When Clarence Fry murdered girlfriend Tamela Hardison last year, the most horrifying thing wasn't that her 2-year-old and 6-year-old grandchildren witnessed the crime. It was that the murder easily could have been prevented.
Before Fry brutally stabbed Hardison on July 31, 2005, he'd appeared before Akron Municipal Court Judge Annalisa Williams three times in less than six months for domestic violence against Hardison. Each time, Williams sent the killer-to-be on his merry way.
During his first appearance in February 2005, Fry was found guilty of domestic violence against Hardison and a restraining order was granted. Two months later, Fry appeared before Williams again, this time for criminal trespassing. He received little more than community service.
Then Fry appeared before Williams for a third time on July 18. He was charged with assault after he choked Hardison and threatened to kill her. But Fry's threats didn't seem to concern Williams, who let him go on a signature bond exactly a week later. (Williams did not respond to interview requests.)
Five days after his release, Fry made good on his promise by plunging a butcher's knife into Hardison in front of her grandchildren. A Summit County jury finally convicted him of aggravated murder last week. Fortunately, Williams did not preside over the trial.
The Bigfoot of deadbeats
Filmmaker Bob Gray is the easiest guy in the world to find if you want to talk about his latest project, Bigfoot, which he shot in and around Mentor on a budget consisting of change he found under his sofa cushions.
But if you're trying to track him down for the $68,000 in child support he owes his ex-wife for their teenage son, you'd have better luck capturing the real Bigfoot.
Diane Gray hadn't seen her ex-husband in 17 years. He vanished from their home in Canton when their son, Alex, was only a year old, to pursue his dreams of Hollywood stardom.
His career had its ups and downs, the highlight being a searing performance as a choir singer in the slasher flick Stepfather II: Make Room for Daddy. He even made a foray into primetime -- on QVC. But Gray has always been an A-list deadbeat.
"In all this time I don't even think I've received $1,000 from the $68,000 he owes," says Diane. "He just abandoned us."
It wasn't until last year, after Bigfoot premiered at the storied Mentor Lagoons Marina, that Diane learned her husband was back in town. For Alex, it was the first time he'd seen his father's face. (Of the movie, Alex says: "From what I saw it was really, really hokey.")
Diane reported Bob to Mentor Police, who set up a sting operation at the local IGA, where Bob would eventually come to refill the shelf of Bigfoot DVDs. Though he never showed up -- Diane suspects he was tipped off -- he was arrested nonetheless at his home near Brunswick and taken to the Stark County Jail.
Gray called Scene to talk about Bigfoot, but went silent when we started asking questions about his family, making it the first time he's ever declined to comment.
I skank for $$
Lately, the "party of fiscal responsibility" has been misplacing money faster than a drunk on payday.
Last week brought news that $1 billion in Hurricane Katrina relief was squandered on such needy causes as sex-change operations and Dom Perignon at Hooters.
Then there's the recent Department of Defense audit, which found that $250 million in taxpayer money was paid to Halliburton for "unreasonable and unsupported" expenses in Iraq.
So you'd think that the U.S. Senate would make like Cuba Gooding in Jerry Maguire and demand that contractors show them the money.
Instead, the Senate voted 55-43 along party lines last week to quash a proposal to strengthen protections against fraud and abuse on Iraq contracts.
Among those voting against fiscal responsibility was none other than Ohio Senator Mike DeWine (R-Lapdog), who, coincidentally, has collected $12,500 in campaign contributions from Halliburton. (It's believed that if you send him 50 bucks, he'll also pass a special resolution to void all your gambling debts.)
"When it comes to Mike DeWine and his pay-to-play friends in Washington, he doesn't seem to even want to ask the questions," says Joanna Kuebler, spokeswoman for DeWine opponent Sherrod Brown.
Unless, of course, the question is "How do you want me to vote, Mr. President?"
Who's the boss?
Jessica Ross has achieved one of the most coveted American dreams -- beating up her boss.
After getting fired from Direct Detail in Brook Park, Ross responded by punching her boss in the face and keying his car. Alas, her reward was charges for simple assault and criminal endangering. Her weapons: "hands, feet, teeth," according to police.
But when contacted by Punch, Ross did not seem as elated as one might expect. "He shorted me money," she explained matter-of-factly before hanging up the phone.
Sympathy for Ben
Years of losing has a special way of embittering sports fans, particularly when their arch rival is busy winning championships. But even Browns fans -- to whom winning football is as foreign as game-day sobriety -- wouldn't use a rival's brutal motorcycle accident as shit-talking fodder. Right?
Just hours after Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wrecked his bike last week, Browns fans took to the internet, finally armed with amusing bulletin-board material.
At Cleveland.com, a Browns fan quickly dubbed the Findlay native "Toothlessberger." Another fan reported a "rumor" that Big Ben was replacing his lost teeth with "a grill that says 'Thanks Ref' in diamonds."
Fans at clevelandbrowns.com had their own barrel of multimedia fun, posting a slew of "post-op" photos of Roethlisberger. One featured a toothless hockey player. But the Have You No Heart Award? went to Dave E, who posted a picture of the loveable Sloth from Goonies, who was a former all-state high school player before wrecking his Harley in '82.