Prosecutors are seeking links between a Springfield man who’s already been convicted of two murders and four Springfield women who were killed in the city between 2006 and 2008.
Law enforcement is looking into the murders of Buffy Jo Freeman, Angela Hanaway, Angela Kilgore and Shakura Walker, Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Dan Driscoll said. The women were killed within two years of each other.
Prentiss R. Hare is now a person of interest in each homicide, Driscoll said.
“We know from police records and some research we did that Mr. Hare was likely present in Springfield during that time period,” Driscoll said. “I believe there was evidence that all these women were linked to prostitution and drug use. Prentiss was in the area and anytime he was in the area I think he is a person of interest based on what we’ve seen from him and we think he needs to be someone we look at.”
The Springfield News-Sun has learned Hare might have known at least one of the victims before her death.
The family of Buffy Jo Freeman, a woman found dead at Snyder Park in 2007, told the Springfield News-Sun Hare and Freeman were friends.
“To my knowledge that is a fact,” Freeman’s aunt, Barbara Freeman, said. “I think they did drugs together to tell you the truth.”
Buffy Jo Freeman’s sister, Amanda Roth, also said Hare had connections with her sister before the death she says devastated her family.
“My mom ended up grieving herself to death over it,” Roth said. “I would like to see justice served so at least we could have that closure.”
The assistant prosecutor hopes anyone with any information related to the women’s deaths will come forward to police. The families of the women also ask that someone with information step up so that they can finally have justice.
Hare was convicted in 2016 of murdering Deshun Lumford, a man he choked to death over drugs and money, and pleaded guilty last month to killing Tiffany Chambers, the woman whose body was found in Greene County in 2015. It is believed by prosecutors that Chambers was murdered because she witnessed Hare kill Michael Frazier in Jacksonville. Hare does not face charges in that crime, and Florida prosecutors haven’t revealed if they have plans to prosecute Hare.
He’s serving two possible life sentences for the murder convictions.
Hare’s defense attorney, Anthony Vannoy, did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Buffy Jo Freeman
Buffy Jo Freeman was last seen alive at the intersection of Shaffer Street and Main Street at around 11:30 p.m. July 11, 2007. She was found four hours later dead at Snyder Park near tennis courts, according to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
“The victim had multiple blunt force trauma to her head and body,” the office says.
Buffy Jo Freeman was 27.
Her family knows that she got into trouble and was doing things she shouldn’t have been when she died, they said, but her slaying was cruel.
“That was an awful story and it still makes me sick to even think about it,” Barbara Freeman said. “She had no business in that park. I know she was a bad girl, everyone told me what she did, but at one time she could have been OK.”
Buffy Jo Freeman got caught up in a bad group of friends, Roth said.
“She was a good-hearted girl,” she said. “She didn’t deserve anything that she got.”
Barbara Freeman said she lived in North Carolina at the time of her niece’s death but did come up to Springfield for Christmas. She was preparing dinner for the family when her nephew, Hare and others came into the home, she said.
“You try to piece stuff together,” Barbara Freeman said. “After the Christmas episode, I didn’t even bother them.”
Roth said she knew Hare before her sister’s death and as the pieces are coming together says she is shocked to learn law enforcement officials are looking at him as a potential suspect.
“I don’t really know him know him,” Roth said of Hare. “I had no clue that it (could be) him that killed my sister.”
Hanaway was 35 when she was found dead.
“On June 10, 2008, the partially clothed, badly decomposed body of an unknown female was located in the Mad River, near the 2300 block of Dayton Rd.,” the Ohio Attorney General’s Office website says. “The body was later identified as Angela Hanaway, who was missing out the City of Springfield. An autopsy showed that Angela died a very violent death and had been in the water for some time.”
Hanaway was missing for a couple months before she was found in the river, her sister, Carrie Hanaway, said.
“One of the sad things is I don’t even really know when she was killed,” Carrie Hanaway said. “I think she went missing at the beginning of April and she wasn’t found until June. I don’t even know the details of what happened.”
Carrie Hanaway said she didn’t know about Hare until investigators contacted her family a couple months ago seeking information. She said she was several years younger than her sister and didn’t know all of her friends.
However, Carrie Hanaway does have good memories of family vacations and hanging out with her sister.
“When she was a teenager she was a cheerleader,” she said. “She was a normal teenager.”
However, soon she would fall into drugs, Carrie Hanaway said of Angela Hanaway, causing disruption in her life and eventually her death.
“She graduated high school but then went downhill from there,” she said. “With drugs and she couldn’t get off of that. Then it got worse.”
Because of their age difference and her untimely death, Carrie Hanaway says she feels cheated out of a sister.
“I feel like I didn’t really get the chance to know her a lot,” Hanaway said. “I wish we could have a different life together.”
Angela Kilgore and Shakura Walker
Kilgore was either 37 or 38 when she was killed.
The Ohio State Attorney General’s Office estimates she was killed between Oct. 22 , 2007 and April 24, 2008.
She was last seen at the Fairfax Motel, the office’s website says, and her body was found on April 24, 2008, in a cistern to the rear of 506 Grant Street.
Walker was found on July 13, 2006, lying in Davey Moore Park, north of the baseball diamonds by police, the attorney general office says.
“The victim had been severely beaten about the head,” the report says. “There was also evidence she had been choked. She was taken to the hospital in critical condition, with damage to her brain. The victim struggled to survive, but never regained consciousness. Shakura Walker died from her injuries on May 18, 2007.”
The Springfield News-Sun attempted to contact the family of both Kilgore and Walker but was unsuccessful.
Bragging about killing
Newly released documents from the Clark County Prosecutors office show Hare allegedly bragged about killing people.
In investigation documents inquiring about the Lumford homicide, a witness told investigators Hare said he had killed a handful of people.
“Hare told (a witness) that he had killed five men and one female and that (choking) the victims was his favorite way of killing,” the report says.
Clark County Assistant Prosecutor Andrew Picek said that information is second-hand and therefore might not have been relayed correctly in terms of men and women killed.
“We believe the statement shows that he has killed several people, beyond those we have proven or he’s admitted to in court, and we believe it shows he clearly has a preference for a particular method of killing (strangulation),” Picek said.
Prosecutors also allege Hare texted a friend he was romantically involved with around the time he killed Lumford bragging about killing him. The Springfield News-Sun got those texts.
“Lol oops I did it again….” Hare said in a text message, according to the records. “And many more.”
The name he gave the person he was texting in his phone was “the one”.
“Baby I really love you….” the report says. “Sry I couldn’t find the words ….. just keep reading the newspapers.”
The Springfield News-Sun was the first to break the news that prosecutors are working to link Prentiss Hare to other murders in Springfield and the paper will continue to follow the cases.