Two of the biggest crime stories in Clark and Champaign Counties in 2019 were allegedly committed by teens.
Natasha Ellis, 16, of New Carlisle and her 13-year-old co-conspirator are accused in a stabbing that killed one and injured two others.
Ellis faces charges of aggravated murder, murder and attempted murder in adult court, while her 13-year-old co-conspirator is charged as a “serious youthful offender.”
In Logan County, Brycen Caudill, 16, admitted to stabbing his mother to death and beating her with a baseball bat. He also faces a murder charge in adult court.
Here is a more in-depth look at Ellis and Caudill’s alleged crimes and four other major crime stories reported by the Springfield News-Sun in 2019.
1. Two teenage girls accused in fatal New Carlisle stabbing
Natasha Ellis, now 16, is accused in a fatal New Carlisle stabbing that killed one and injured two others. Ellis’s 13-year-old co-conspirator is charged as a “serious youthful offender.”
Ellis is accused of carrying out an attack on her then 13-year-old friend’s family members at a home on North Church Street in New Carlisle in the middle of the night on May 23.
The 13-year-old’s mother, Lee A. Moore, 36, died in the attack. The girl’s father and a then-17-year-old boy were also hurt — but survived.
Ellis has been indicted by a Clark County Grand Jury on charges of aggravated murder, murder, attempted murder and felonious assault. She will be tried as an adult.
The 13-year-old will stay in juvenile court and has been charged as a serious youthful offender, which could result in a mixture of juvenile and adult sentences down the line.
Sheriff’s deputies have said previously that even though Ellis may have acted by herself, the planning of the attack was done in unison with the 13-year-old.
In an interrogation video shown in a July hearing, Ellis told investigators that her friend left weapons out in the home in certain places for her to use in the stabbing.
At the same hearing, a deputy told the court that Ellis told her the night of the attack the two girls were in communication right up until moments before the stabbing occurred.
A trial date has not yet been set in either of the girl’s cases.
READ THE LATEST: Teen accused in fatal New Carlisle stabbing going to adult court
2. Logan County teen accused in mom’s fatal stabbing
Brycen Caudill, 16, admitted to stabbing his mom to death inside their home on Aug. 16, according to according to Logan County Sheriff Randall Dodds. He has been charged with one count of murder in adult court.
Crystal Caudill, 36, ran from her home at 207 E. Main St. in DeGraff, to a neighbor’s for help after she was allegedly stabbed and attacked with a baseball bat by her son, according to Dodds. The neighbor then called police.
Crystal Caudill was transported to Mary Rutan Hospital in Bellefontaine where she died. It’s unclear how many times she was stabbed.
After Crystal Caudill was transported to the hospital, police began searching for Brycen Caudill, who had fled the scene. He later called the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office and turned himself in.
Brycen Caudill was then interviewed by investigators where he stated he had no reason for wanting to kill his mother, Dodds said. The teen said he had been thinking about it the night before and just did it, police said.
Caudill’s jury trial is slated to begin on March 31, 2020, however, Logan County Prosecutor Eric Stewart said Caudill is expected to plead guilty to the murder charge in a deal between the prosecution and the defense.
3. South Charleston man sentenced in crash that killed 20-year-old
A South Charleston man who drove while impaired on Interstate 70 and caused a crash that killed a 20-year-old New York resident was sentenced to the maximum prison term allowed by law.
Marc Terrell, 37, was sentenced in late October to prison for at least 13½ years, with a maximum sentence of 17½ years.
Clark County Common Pleas Court Judge Douglas Rastatter also permanently suspended Terell’s driver’s license.
Terrell pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and OVI in connection with a July 2 crash on Interstate 70 that killed 20-year-old Matthew “Billy” Eskeli IV, of Falconer, New York.
An Ohio State Highway Patrol investigation found that Terrell was driving about 135 mph and his blood alcohol concentration was more than three times Ohio’s legal driving limit.
READ THE LATEST: S outh Charleston man sentenced in crash that killed 20-year-old
4. Officer-involved deadly shooting at Buck Creek State Park
Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin Nawman shot and killed 28-year-old Michael Spencer at Buck Creek State Park in June after Spencer ran at Nawman with a knife, according to the Clark County Sheriff’s office.
A statement released by the sheriff’s office about the shooting said Nawman requested backup when he saw Spencer, who had blood on his hands and neck, holding a knife.
Nawman and other deputies approached Spencer slowly and attempted to defuse the situation, the statement said.
Body camera footage shows Spencer run at Nawman with the knife — before shots ring out. The video also shows deputies and first responders trying to save Spencer after he was shot.
Spencer was later found to have methamphetamine in his system during the time of his death, according to toxicology reports from Spencer’s autopsy.
After the incident, Nawman was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure.
A Clark County grand jury chose not to indict Nawman in the shooting. The grand jury cited self-defense in its decision.
Clark County Prosecutor Dan Driscoll said the grand jury found that the deputy, “acted reasonably and that the shooting was justified.”
Nawman has since returned to work.
5. Springfield parents charged, sentenced in death of their baby
Springfield parents were sentenced to prison in early September in connection to the death of their 21-month old child.
Brandon Beedy and Caitlyn Heinzen were sentenced to eight years in prison by Clark County Common Pleas Judge Douglas Rastatter.
The couple had previously pleaded guilty to attempted involuntary manslaughter. The eight-year sentence was the maximum the parents could have faced, according to court documents outlining the couple’s pleas agreement.
The two were charged in connection to 21-month-old Camden Beedy’s death. It was determined by law enforcement after an investigation that the child had died from dehydration after not being properly cared for.
Beedy and Heinzen’s legal troubles began in January when Springfield police and EMS were called to their home on the 1900 block of Kenton Street. Beedy had called to report Camden was unresponsive in his crib, according to a police report.
Camden was pronounced dead-on-arrival, according to police.
Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Aaron Heskett said Camden was left alone for what was estimated to be about a day. Heskett said in court that the baby had been dead for hours before anyone noticed.
Rastatter said during the sentencing that both parents tested positive for several drugs, including methamphetamine, just two days after their child had died.
After serving their prison sentence, the two will be on probation for three years.
READ THE LATEST: Springfield parents sentenced in the death of their baby
6. Logan County mother who killed her three sons sentenced
After four years — the case against a Logan County mom accused of killing her three sons is officially closed.
Brittany Pilkington, 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and one count of involuntary manslaughter in Logan County Common Pleas Court in late November.
Judge Mark O’Conner sentenced her to 37 years to life in prison, which was the recommended sentenced agreed upon by both the prosecution and defense.
Pilkington was first charged with aggravated murder in 2015. She was accused of smothering infant, Niall, in July 2014, 4-year-old Gavin in April 2015 and infant Noah in Aug. 2015.
She had pleaded not guilty to the charges up until November.
Prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty in the case prior to the sentencing, but that possibility to now off the table.
Pilkington’s defense team fought the potential death penalty sentence, filing a motion earlier this year that called for the judge to rule out the death penalty because they said Pilkington has intellectual disabilities. Pilkington’s team argued her IQ was 71.
Pilkington will be eligible for parole in 2056.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.