Ohio man faces death penalty for slaying of police officer

Reuters News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2016 2:46 PM

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - An Ohio man accused of shooting and killing a police officer could face the death penalty after a grand jury on Monday returned aggravated murder charges against him, county prosecutors said.

A Knox County grand jury handed up a 10-count indictment that included aggravated murder, grand theft auto and tampering with evidence against Herschel R. Jones III for the murder of Danville Police Officer Thomas Cottrell in January.

Knox County Prosecutor Mitch McConville said his office plans to seek the death penalty for the Jan. 17 shooting.

Cottrell was found shot dead behind a municipal building in the central Ohio village of Danville, about 60 miles northeast of Columbus, less than 30 minutes after police received a call from a woman warning her ex-boyfriend, "had left with weapons and was looking to kill an officer.”

Cottrell was found shot in the head, and his gun and police cruiser were missing.

Two hours later, officers spotted Jones, 32, running from a home, officials said. After a short foot chase, he was captured.

Jones, who has been held in police custody on a parole violation, attempted to burn Cottrell’s clothing and dispose of his gun and police cruiser after the shooting, prosecutors charged.

Jones was also charged with aggravated burglary, kidnapping and assault stemming from a separate incident in November.

A judge has not yet been assigned to try the case.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Ben Klayman and Jonathan Oatis)