CHARDON, Ohio (AP) — Three men were indicted Wednesday on aggravated murder charges for a contract killing nine years ago in which the hit man went to the wrong house and killed a man with the same name as the intended target, Ohio authorities said.
The men were arrested June 1 on conspiracy and aggravated murder charges and are in custody at the Geauga County Jail, located in a town just east of Cleveland.
"Detectives have worked tirelessly on the case since 2006," County Prosecutor Jim Flaiz said. "It was never a closed case. They pursued suspects throughout Ohio and the United States."
The indicted men are Joseph Rosebrook, 59, of Saint Cloud, Florida; Carl Rosebrook, 57, of East Liberty, Ohio; and Chad South, 45, of Moraine, Ohio. No attorney information was available for them.
Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland said Joseph Rosebrook hired Chad South to kill a Daniel Ott. Authorities said it was in retaliation for Ott's willingness to testify against Joseph Rosebrook, the operator of a stolen car operation. His cooperation had forced Rosebrook to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge in central Ohio and accept a 10-year sentence.
McClelland said the hired man broke into a home in northeast Ohio and, after a struggle, killed 31-year-old Daniel Ott with a shotgun.
But it was the wrong house and the wrong Daniel Ott.
The only thing the slain Daniel Ott was guilty of was having the name Daniel Ott. He worked at a greenhouse nursery and lived an unassuming life with his girlfriend in quiet Burton Township.
Rosebrook was released in March 2014 and moved to Florida. Joseph Rosebrook's brother, Carl, handled the payment to South while his brother was in prison, McClelland said.
It took wiretaps, the help of state investigators and dogged determination to finally arrest the three men, McClelland said. The case took so long to solve because promising leads went nowhere thanks to Joe Rosebrook's terrifying reputation. McClelland said Rosebrook specialized in witness intimidation and that he remains a suspect in the death of an associate killed in 1999 after he cooperated with authorities in an earlier criminal case against Rosebrook.
"Detectives repeatedly ran into the phrase, 'I know what you want, but they will kill me,'" McClelland said. "Witnesses flat out refused to talk."
The Daniel Ott who was the intended target has survived two assassination attempts, McClelland said. The sheriff wouldn't say where that Daniel Ott lives for his protection.
Authorities won't say why the hit man picked out the wrong Daniel Ott.