The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 31, 2013

Jury finds Monroe man not guilty of attempted murder

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — A jury needed only two hours Tuesday morning to find a Monroe Township man not guilty of attempted murder in a June 2012 shooting incident, his attorney said Tuesday.

Kenneth Kapferer, 49, of State Line Road, had been the subject of a week-long trial that began July 23, said attorney Richard Perez. The jury began deliberations Tuesday morning and members decided Kapferer was not guilty before lunch, according to reports. Witnesses described an emotional scene in the courtroom of Common Pleas Court Judge Ronald Vettel when the verdict was announced.

Kapferer had been charged with the shooting of Robert J. Miller, 44, of Ashtabula, outside Kapferer’s home early on the morning of June 2. Prosecutors said Kapferer shot Miller in the back, near his shoulder blade, with a 20-gauge shotgun while the victim was lying on the ground. Miller jumped to his feet and ran, eventually seeking help at a house on the Pennsylvania side of the road, deputies said at the time.

Kapferer, a long-time employee at the Ashtabula County Medical Center, admitted pulling the trigger, deputies said. He told investigators Miller had been peering into windows.

The victim’s wife, along with another woman, was at Kapferer’s home at the time of the shooting, deputies said. The wife was using the house as a refuge to escape Miller, deputies have said. A few days earlier, a deputy had warned Miller to stay away from Kapferer’s house, according to testimony at Kapferer’s preliminary hearing in 2012.

“The victim had a lot of baggage,” Perez said. “He was lurking in the woods. The jury felt my client didn’t intend to shoot and he was justified in his conduct. I had what I consider to be a good man for a client. A hard-working guy. His conduct under the circumstances was reasonable.”

Kapferer did not claim self-defense, Perez said.

Harold Specht Jr., chief assistant prosecutor, could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday.