WARREN - Those in law enforcement were recognized for their service to the public at the annual meeting of the Trumbull County Homicide Investigation and Prosecution Unit.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said the task force was formed in 1984 to provide mutual assistance among police agencies in Trumbull County in homicide cases and coordinate the investigations through the county prosecutor's office. The emphasis was to provide experienced homicide investigators from larger police departments to help the efforts of smaller departments in major homicide cases.
Watkins said partners in the organization include the Trumbull County coroner, sheriff, prosecutor, Warren City Police Department and the Howland Township Police Department, along with various other city and township departments of Trumbull County.
The Attorney General's Office Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol have played vital roles in the task force by providing the assistance, he said.
Guest speakers at the event included polygraph expert Bill Evans, who explained the role of polygraphs in investigations and Stephen Schumacker, deputy attorney general and head of the law enforcement section under Attorney General Mike Dewine, who updated the group on upcoming programs and assistance his office can offer to local law enforcement.
Service award recipients are:
Williams Evans II of Polytech Associates for his more than 30 years of service to various law enforcement agencies of Trumbull County by providing polygraph examinations to suspects in homicide and child abuse cases;
Gary Vingle, retired chief of detectives for the Warren City Police Department, for the years of service as a Trumbull County Deputy Sheriff and Warren police officer in homicide investigations, including successful death penalty prosecutions;
Mark Massucci, Trumbull County Children Services Board, for his many years of service both as a Warren City police detective and investigator for the Children Services Board since 1994. His work has included death penalty cases and many child assault cases;
Darleen Shope, Trumbull County Children Services Board, for 25 years of work as a case investigator and supervisor for the investigation unit of the agency and child death cases;
Warren City detectives Wayne Mackey, Michael Stabile and Michael Currington for their assistance in the investigation of the September 2011 death of 15-moth old A'nana Brantley by mother Joy Hodge who was convicted by a jury and sentenced to life in prison in December 2013;
Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers Don Walker and Kevin Brown for their assistance in State vs. Paul Wodianka, in which their investigative efforts resulted in 10-year prison sentence for driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and killing Jamie and Emily Danes in September 2012;
Girard city police Capt. John Norman and patrolman Scott Strain for their assistance in the investigation and successful prosecution of Tyler Stevens and the heroin dealer James Patterson who was convicted at trial and sentenced to 20 years for the drug overdose death of Christine Sheesley in April 2012;
Liberty Township police Capt. Toby Meloro, Sgt. Robert Greaf and detective Tom Couche for their assistance in the investigation and successful prosecution of five defendants including the principal offenders Melvin Turner in the November 2009 deaths of Wilneice Green and Ja'Brayasia Green.