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UPDATE: Guilty on All Counts in Scioto County Murder Trial

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email

UPDATE 11/16/12 @2:55 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A man from Portsmouth has been sentenced to life without parole after a jury found him guilty of a gruesome murder earlier this year.

Friday afternoon, a jury found Thomas Steinhauer, 47, of Portsmouth, guilty on counts in the murder 24-year-old Felipe Lopez.

Steinhauer was charged with aggravated murder, murder, conspiracy to aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated arson, arson and tampering with evidence.

Following the verdicts, Steinhauer was sentenced to life without parole plus 29 years.

Steinhauer is the third man convicted in the murder. David Gerald and Raymond Linkous were also given similar sentence of life without parole.

Lopez's body was found in a burning truck back in March in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. Prosecutors say he was hit multiple times with a hatchet and stabbed six times with a hunting knife before being doused with gasoline and dumped in the truck. Prosecutors say Lopez was alive when he was set on fire. They say the motive for killing was drugs.

The jury deliberated about 2 hours Friday before reaching the verdicts.



UPDATE 11/16/12 @ Noon
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The fate of a man charged with murder is now in the hands of the jury.

Thomas Steinhauer is on trial in Scioto County Common Pleas Court -- charged in connection with the murder of 24-year-old Felipe Lopez.

Steinhauer, 47, of Portsmouth, Ohio, is the third man charged with the death of Lopez.

Lopez's body was found in a burning truck back in March in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. Prosecutors say he was hit multiple times with a hatchet and stabbed six times with a hunting knife before being doused with gasoline and dumped in the truck. Prosecutors say Lopez was alive when he was set on fire. They also say the motive for killing was drugs.

Steinhauer's trial began earlier this week. He is charged with aggravated murder, murder, conspiracy to aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated arson, arson and tampering with evidence.

The jury received the case about 11:30 a.m. Friday.

The two other defendants in this case, David Gerald and Raymond Linkous, have already been convicted of murder and been sentenced to life without parole.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on the trial.



UPDATE 11/15/12 @ 3:30 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The trial for the third man charged in connection with the murder of 24-year-old Felipe Lopez of Friendship, Ohio, could go to jury on Friday, according to court officials.

Thomas Steinhauer’s trial is taking place in Scioto County Common Pleas Court. Steinhauer is 47-years-old and from Portsmouth, Ohio.

The defense is currently presenting their case; they could wrap up Thursday afternoon. The trial began Tuesday morning.

Lopez's body was found in a burning truck back in March in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. Prosecutors say he was hit multiple times with a hatchet and stabbed six times with a hunting knife before being doused with gasoline and dumped in the truck. Prosecutors say Lopez was alive when he was set on fire. They also say the motive for killing was drugs.

Steinhauer is charged with aggravated murder, murder, conspiracy to aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated arson, arson and tampering with evidence.

The two other defendants in this case, David Gerald and Raymond Linkous, have already been convicted of murder and been sentenced to life without parole.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 11/13/12 @ 10 a.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Jury selection is underway for the third man charged in the murder of 24-year-old Felipe Lopez of Friendship, Ohio.

Thomas Steinhauer’s trial is taking place in Scioto County Common Pleas Court. Steinhauer is 47-years-old and from Portsmouth.

Lopez's body was found in a burning truck back in March in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. Prosecutors say he was hit multiple times with a hatchet and stabbed six times with a hunting knife before being doused with gasoline and dumped in the truck. Prosecutors say Lopez was alive when he was set on fire. They also say the motive for killing was drugs.

The two other defendants in case, David Gerald and Raymond Linkous, have already been convicted of murder and been sentenced to life without parole.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 10/11/12
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A man who witnesses say described himself as "the righteous hand of God" will spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of murder.

On Thursday, a jury convicted David Gerald, 37, of Wheelersburg, of murdering Felipe Lopez, 24, of Friendship, Ohio.

Lopez's body was found in a burning truck in March of this year in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. Prosecutors say he was hit multiple times with a hatchet and stabbed 6 times with a hunting knife before being doused with gasoline and dumped in the truck. Prosecutors say Lopez was alive when he was set on fire. They also say the motive for killing was drugs.

The Scioto County Common Pleas Court Jury convicted Gerald of aggravated murder, aggravated arson, kidnapping and tapering with evidence. Judge William Marshall then sentenced Gerald to life without parole plus 29 years. Gerald’s trial started on Tuesday.

Two other men were also charged with the murder.

Last month, Raymond Linkous was found guilty of his role in the murder and sentenced to life without parole plus 26 years.

Thomas Steinhauer’s trial is set for next month.



UPDATE 10/9/12 @ 2:40 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Testimony is underway in the trial for one of three men charged in the murder of 24-year-old Felipe Lopez of Friendship, Ohio.

David Gerald, 37, of Wheelersburg, is charged with aggravated murder, aggravated arson, gross abuse of a corpse and tapering with evidence. His trial began Tuesday morning in Scioto County Common Pleas Court.

Lopez’s body was found in the burning truck along a rural road in Franklin Furnace, Ohio on March 7.

Investigators said that Lopez was killed before the truck was set on fire. His body was found in the front passenger seat. They also said Lopez was hit multiple times with a hatchet, and stabbed multiple times with a hunting knife. Prosecutors say it was crime that involved cocaine.

Last month a jury found Geralds’ co-defendant, 35-year-old Raymond Linkous, of Wheelersburg, guilty of two counts of aggravated murder, murder, aggravated arson, arson, three counts of tampering with evidence, kidnapping and conspiracy to aggravated murder.

Following the verdict, Linkous was sentenced to life without parole, plus 26 years.

Thomas Steinhauer, 47, of Portsmouth, is the third person charged in the murder. His trial is set for next month.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/13/12 @ 11 a.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) – A man from Wheelersburg has been found guilty of killing another man from Scioto County, Ohio. A crime that prosecutors say involved cocaine.

Thursday morning, a jury convicted 35-year-old Raymond Linkous of two counts of aggravated murder, murder, aggravated arson, arson, three counts of tampering with evidence, kidnapping and conspiracy to aggravated murder in the death of 24-year-old Felipe Lopez of Friendship, Ohio.

Following the verdict Linkous was sentenced to life without parole, plus 26 years. A jury deliberated just under three hours before reaching the verdict.

Lopez’s body was found in the burning truck along a rural road in Franklin Furnace, Ohio on March 7.

Investigators said the truck belonged to Linkous, and that Lopez was killed before the truck was set on fire. His body was found in the front passenger seat.

Prosecutors say Lopez was hit multiple times with a hatchet, and stabbed multiple times with a hunting knife.

As for a motive, prosecutors say the Linkous had purchased cocaine from Lopez and was going to his residence to purchase more. They say Lopez then left with the three defendants but was attacked and killed.

Thomas Steinhauer, 47, of Portsmouth, and David Gerald, 37, of Wheelersburg, are also charged with Lopez’s murder. Their trials are set for later this year.



9/12/12 @ 10:55 a.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- The trial for one of the three men charged in connection with the murder of a Scioto County man whose body was found inside a burning truck could go to the jury late Wednesday afternoon.

Raymond Linkous, 35, of Wheelersburg, is on trial in Scioto County Common Pleas Court for the murder of 24-year-old Felipe Lopez of Friendship, Ohio.

Lopez’s body was found in the burning truck along a rural road in Franklin Furnace, Ohio on March 7.

Investigators said the truck belonged to Linkous, and that Lopez was killed before the truck was set on fire. Investigators also said they recovered two weapons, a knife and a hatchet, believed to have been used in the murder.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case Wednesday morning. The defense is expected to call three to four witnesses before resting its case, according to court officials.

Linkous is facing two counts of aggravated murder, murder, aggravated arson, arson, tampering with evidence, kidnapping and conspiracy to aggravated murder.

Thomas Steinhauer, 47, of Portsmouth, and David Gerald, 37, of Wheelersburg, are also charged with Lopez’s murder. Their trials are set for later this year.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 9/10/12 @ 11 a.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Oho (WSAZ) -- Testimony is underway in the trial of one of the three men charged in the murder of a Scioto County man whose body was found inside a burning truck.

Raymond Linkous, 35, of Wheelersburg, is on trial in Scioto County Common Pleas Court for the murder of 24-year-old Felipe Lopez of Friendship, Ohio.

Lopez’s body was found in the burning truck along a rural road in Franklin Furnace, Ohio on March 7.

Investigators said the truck belonged to Linkous, and that Lopez was killed before the truck was set on fire. Investigators also said they recovered two weapons, a knife and a hatchet, believed to have been used in the murder.

A jury was selected early Monday morning, and during opening arguments Prosecutors told jurors that the motive for the murder was cocaine.

"They laid into him, someone tomahawked him from behind, one of the three, most likely Linkous or Gerald because both their DNA is on the hatchet. Tomahawked him from behind, put him down and hit him four or five times with a hatchet. He may have been moaning. He may have been gurgling. They turned him over and hit him at least six times right here," said Prosecuting Attorney Pat Apel during his opening argument.

"When he was in the truck bed Dave took that hatchet and through it down and it skidded across the truck bed and ended up on Jimmy's leg and blood ended up on his jeans," said Linkous' attorney Scott Hicks responded.

Thomas Steinhauer, 47, of Portsmouth, and David Gerald, 37, of Wheelersburg, are also charged with Lopez’s murder. Their trials are set for later this year.

Linkous is facing two counts of aggravated murder, murder, aggravated arson, arson, tampering with evidence, kidnapping and conspiracy to aggravated murder.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 4/3/12 @ 11 a.m.
FRANKLIN FURNACE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Three men have been indicted for the murder of a man who was found inside a burning truck.

Thomas Steinhauer, 47, of Portsmouth, David Gerald, 37, of Wheelersburg, and Raymond Linkous, 35, of Wheelersburg, were indicted by a Scioto County grand jury this week.

Each of the men face 10 charges including three counts of aggravated murder, murder, arson, two counts of tampering with evidence, kidnapping and conspiracy to murder and aggravated murder.

The charges stem back to the murder of 24-year-old Felipe Lopez from Friendship, Ohio.

He was found dead in a burning truck on a rural road in Franklin Furnace, Ohio on March 7.

Investigators say Lopez was murdered before the truck was set on fire, but at this time are not releasing how he was killed or what was used as the murder weapon.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information on this story.



UPDATE 3/8/12 @ 6:10 p.m.
FRANKLIN FURNACE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Firefighters responded to a call Wednesday night about a burning truck and found a young man inside. Deputies said he was already dead.

Now three men are under arrest on charges including murder and abuse of a corpse.

"It appeared there may have been a corpse inside that vehicle," Sheriff Marty Donini said.

That's what the Scioto County Sheriff said his deputies found on a rural road just outside Franklin Furnace.

The burned body of 24 year-old Felipe Lopez from Friendship, Ohio was discovered in the truck

However, sheriffs deputies recognized the burned truck and knew it did not belonged to Lopez. The truck was owned by someone well known to them, Raymond Linkous.

"He's been in and out of jail several times and here recently over drug charges pending in court,"Sheriff Donini said.

The sheriff said detectives found Linkous at his Wheelersburg home. They said interviews is what led to the arrest of the three two other men involved, Thomas Steinhauer and David Gerald.

"We have reason to believe it's related to drug related activity," Sheriff Donini said.

The three are charged with aggravated murder and arson, along with abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

The sheriff said they recovered two alleged murder weapons and said Lopez was killed before his body was burned.

They are not saying what the weapons are at this point in the investigation.

"Right now we're not revealing the method of death - we still have people to question, not necessarily in the killing - but knowing that it occurred," Sheriff Donini said.

The sheriff said he believes all the people responsible for the murder are now off the streets and under arrest.

Donini said great cooperation with state fire marshals at the burning truck scene allowed his detectives to concentrate on making what turned out to be very quick arrests.

Bonds for the three arrested run nearly a quarter million dollars.



UPDATE 3/8/12 @ 10:50 a.m.
FRANKLIN FURNACE, Ohio (WSAZ) -- Three people have been charged with aggravated murder after a body was found in a burnt out truck.

According to the Scioto County Sheriff's Department, someone called 911 about 8:15 Wednesday night saying a truck was on fire on the side of the road in the 4400-block of Junior Furnace Powellsville Road in Franklin Furnace, Ohio.

Deputies and the Green Township Fire Department responded to the scene and after the fire was put out, found a deceased, burnt body in the truck.

Detectives with the Ohio State Fire Marshal's Office also responded to the scene to start investigating.

Sheriff Marty Donini says the remains were sent to the Montgomery County morgue for an autopsy.

He says through forensic technology, the deceased was identified as Felipe Lopez, 24, of Friendship.

Detectives were able to find the suspect vehicle, which led to several suspects being identified and questioned. They were able to recover two alleged murder weapons and the victim's cell phone.

Thomas Henry Steinhauer, 47, of Portsmouth, Raymond J. Linkous, 35, of Wheelersburg, and David K. Gerald, 37, of Wheelersburg, have all been arrested and charged with aggravated murder, aggravated arson, gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence. All of the charges are felonies.

The men are each being held in lieu of $212,500 bail and are expected to appear in court Friday.

Sheriff Donini stated the quick arrest was the result of the joint effort between his office and the State Fire Marshal's office

Sheriff Donini stated that this is an ongoing investigation and anybody with any information should contact Detective Jodi Conkel at 740-351-1091 or the State Fire Marshals Office at 1-800-589-2728. All calls will remain anonymous.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



ORIGINAL STORY 3/8/12 @ 6:10 a.m.
SCIOTO COUNTY, Oh. (WSAZ) -- A pickup truck was found on fire Wednesday night in Scioto County.

The Scioto County Sheriff's office told WSAZ.com the truck was found along Junior Furnace Powellsville Road.

No other details are being released.

The Scioto County Sheriff's office and the State Fire Marshal were both on the scene investigating Wednesday night.

Be sure to check back with WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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