Officials address Roush homicide investigation

By Sarah Hawley - [email protected]

POMEROY, Ohio — Local officials, including Meigs County Sheriff Keith Wood, released statements on Monday regarding the ongoing homicide investigation related to the death of Kane Roush which occurred this spring.

The shooting death of Roush occurred on April 4 at his Legion Terrace, Pomeroy, Ohio residence, and to date no suspect has been publicly identified and no charges have been filed.

“This case is a top priority,” stated Sheriff Wood.

“We continue to gather information on this case. I understand the frustrations of the public wanting to know something quickly. To protect the integrity of this case, and to secure an arrest and conviction, all information pertaining to this investigation must remain confidential, not for public knowledge,” wrote Wood in the news release.

Wood’s statement continued, “I’m confident, as your Sheriff, that the professionals that are investigating this case (including the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation) are gathering facts and information for not only an arrest, but convictions of any and all persons involved.”

Wood reiterated that he feels this is an isolated incident and that there is no danger to the public.

“Our job is to carefully and diligently investigate this case, look for the right answers from this violent crime that occurred, and gather evidence to make an arrest and conviction,” stated Wood.

“Kane Roush, his parents, family, friends, along with the community, need closure. I ask you to please give respect to this family at this time,” concluded the statement from Wood.

In recent weeks, “Justice for Kane” signs have been posted around the Mason and Meigs County area, as well as a Facebook group launched calling for justice in the case.

The page has generated calls to local officials urging action with regard to the case.

One of the officials receiving those calls has been Meigs County Common Please Court Judge Linda Warner.

Judge Warner issued the following statement via the Meigs County Community Corrections Facebook page on Monday morning:

Thank you for contacting the Court. The murder of Kane Roush is heartbreaking, and we would all like to have answers about this tragedy immediately. However, as the Court, the local judicial branch, I cannot be involved in the investigation of any case. There are a number of reasons why I cannot, on my own, request the Ohio Bureau of Investigation (BCI) or the Attorney General to conduct the investigation or control the prosecutor’s presentation of any case or request for prosecutorial assistance from the AG.

First, and foremost is that the Court can only take an action, make a decision or orders, when a matter or request is filed in the Court by someone with standing. The Court cannot do anything based upon a phone call or an email from concerned citizens. The prosecuting attorney brings all criminal actions to the Common Pleas Court after Law Enforcement has completed an investigation. What potential charges are brought are at the discretion of the Prosecutor and eventually the Grand Jury. The Court does not appoint the Attorney General to provide assistance as a special prosecutor or as a special assistant prosecutor without a request from the prosecuting attorney.

It is only AFTER that investigation and filing of charges that the Court can get involved.

Members of the public are not allowed to dictate or control the manner in which the law enforcement agency or agencies conduct the investigation or how the prosecuting attorney presents the potential criminal case.

Additionally, I cannot be involved in or take part in an investigation, not only because I am from the wrong branch of government to do that, but also because if I have knowledge of a situation, outside what is presented in the Court proceedings, that likely would create a conflict of interest and then I would not be able to sit as judge on the case. If that happened, the County would have the expense (and possible delays) of a visiting judge to sit by assignment.

Apparently, there has been incorrect or confusing information put out on social media, emails and messages about what I can do, as Common Pleas Court Judge, on my own. My understanding with prior inquiries was that I would not be able to do so on my own. I have made extensive inquires to see whether that is still the case. I wanted to make sure there has been no change in the procedure for requests of the Attorney General and BCI assistance, since I last checked. I found that the rules have not changed. A Common Pleas Court Judge does not have the ability, absent a valid request from law enforcement or a prosecutor, to request the BCI or Attorney General to take charge of an investigation or prosecution of a potential criminal case. Only a law enforcement agency may request investigative assistance from BCI and only a prosecuting attorney can request the appointment of a special prosecuting attorney or the appointment of a special assistance prosecuting attorney.

With this in mind, I have asked the Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney if they could tell me if BCI is involved in the Kane Roush homicide investigation. I have been informed from the Prosecuting Attorney and Meigs County Sheriff that BCI has been involved in the investigation since Easter Morning and continues to be actively involved in the investigation.

I certainly understand the frustration with the pace of investigations, in general. But I also understand that often law enforcement elects to have a case fully investigated and completely ready to go to trial before charges are filed. I can tell you that if and when this matter is before the Court it will be given utmost attention.

Thank you for your communications and concern.

© 2021 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Sarah Hawley

[email protected]

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.