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Brother of Ohio massacre victim charged with tampering with evidence

May 16, 2017  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Brother of Ohio massacre victim charged with tampering with evidence

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ASSOCIATED PRESS — Ohio authorities on Tuesday charged the brother of one of the eight relatives slain in an unsolved massacre with tampering with evidence and vandalism for allegedly destroying a GPS device.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office accused James Manley of destroying the device being used in the investigation of the slayings. Manley, 40, of Peebles, is the brother of victim Dana Rhoden.

Manley’s phone is disconnected, and online court records don’t list an attorney. Manley’s father, Leonard Manley, told the Cincinnati Enquirer his son would turn himself in.

Seven adults and one teenage boy from the Rhoden family were slain in April 2016. They were found shot at four homes near Piketon, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) south of Columbus. Three children were found unharmed.

Manley removed and destroyed a GPS device that authorities had stuck to the underside of his truck, which they believe was “used as a means of the commission of the crime.” (JOHN MINCHILLO/AP)

Investigators put a tracking device on a truck driven by James Manley, according to a search warrant obtained by the newspaper from Leonard Manley.

The charges “are not uncommon when a witness destroys such a device used in a government investigation,” the attorney general’s office said.

The search warrant indicated that investigators believe the truck was used in connection with an aggravated murder or by a person intending such a crime, but it doesn’t specify a connection to the Rhoden homicide investigation, and it doesn’t name James Manley as a suspect, the newspaper reported.

Leonard Manley, who lost three grandchildren in the massacre, told the newspaper that his son and his eldest daughter were close and there is no way he could be involved in the killings. He said it seems investigators are “grasping at straws.”

James Manley, the brother of an Ohio massacre victim, was charged with evidence tampering and vandalism Tuesday. (JOHN MINCHILLO/AP)

“It’s like a wound and then you pick at it,” he told the Enquirer, “and they are starting to pick pretty hard.”

Investigators have also taken a trailer linked to the family of one victim’s ex-boyfriend.

The trailer was taken from one of multiple sites that authorities searched late last week. Bernie Brown, who owns property in Peebles where the trailer had been stored, said its owners needed a place to keep household items after recently selling their Adams County farm.

Whatever significance the trailer might have hasn’t been publicly disclosed. The Pike County sheriff and the Ohio attorney general’s office won’t discuss details of any searches or other parts of the investigation into the slayings.

No arrests have been made, and family members have pleaded for anyone with information that might help solve the case to come forward.

Authorities have executed several dozen search warrants in the lengthy investigation.

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