Judge Warner makes statement on court process concerning Kane Roush case

POMEROY, Ohio – Communications received at the Meigs County Court of Pleas has prompted a statement being released by Judge Linda Warner.

Since the brutal death of Kane Roush. Roush, 25, was killed at this home in Pomeroy. Just before 5 a.m. on April 4, shouting and shots rang out along the river at Roush’s residence on Legion Terrace Road. Shot multiple times at close range, Roush managed to crawl to a neighbors for help. He succumbed to his injuries about an hour later.

People have been calling for “Justice for Kane.” The case has continued to be investigated and had remained an active investigation by the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations according to Sheriff Keith Wood. Inquiries have been coming in to the Meigs County Common Pleas Court concerning the case which prompted the following response from Judge Linda Warner:

RESPONSE REFERENCING KANE ROUSH INVESTIGATION

Thank you for contacting the Court. The murder of Kane Roush is heartbreaking, and we would all like to have answers about this tragedy immediately. However, as the Court, the local judicial branch, I cannot be involved in the investigation of any case. There are a number of reasons why I cannot, on my own, request the Ohio Bureau of Investigation (BCI) or the Attorney General to conduct the investigation or control the prosecutor’s presentation of any case or request for prosecutorial assistance from the AG.

First, and foremost is that the Court can only take an action, make a decision or orders, when a matter or request is filed in the Court by someone with standing. The Court cannot do anything based upon a phone call or an email from concerned citizens. The prosecuting attorney brings all criminal actions to the Common Pleas Court after Law Enforcement has completed an investigation. What potential charges are brought are at the discretion of the Prosecutor and eventually the Grand Jury. The Court does not appoint the Attorney General to provide assistance as a special prosecutor or as a special assistant prosecutor without a request from the prosecuting attorney.

It is only AFTER that investigation and filing of charges that the Court can get involved.

Members of the public are not allowed to dictate or control the manner in which the law enforcement agency or agencies conduct the investigation or how the prosecuting attorney presents the potential criminal case.

Additionally, I cannot be involved in or take part in an investigation, not only because I am from the wrong branch of government to do that, but also because if I have knowledge of a situation, outside what is presented in the Court proceedings, that likely would create a conflict of interest and then I would not be able to sit as judge on the case. If that happened, the County would have the expense (and possible delays) of a visiting judge to sit by assignment.

Apparently, there has been incorrect or confusing information put out on social media, emails and messages about what I can do, as Common Pleas Court Judge, on my own. My understanding with prior inquiries was that I would not be able to do so on my own. I have made extensive inquires to see whether that is still the case. I wanted to make sure there has been no change in the procedure for requests of the Attorney General and BCI assistance, since I last checked. I found that the rules have not changed. A Common Pleas Court Judge does not have the ability, absent a valid request from law enforcement or a prosecutor, to request the BCI or Attorney General to take charge of an investigation or prosecution of a potential criminal case. Only a law enforcement agency may request investigative assistance from BCI and only a prosecuting attorney can request the appointment of a special prosecuting attorney or the appointment of a special assistance prosecuting attorney.

With this in mind, I have asked the Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney if they could tell me if BCI is involved in the Kane Roush homicide investigation. I have been informed from the Prosecuting Attorney and Meigs County Sheriff that BCI has been involved in the investigation since Easter Morning and continues to be actively involved in the investigation.

I certainly understand the frustration with the pace of investigations, in general. But I also understand that often law enforcement elects to have a case fully investigated and completely ready to go to trial before charges are filed. I can tell you that if and when this matter is before the Court it will be given utmost attention.

Thank you for your communications and concern.
MEIGS COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT
JUDGE LINDA R. WARNER

For more information, click the link for a statement on the case from Sheriff Keith Wood.