doesn't work that way. They have other cases and many motions with lawyers to do it ALL in one day.

Bluto

@ Deertracker , I agree that we only know what we have been told . Whether that be from the police , the media , or what is written in these comments . What bothers me most though is that some have to interject their own personal beefs with LE or the local judicial systems , or politcs into every comment they make . After awhile don't you just ignore the paranoid and obsessed who's rants always come full circle ? I apologize if I sounded as if I meant you specifically . Everyone who reads these comments regularly knows the wackos.

deertracker

No need to apolgize. I know EXACTLY who you are referring to. I admit it, I am a bit of a crime junkie but I leave the real work to those that are actually qualified. The crimes of late have either never happened here or hasn't happened in my lifetime so it sparks a little more interest.

Julie R.

If you're referring to me, I have no personal beef with anybody in law enforcement other than maybe Sheriff Lyons for selling the property of my deceased mother and stepfather at a scam sheriff sale on orders from his buds at the courthouse. Other than that, the only ones I know in LE are ones from Huron but it's not because I'm a criminal or anything. I've just known them for years --- a couple since they were kids.

As for wackos --- the wackos are the ones that try to make others look nuts to cover up the truth about what goes on at the Erie County courthouse. As I said many times before --- one couldn't even MAKE UP the illegal crap that goes on there.

deertracker

I really was not referring to you but you do have your days but in all fairness we all do. Your issues seem to be more with the systen than just LE and you may have good reason. I think your comments have merit lots of times!

Bluto

I would love to see the day when the only thing to comment about was how good life is in our little corner of the world . A dream ? Perhaps , but a nice dream none the less .

czechurself

Bluto, if one day we will look back at this time in our lives and say those were the good 'ole days!! We will probably be sitting up on the third floor of FRMC, and deservedly so.. See ya there buddy :))

Swamp Fox

Sam Adams great comments, the worst of us, who in my opinion this guy is still deserves all of his rights.

TheIrish

SR should have phrased the headline more carefully considering the circumstances of the case..