Wayne County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney John Williams said at the start of a jury trial Monday, Sept. 26, that Lonnie Brown, 49, 7421 Back Orrville Road, Wooster, was not implicated in the murder of Jamie Hout, 27, McGill St., Orrville, until Brown’s fingerprints were found in blood on a broken bottle neck.
Likening the case to television crime drama plots, Williams, in his opening statements to the jury, said police had hit more or less of a dead end until analysis of a beer bottle neck.
“The lab comes back; we found something in the evidence and guess who it belongs to,” Williams said. Brown was arrested May 16.
Brown is contesting charges of aggravated murder and murder in a jury trial that is expected to run through Thursday. He has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
Brown’s attorney, Wayne E. Graham, declined to make an opening statement Monday.
At the start of the investigation, Brown was the strongest lead police had. Brown reported Hout’s murder the evening of May 5 to a neighbor, who called 9-1-1. Brown met police at the door of Hout’s McGill Street residence, and went with police back to the station for several hours of questioning.
Brown’s initial claims that Hout had stolen drugs from “Guatemalans” and numerous text messages in Spanish sent to Hout had Orrville Police “visiting Orrville’s Hispanic” community and followed up leads that came “to nothing,” Williams said.
Hout was proficient in Spanish and used aliases with Hispanic last names. She was involved in sexual relationships with several men at the time she died, Williams said.
The bottle neck was collected by agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI & I) under a desk in the living room of Hout’s residence. BCI & I agent Mark Kollar testified Monday that the bottle neck was recovered along with glass from at least one more beer bottle. A broken glass candle holder with blood stains was recovered from the scene.
Blood was also found in Brown’s glasses, collected by Orrville Police the day he was arrested.
Kollar’s photographs of the McGill Street residence were entered into evidence Monday. The photos show a window that Brown said he climbed through May 5. According to Williams, Brown’s version of events are that he climbed through a dining room window after not hearing from Hout for two days. Brown saw Hout lying face down in the living room and ran out the front door for help.
Brown stated that the back door and front door were both locked May 5.
The photos show, beneath the window, a foot stool and a screen.
Coroner’s reports indicate Hout died of a broken neck suffered in the course of a brutal beating.
Kollar testified that Hout’s living room had blood throughout, on furniture, on the walls, and on the ceiling.
Orrville Patrolman Mike Smith took Brown in for questioning May 5. In a videotaped interview, Brown yelled at the camera in the Orrville Police interview room when left alone and muttered that he should have checked on Hout earlier that day.
Brown said he was a father figure to Hout, a relationship that developed when he dated Hout’s mother several years ago. In the interview, Brown said he talked to, texted or saw Hout almost everyday.
Hout was found partially undressed, lying facedown between a coffee table and sofa. Kollar testified that blood found near the sofa indicated Hout’s injuries were suffered “at about” the height of the sofa.
Kollar said the crime scene was so extensive that he did leave until 17 hours later.
Published: September 26, 2011