PRESS RELEASE, 2/22/2009

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announces the Indictment of former Hamilton County Coroner employee Kenneth Douglas


Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced the indictment of 55 year old former Westwood resident Kenneth Douglas on 2 counts of Gross Abuse of a Corpse for crimes that occurred in 1991. These crimes are charged as felonies of the fourth degree under 1991 Ohio law. Douglas faces a possible maximum sentence of 18 months on each charge.

On September 8, 2008 Douglas was convicted of Gross Abuse of a Corpse for sexually assaulting the body of Karen Range after her brutal 1982 murder by David Steffen. Douglas is currently serving an 18 month sentence on that case, which runs consecutive to an 18 month sentence for Possession of Drugs, in the London Correctional Institute.

Douglas was an employee of the Hamilton Coroner's Office from 1979 to 1992. He was the night custodian responsible for checking in any bodies received at the lab during his shift.

As a result of Douglas' conviction in the Range case, investigators launched an extensive investigation to determine if there was evidence of additional crimes by Douglas during his employment at the lab. The two indictments returned today represent the findings of that investigation.

Douglas is now charged with sexually assaulting the bodies of two females at the lab in 1991. Charlene Edwards was strangled to death in October, 1991. Her body was discovered at 3444 Jay Street in Cincinnati. Mark Chambers was convicted of Voluntary Manslaughter in her death and sentenced to 10-25 years in prison. He was released from prison on April 3, 2000 and remains under the supervision of the Adult Parole Authority.

Angel Hicks died in December, 1991 as a result of blunt impact to the head. Her body was discovered at 137 E. McMicken Avenue in Cincinnati, Ohio. Although her death was ruled a homicide, the defendant charged in that case was found not guilty at trial.

Hamilton County Coroner Dr. O'Dell Owens cooperated fully in the Douglas investigation and none of these crimes occurred under this administration.

Prosecutor Deters commented, "The indictments returned today represent the culmination of a thorough investigation. I do not anticipate any additional charges against Kenneth Douglas in this matter. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims."