COLUMBUS — Scioto County Prosecutor Shane Tieman announced last week that the Ohio Attorney General’s Office will be reviewing the homicide investigation of a county jail inmate.
Kevin L. Bailey, a 56-year-old from Portsmouth, died after a May 26 altercation with officers. He died at a Columbus hospital that following Monday, his autopsy revealing “complications of blunt force trauma to head, neck and torso,” to be the causes of death.
On Monday, Tieman detailed the status of the investigation and the process taken to get to this step. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, in addition to an internal review by the county Sheriff’s Office for employment issues, conducted separate investigations and submitted their findings to the AG Office.
For a few weeks, Tieman said BCI and the Sheriff’s Office waited on the autopsy report from the Franklin County Coroners.
To avoid a conflict of interests, where the Prosecutor’s office represents the sheriff’s department on day-to-day matters, Tieman requested that the AG special prosecution team lead the prosecution effort on the behalf of the state.
Chief Deputy Todd Miller said previously in a news release that Bailey had attempted to flee from officers and struck his head on an open door during the struggle. An emergency squad arrived at the scene, taking him to Columbus.
Vocal in her pursuit of answers, Bailey’s sister Karen Skaggs led a June protest where community members marched from Tracy Park to the Sheriff’s Office.
Skaggs attempted unsuccessfully to speak with officers, the investigation still pending. Her understanding of the incident does not align with the department’s statement, where she believes a deputy used excessive force and “slammed his head into the concrete floor several times.”
“I just want the truth. I know that not every deputy in there is bad. I know there are some good ones,” Skaggs told the Daily Times during the protest. “We have had anonymous reports from deputies tell us they are disgusted by what happened to him. I just want the one who is bad to be brought forward and justice to be served.”
Following Tieman’s release, Skaggs expressed her frustration that charges have yet to be filed and with the individual who she believes murdered her brother in a statement released to the publication. These past months have brought her a lot of sadness, she said, reflecting on what he was thinking during the incident.
“I feel that why should he get to spend the holidays with his family when Kevin doesn’t get to because that coward beat him to death,” she said, as it has been six months since Bailey’s death. “I’m sorry, but I can’t call him a man. He is a coward for doing that to a man that was handcuffed and could not defend himself in any way. I want my chance to look this person in the face and say a few things to him.”
The Daily Times reached out to the Attorney General’s Office and was given a statement from the office.
“The Ohio Attorney General’s Special Prosecution section is reviewing the case at the request of the Scioto County Prosecutor. I do not have any additional updates to share regarding the case while it is under investigation.”
Tieman did not discuss any details as to the investigations’ findings Monday, who earlier released the following statement on Facebook June 8:
“Please be advised that it is the policy of the Prosecuting Attorney to not publicly discuss pending investigations. Not only is it a policy, it is an ethical duty not to discuss details of such with the media. Such speech before a trial takes place could taint potential jurors and thereby undermine the integrity of the judicial system,” he said.
“While I understand the outrage expressed by members of the community with respect to some very high profile matters, it is the prosecutor’s duty to seek justice through the court system and leave his or her talking to the courtroom.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.