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This Hour: Latest Ohio news, sports, business and entertainment

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Correction officer released by Ohio jail inmates

WARREN, Ohio (AP) - A correction officer taken hostage by three inmates at an Ohio county jail has been released unharmed, and the inmates have been taken to a maximum-security facility.

Trumbull County Sheriff's Office Major Thomas Stewart says the hostage situation ended peacefully and, "It's all over." He says the inmates talked to hostage negotiators and "decided to give it up."

He says the correction officer wasn't physically harmed but is being evaluated.

Officials say the inmates grabbed and handcuffed the officer Wednesday afternoon at the Trumbull County Jail in Warren and held him for several hours.

Other employees left the jail. Streets in the area were closed as police swarmed.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol sent a hostage negotiator to the jail. The FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and local police helped.


Ohio women held captive seek Joan Rivers' apology

CLEVELAND (AP) - Attorneys for two women held in a Cleveland home and abused for a decade say Joan Rivers should apologize for comparing living in her daughter's guest room with the captivity they experienced.

Rivers and her daughter were discussing their reality show Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show when she complained about her living arrangements, saying, "Those women in the basement in Cleveland had more space."

A Wednesday statement from attorneys for Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus calls Rivers' remark hurtful and shocking. The attorneys say the women have endured painful media attention and the comment is "a new low" that warrants an apology.

Rivers' publicist hasn't responded to messages seeking comment.

Berry, DeJesus and a third woman, Michelle Knight, escaped last year. Their kidnapper, Ariel Castro, hanged himself in prison.


Sentencing set for Ohio woman in forced-labor case

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio woman accused of using ice cream to lure a mentally disabled woman and her child to captivity in a forced-labor case is scheduled to be sentenced.

Dezerah Silsby (dez-eh-RAH' SIHLS'-bee) pleaded guilty in federal court last year to four counts of an indictment charging her with threatening the victim, beating her and making her do housework. Authorities say the ordeal lasted from early 2011 to late 2012.

Federal judge Benita Pearson is scheduled to sentence Silsby on Thursday in Youngstown.

A jury found two other defendants guilty at a trial last month, and a fourth who pleaded guilty was sentenced to five years in prison.

Silsby testified that she was threatened by the others and feared having her own child taken away.


Gay rights group seeks to expand marriage case

CINCINNATI (AP) - A gay rights group wants to intervene in an existing case in hopes of getting a federal court to overturn Ohio's gay marriage ban and allow same-sex couples to wed in the state.

Equality Ohio and four gay couples living in the state requested permission on Wednesday to intervene in a case before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. That case stems from a federal judge's narrow decision in December ordering Ohio to recognize gay marriages on death certificates.

Equality Ohio's executive director says her group wants to expand the case and seek an order forcing the state to let gay couples marry in Ohio and obtain all the rights that heterosexual couples have.

Attorneys on both sides of the death certificate case oppose Equality Ohio's intervention.


Oregon gay marriage ban gets day in court

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Lawyers for four gay and lesbian couples and the state of Oregon are urging a federal judge to strike down the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

Judge Michael McShane heard arguments on the case Wednesday but did not say which way he was leaning. His questioning focused heavily on how he should apply precedents from higher courts.

The state attorney general has refused to defend the gay-marriage ban, so nobody supported it in court.

McShane says he won't rule on the constitutionality of the same-sex marriage ban until he decides on a request by the National Organization for Marriage to defend it.

The group's chairman, John Eastman, says the judge would benefit from hearing several arguments that weren't raised in court because nobody was able to defend the ban.


Ohioan charged in woman's killing found competent

CAMBRIDGE, Ohio (AP) - A judge has found an eastern Ohio man competent to stand trial on charges alleging he raped and killed a pizza delivery driver and dumped her body at a state park.

The Daily Jeffersonian and WILE-FM in Cambridge report the judge concluded at Wednesday's competency hearing that 32-year-old Adam Charles Burris understands the charges and can assist his defense attorneys.

Burris has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder, rape, kidnapping and aggravated robbery. Prosecutors have said they'll seek the death penalty if he's convicted of aggravated murder.

Authorities say 26-year-old Kayla Thompson didn't return from a Dec. 26 delivery to Burris' Cambridge home, about 80 miles east of Columbus. They say Burris later led them to her body.

The judge has issued a gag order for attorneys and court personnel.


Ohio lawmaker charged with fraud to get trial date

CINCINNATI (AP) - A trial date is expected to be set for a southwestern Ohio lawmaker charged with fraud and theft for allegedly misleading investors about a company's financial status and using their money for personal gain.

A judge is expected to set the new date Thursday for 61-year-old Republican state Rep. Pete Beck in Cincinnati. Beck has denied the allegations and brushed away calls to resign.

Beck initially faced 16 counts, including theft, securities fraud, making misrepresentations and selling securities in an insolvent company without full disclosure. He later was indicted on more than 50 other counts, including allegations that he lied to securities investigators.

The trial was rescheduled from this month after prosecutors indicated they intended to merge the charges.

Another defendant also requested more time.


Northeast Ohio man charged in gambling ring probe

CLEVELAND (AP) - A man has been indicted on gambling and other charges in a multi-agency investigation of an alleged gambling ring in northeastern Ohio.

Authorities said Wednesday that a Cuyahoga County grand jury in Cleveland indicted 61-year-old Martin Sarcyk (SAR'-chihk) on multiple counts of gambling, money laundering and having criminal tools.

Investigators say they served more than 15 search warrants Wednesday at several businesses and residences in northeastern Ohio and connected Sarcyk to a number of the sites.

Court records don't list an attorney for the North Royalton man. Calls to a home phone listing were met with busy signals Wednesday.

Ohio's Department of Public Safety says the gambling ring probe is part of a larger, ongoing investigation into the production, distribution and operation of electronic video slot machines.


Fracking foes challenge Ohio earthquake assurances

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - A citizens' group isn't taking the word of state regulators that new permitting guidelines will protect public health after earthquakes in northeast Ohio were linked to the gas drilling method of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Youngstown-based Frackfree Mahoning Valley says the science behind the finding is suspect and new permit conditions won't prevent future quakes.

A Youngstown State University geologist affiliated with the group says the state didn't produce a scientific report to accompany a geologist's recently released conclusion linking Utica Shale fracking to earthquakes for the first time.

The spokesman for the state says issuing a report would have slowed down getting the information to the public.

The finding prompted the new conditions and a moratorium on new fracking at the site of recent quake activity.


Police seek woman who took toy from baby's grave

ONTARIO, Ohio (AP) - Police are trying to identify a woman who took a stuffed animal from an Ohio boy's gravesite after other toys and solar nightlights were stolen from there.

On Saturday, the child's family left a stuffed yellow duck for Easter at a cemetery in Ontario, near Mansfield. Surveillance video taken hours later shows a woman pick up the duck, look around and walk away.

Detective Jon Sigler says the duck was found Wednesday, apparently thrown along a cemetery road.

Sigler says toy tanks and flowers also have disappeared in recent years from the grave of the 14-month-old boy, who died in 2007.

His mother, Jaclyn Sheridan, tells The Mansfield News Journal that solar lights on other gravesites have been left alone and that she suspects her son's grave has been targeted.


Auto parts maker to pay fine in price-fixing case

CINCINNATI (AP) - The U.S. Justice Department says an auto parts manufacturer accused in a price-fixing conspiracy has agreed to plead guilty and pay a fine of $19.9 million.

Federal officials allege Showa Corp., based in Japan, had agreed to rig bids and fix prices for some powered steering assemblies sold to Honda Motor Co. and some of its subsidiaries.

Showa Corp. is charged in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati with one count alleging it participated in a conspiracy to suppress competition.

A Wednesday statement from the Justice Department says the plea agreement is subject to court approval.

The department is conducting a wide-ranging investigation into price-fixing and bid-rigging in the parts industry. Authorities say 27 companies and two dozen executives have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty as a result.

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