PRESS RELEASE, 1/14/2011

Hamilton County Prosecutor announces indictment in reckless homicide of Janice Svajda

Defendants charged in beating of homeless man face new charges.

Today, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced the indictment of Michael Hesson (DOB 10/3/85) and Riley Feller (DOB 11/16/85) in the reckless homicide of Janice Svajda.  Feller is charged with Weapon Under Disability (Felony 3) and Reckless Homicide with a 3-year gun specification (Felony 3) in the death of Miss Svajda.  If convicted, he faces up to 13 years in prison.   Hesson is charged with Weapon Under Disability (Felony 3) for his participation in this incident.  If convicted, he faces up to 5 years in prison.

Miss Svajda and defendants Hesson and Feller were together at Mr. Hesson’s apartment in Norwood on the evening of January 6th.  Mr. Hesson was Miss Svajda’s boyfriend.  Both Hesson and Feller were in possession of a gun and Feller was showing the gun to Miss Svajda when it accidentally discharged and struck her in the chest.  Miss Svajda died as a result of her gunshot wounds.

The defendants had been drinking Wild Irish Rose prior to this incident.

Both defendants face a charge of Felonious Assault (Felony 2) in the April 10, 2010 beating of John Johnson.  Feller pleaded to the charge and is awaiting sentencing.  Hesson’s case is pending for plea or trial setting on January 20, 2011 in front of Judge Ralph Winkler.  If convicted of the felonious assault charge, the defendants face up to 8 years in prison.

Prosecutor Deters commented, “Miss Svajda should be alive today.  This case is yet another sad reminder that alcohol and guns are a deadly combination.”