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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mastermind in Mistaken Identity Murder-for-Hire Case Found Guilty

Posted By on Tue, Sep 20, 2016 at 9:44 AM

2006 murder victim Daniel Ott
  • 2006 murder victim Daniel Ott

Update: The mastermind of a murder-for-hire plot gone wrong was found guilty this week by a jury in Geauga County.

Joe Rosebrook will be sentenced soon on two charges of aggravated murder, two charges of kidnapping and one charge oc conspiracy.

Rosebrook ran his operation down in Logan County. It included all sorts of alleged criminal enterprises. Back in 2004, Rosebrook hired a man named Daniel Ott to kill an associate of his. Ott backed out of the deal and instead went to authorities and wore a wire. Rosebrook would be charged and convicted in that case, spending 10 years in prison.

During that time he hired a hitman, a career criminal by the name of Chad South, to kill Ott in retaliation.

South, along with the help of a couple of accomplices who have already pleaded guilty or been found guilty, killed a man named Dan Ott. It was not the Dan Ott who had helped land Rosebrook in prison. It was simply a man named Dan Ott who lived with this girlfriend and was days away from moving to Michigan to work at greenhouse.

The Dan Ott who was the intended target didn't live in Geauga County. He lived further south and was, in his own right, a career criminal in the truest sense — he's stolen upwards of a thousand cars in his nearly 80 years on this earth. We profiled his life and the case last summer.

Ten years after Ott's death, justice is finally being served. The case wasn't an easy one to crack — police spent nine years investigating and corralling cooperating witnesses — but it's all but over now.

Of all the participants, four have been found or pleaded guilty. The last remaining member of the crew, Joe's brother Jeff Rosebrook, who was the alleged moneyman, goes to trial in October. 


(Updated 5/10/16): Two people, including the admitted triggerman, involved in the mistaken-identity murder of Dan Ott in 2006 have been found or have pleaded guilty in his death.

The quick catchup on the case: Dan Ott was murdered in his home in Geauga County just days before he was to move to Michigan. It was a targeted killing. The shooter(s) were after a guy named Dan Ott.

This was not the Dan Ott the killers were after, though, but they only found that out after the fact.

They were after a different guy, a now nearly 80-year-old man named Dan Ott from near Akron who's led a lengthy and colorful life of crime. Ott (the Akron guy) at one point helped cops nab Joe Rosebrook, a man Ott used to work with, on an attempted murder charge. Rosebrook, allegedly along with the help of his brother Carl (who cops tab as the moneyman while his brother was still in prison) sought a hit on Ott in retaliation. 

The crew they hired for the job got the wrong guy and tragically ended the innocent man's life.

The case went unsolved for years and it wasn't until last summer that arrests were made and the long-suspected hypothesis of a murder-for-hire gone wrong via mistaken identity was confirmed.

Which brings us to this month.

Chad South, the triggerman, was found guilty by in a bench trial on two counts of murder and kidnapping earlier this month. More recently, 37-year-old Mindie Mock Stanifer pleaded guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping and obstruction of justice. Authorities believe she was in the car with South when he arrived at Ott's home.

Still to come: A trial for Alva Jacobs, who police also say was in the car, and trials for Joe and Carl Rosebrook.


(Original story 6/2/15): Three people have been arrested so far for the the killing of a man nine years ago in Burton Township, the News Herald first reported yesterday, and the Geauga County sheriff tells us more people associated with it will be arrested soon.

The 2006 murder of Daniel Ott, who was 31 at the time, was in a Scene feature story last month called "Northeast Ohio's 50 Most Frustrating Cold Cases." Here's what writer James Renner said about it (emphasis ours):

38. Why Was Dan Ott Murdered?

Crime Scene: Burton, May 26, 2006.

The Mystery: 31-year-old Dan Ott was about to move to Michigan to work at a greenhouse. Most of his belongings were already packed up and he was sleeping on an air mattress with his girlfriend when a masked man dressed in camouflage broke into their house on Claridon-Troy Road. The intruder bound Dan's hands together with duct tape. When Dan tried to fight back, the masked man shot him in the chest with a shotgun and fled the scene. Some investigators believe Dan's death was the result of mistaken identity, after a hitman was sent to kill another man named Dan Ott.

Send tips to Geauga County Sheriff's detectives: 440-279-2009.

We bolded the part about mistaken identity because that's what Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland believes to be the case. In a statement to Renner, McClelland says that's why this Daniel Ott was killed, and that some people out of state were also involved in his death:

We are in the stage of rounding up suspects right now. Three have been arrested, there will be more. In Ohio and outside of the state. It has been a long time coming. Meticulous investigation. It was taken to the prosecutor a couple weeks ago. We've been investigating this as a case of mistaken identity that led to murder and nothing about that has changed.

The names of those arrested have not been released yet, and the case has yet to be presented to a grand jury.

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Friday, January 1, 2016

Cavs Fan Who Got "2015 NBA Champs" Tattoo Early Last Season Updates It To 2016

Posted By on Fri, Jan 1, 2016 at 10:41 AM

Update: We were just thinking about this guy the other day. You know, the one who got the 2015 Cavs NBA champs tattoo last year? Anyway, the NBA on TNT Twitter account sent out a pretty innocuous year-end tweet yesterday that basically said "Did you have a better year than this guy?" and linked to @lonniedoe's tattoo, which you can see below.

He quickly responded with an update: He's had the 2015 turned into 2016 in an update that is still ambitious and speculative but at least isn't completely wrong yet. Check it out:


(Original story 6/2/2015): Despite the fact that the Golden State Warriors are favored in the upcoming series, one Cleveland Cavaliers fan has some serious faith in his team. So much faith, in fact, that he decided to get some permanent ink in anticipation of this summer's games.

The tattoo features a large Cavaliers “C,” the Larry O’Brien Championship trophy, and of course his prediction: “2015 NBA Champions.” The fan has been tweeting at Cleveland sport superstars to try to get his tattoo noticed.
Many would say this is a bold choice, others would say it’s just crazy. And they have on social media: 
The Cavaliers tip-off at 9 p.m. on Thursday night. We know at least one guy who will be on the edge of his seat. 

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Third Annual Cellar Door Rendezvous Tees Up Deep Schedule for Next Week in Cleveland

Concert Announcement

Posted By on Fri, Jul 31, 2015 at 11:18 AM

The third annual Cellar Door Rendezvous begins next week, and it's expanding on all preconceived notions of what this upstart music festival means to the city of Cleveland. With a schedule and a lineup that touches on numerous venues and bands — all beloved by the Cleveland music scene writ large — there's truly something for all musical tastes. 

Our friends at Cellar Door have proven that they know how to put on a top-notch show. Next week, we'll get to enjoy a whole bunch of them.

Check out the full schedule here, and read our original announcement story below. Get all the information you need at

Tuesday, August 4th – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Opening Night Party/CLE Music powered by PechaKucha
An evening of speakers that span the life of music in Cleveland
(Full speaker lineup to be announced soon)
7:00pm / Free

Wednesday, August 5 – Brothers Lounge
“Anatomy of a Song” – An evening of songwriters performing their songs and talking about their craft
Tom Evanchuck / Megan Zurkey / Stephanie Trivison (These Knees) / John Kalman / Josh Voland
8:00pm / $10

Thursday, August 6 – MOCA Cleveland
Midnight Passenger / Cities and Coasts
7:00pm / Free

Friday, August 7 – House of Blues
Seafair and The Querencia Orchestra (a 30 piece orchestra put together for this show)
The Modern Electric
The Moxies
7:00pm / $12

Saturday, August 8 – Beachland Ballroom and Tavern
The Commonwealth
So Long, Albatross
By Light We Loom
Ageless Males
Sammy Slims
The Teddy Boys

7:00pm / $10

Sunday, August 9 – Grog Shop
Smoke Noises
Common Ave
Archie Green
Leroi Da Moor and the Fanon
8:00pm / $10

Original story published June 5:

The third annual Cellar Door Rendezvous — which has quickly vaulted toward the top of our favorite music tests in town — is on the books. And, listen: We often use "bigger and better" to characterize new annual incarnations of festivals, because that's often very true. But this time... Whoa. Our friends at Cellar Door are BLOWIN' THIS UP. 

Here's Justin Markert, co-owner of Cellar Door and podcast contributor here at Scene, with the deets:

From August 4-9 there will be events happening every night that highlight the incredible music being created right here in Cleveland. Some highlights include our main event, an all local bill at the House of Blues on Friday August 7 headlined by the one and only Seafair with the Querencia Orchestra (a 30 piece orchestra created for this show), along with The Modern Electric, The Moxies and Ottawa; a FREE opening night party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame centered around a CLE music focused PechaKucha night featuring speakers from Cleveland’s past and present.

Ticket pricing and a more specific set of schedules are available at Cellar Door's website


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ohio Gov. John Kasich Begins Presidential Run July 21

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 3:22 PM

  • Wikimedia Commons
Ohioans will have a hometown horse in the race as we all dash headfirst through goofy political coverage toward next summer's RNC.

Gov. John Kasich, to nobody’s surprise, will formally start his campaign for the presidency on July 21 at the Ohio State University. Kasich did campaign for the presidency in 2000 but dropped out early after failing to match former President George W. Bush’s fundraising efforts. Kasich has spent the past few months traveling in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa — all early battleground states for the primary election. 

Politico first reported Kasich’s plan to join a crowded field of more than a dozen candidates for the Republican nomination, and soon enough began offering tickets to the event at OSU's student union on July 21 and a link for the live steam.

Kasich joins a field of Republican hopefuls that includes current poll leader and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. Right now, Kasich lags behind the field in the national and New Hampshire Presidential Primary polling averages, according to Real Clear Politics. 

Kasich’s first goal will be to move from 13th in national polling average into the top 10 to qualify for the first Republican presidential debate on August 6. Fox News will broadcast the debate and announced that only the top 10 candidates according to national polling average will qualify. Kasich has two weeks to accomplish this and failure to do so could prove embarrassing as the debate is held in his home state.

Continue reading »

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Westlake Detective Indicted After FBI Investigation

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 2:49 PM

An officer with the Westlake Police Department was indicted in federal court today, according to a news release by the U.S. Attorney's office

Detective Robert Toth, 48, is accused of excessive force on an arrested person and then lying about it on the arrest report and then to a "federal law enforcement officer" who was investigating the arrest. Toth arrested the person — identified only as "T.A." in the news release — on April 24, 2014, and then lied about what happened. 

Toth's indictment is not yet entered into online court records, so we're just going off what is in the news release. We will update this when we have more information. Here's how the attorney's office explains the charges:

Robert Toth, 48, of North Olmsted, was indicted on one count of excessive use of force and two counts of obstruction.

Count 1 charges Toth, in his capacity as a police officer, with causing bodily injury to someone identified as T.A. on or about April 24, 2014. In doing so, Toth deprived T.A. of his Constitutional right to be free from the unreasonable use of force by a law enforcement officer.

Count 2 charges that between April 25, 2014, and May 1, 2015, Toth knowingly falsified a document – specifically an official report concerning the arrest of T.A. – with the intent to impede, obstruct and influence the investigation and proper administration of that matter.

Count 3 charges that on May 3, 2015, Toth impeded an investigation by providing false information to a federal law enforcement officer surrounding the encounter with and arrest of T.A.

According to Toth's Linked In page, he's a narcotics detective at the Westlake Police Department since and also has worked with the FBI. 

Good Luck to Thom Fladung, Who's Leaving the Plain Dealer

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 1:38 PM

  • Plain Dealer
We'll echo many who are sending well wishes to Thom Fladung today, who is leaving the Plain Dealer, where he was managing editor, for a new opportunity. We've had our bones to pick with him and some of our other pals over at 1801 Superior (and Tower City), but Thom has always been nothing but responsive and forthright with us, especially while the PD had no Top Man, and for that we thank him.

Here's PD Editor George Rodrigue's email to the staff today.


I’m very sorry to say that Thom Fladung is leaving us.

Thom joined The Plain Dealer as managing editor in February of 2011, and helped steer the newsroom (like so many other newsrooms across the country) through some of the most difficult times in the history of American journalism. Even before my arrival, I heard glowing stories about Thom’s integrity, his work ethic, and his good sense and good humor. Now that I’ve been here awhile, I can attest to the accuracy of those stories. He’s a great editor and a wonderful colleague.

Before coming to the PD, Thom was editor of the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Minnesota, and managing editor of the Detroit Free Press and the Akron Beacon Journal. He also worked for The State and The Columbia Record, both in South Carolina; the Beavercreek Daily News, just outside of Dayton; and The Repository in Canton. He’s held editing and reporting positions in just about every corner of the newsroom, including Business, Features, Metro, Sports, the Copy Desk and the News Desk.

He’s also helped a couple of generations of journalists learn the craft, and helped them do work they’d never imagined themselves capable of doing.

In other words, he’s done just about everything a talented person can do in newspapering. His next plans involve something different. Which is good for him, and sad for us. Please join me in wishing him well.

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Once Homeless Ohio Man with "Golden Voice" Says He Wants to Run for President

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 at 1:28 PM

You may recall hearing about Ted Williams, the formerly homeless Ohio man whose smooth baritone vocals became an instant Internet hit after a Columbus Dispatch video went viral.

Now, the man with the "golden voice" has said he'd like to run for president as an independent in the upcoming election. His aspirations were made public this week on Scott Spears' "Now" radio program on WWGH-FM.

Williams told the Dispatch that as president he'd focus on fair housing, veterans' issues, jobs and improving schools, among other things.

Find the Dispatch's original interview below:

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