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Bond, hearing set for Ohio murder suspect

Radimaker

CHESAPEAKE, Ohio — A preliminary evidence hearing was set in Lawrence County Municipal Court on Friday at an arraignment hearing for a man charged this week with beating his roommate to death in Chesapeake, Ohio.

Kenneth J. Radimaker, 43, of Chesapeake, was arraigned Friday on a murder charge accusing him in the May 29 beating death of his roommate, James A. Baker Jr., 52. He faces at least 15 years and up to life imprisonment if found guilty.

Municipal Court Judge Don Capper set a $500,000 cash-only bond Friday and appointed defense attorney Roger Smith to represent the defendant. Radimaker said he no longer has a job and only has about $500 saved, so he could not afford to pay an attorney on his own.

The defendant is set to return to court at 10 a.m. Monday, June 3, for a preliminary hearing, where evidence against the defendant is expected to be presented to determine if there is enough proof to hold him in jail while the case is pending in court.

According to Lawrence County Sheriff Jeff Lawless, the investigation into Rad-imaker began when officers responded at about 1 a.m. May 29 to a call alleging domestic violence was occurring at a home along Private Drive 129, Township Road 287 in Chesapeake.

When deputies arrived, Baker was found unconscious in a bedroom and Lawrence County EMS was unable to revive him. He was declared dead at the scene and his body was sent to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office for an autopsy.

Lawless said a witness said the pair had lived together in the home for the past several months. The two began to have a verbal altercation May 29, which turned physical when Radimaker began to assault Baker with his hands, the witness told police.

Radimaker is accused of fleeing the scene after the fight before police arrived. After an extensive search of the area by deputies, he was found about two hours later in a wooded area behind the home.

The case is under investigation by Lawrence County Sheriff's detectives. Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation crime scene technicians also processed the scene for evidence.

Follow reporter Courtney Hessler at Facebook.com/CHesslerHD and via Twitter @HesslerHD.


HHS grads celebrate the present before looking ahead

HUNTINGTON — Three hundred fifty-eight seniors from Huntington High School crossed the stage at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena on Friday night during the 23rd annual commencement ceremony.

While graduation is both a time to reflect on the past four years and look ahead to future endeavors, HHS student body president and salutatorian Anastasia Jones-Burdick encouraged her graduating classmates to enjoy the moment because they have earned the right to do so.

"We should and must focus on the present. We are making our family and loved ones very proud," Jones-Burdick said to her fellow seniors. "Today as we focus on the present and as we stand up and move our tassels from right to left, let us remember that we are right where we are meant to be.

"Be there in the moment, because you deserve it."

Indeed, they do deserve it. Hidden inside each of the 358 graduates are hopes, dreams and goals for the future.

Jones-Burdick achieved a goal she set her first day at the school — to address her classmates at graduation. Several student-athletes will continue their careers at the college level, eight seniors will join the armed forces and swear to protect the nation, and all have accomplished a great milestone in earning their high school diploma.

Huntington High students earned over $4 million is scholarship money, including 51 PROMISE Scholarship winners, though more are expected with ACT and SAT test scores from April and May still coming in. Eight seniors finished as AP scholars, meaning they received scores of 3 or higher on three or more AP exams, two finished as Scholars with Honor after passing four exams, and Tristan Patton was the school's only AP Scholar with Distinction after passing five such exams. HHS graduated 68 seniors with very high honors, 29 with high honors and 27 with honors.

Student speakers at the ceremony were Jones-Burdick, senior class president Andrew Legg and valedictorian Zadokite Wood.

The graduating seniors chose baby blue and white as the class colors, the lotus as the class flower and "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth as the class song.


Commission accepts an improved audit report
CABELL COUNTY

HUNTINGTON — Cabell County commissioners voted unanimously to accept the audit report for their budget year ending June 30, 2018, during a special meeting Friday at the Cabell County Courthouse in Huntington.

County officials said it was a very good audit.

"When comparing to past audits, it is my understanding this one went a long way in the right direction," said Commissioner Kelli Sobonya.

Prior audit findings found a material weakness in financial reporting and a significant deficiency with outstanding checks.

Regarding the material weakness in financial reporting, several fiscal year 2016 end-of-year full-accrual adjustments to the government-wide statements were not reversed out; therefore, the fiscal year 2017 beginning net position was overstated on the statement of activities.

Also, deferred outflow for the unamortized loss on bond refunding was not recorded on the statement of net position, bonds payable were not correctly recorded on the statement of net position and the

agency funds were not correctly recorded on the statement of fiduciary net position.

Regarding the significant deficiency with outstanding checks, the Cabell County Sheriff's Tax Office had a large number of outstanding checks on hand, dating back a number of years, with no definite steps taken to clear them. As a result, the reconciliation of monthly bank accounts was unnecessarily complicated.

A policy has been adopted so that the Tax Office can review the lists of outstanding checks with the County Clerk's Office and the County Commission to determine whether to receipt them back into the appropriate fund and reissue the check, or turn them over to the Unclaimed Property Division of the West Virginia Treasurer's Office.

According to the independent audit report, all of those prior audit findings have been fully corrected.

The audit was done by BHM CPA Group Inc. and will now be sent to the state Auditor's Office in Charleston.

The state Auditor's Chief Inspector Division ensures that financial accountability is present at the local level of government by annually conducting and overseeing over 700 financial audits of counties, municipalities, boards of education and other miscellaneous local boards and authorities.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.