The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 1, 2006

Coroner rules Lenox Township man's death in TASER shooting a homicide



Kenneth L. Cleveland, 63, was shot two or three times with a TASER gun

By DORIS COOK

Staff Writer

dcook@starbeacon.com



ASHTABULA - - Dr. Robert Malinowski, Ashtabula County coroner, has ruled the May 7 death of 63-year-old Kenneth L. Cleveland, of Lenox Township, a homicide resulting from being shot with TASER guns by three sheriffs deputies and a Jefferson police officer.

"The ruling is a homicide due to the actions or inaction of another person," Malinowski said Friday. "It does not mean there was anything of criminal intent. When we rule a death as a homicide it can cover many areas," he said.

Cleveland died between 9 p.m. and 9:19 p.m. after being hit two or three times with a TASER gun when deputies responded to his home on a complaint call. The caller reported that Cleveland had threatened two ATV riders with a gun.

The call to the sheriffs dispatch center was from a cell phone. It was made by a relative of the two ATV riders, who were identified only as a grandfather and a young boy.

Sheriff William Johnson and investigating officers have declined since Clevelands death to release the deputies incident reports or names of the officers involved. They were waiting for Malinowski to release his report findings, according to Lt. Joseph Bernardo, who headed the investigation.

After deputies subdued Cleveland May 7, he collapsed in his driveway. Several deputies used CPR procedures on Cleveland before the South Central Ambulance District emergency squad arrived. He was transported to St. Joseph Emergency Center in Andover where further attempts were made to revive him.

Malinowski received the Cuyahoga County Coroners Office autopsy reports on Cleveland eight days ago, but withheld information on the case until the victims family was notified.

"Sometimes I cant certify the cause and ruling right away. I met with my staff June 23, then we tried to call Mr. Clevelands family after our meeting. The family has a right to know before we release information to anyone else," Malinwoski said. "This is my normal procedure in a case like this," he said.

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