WILMINGTON — The kidnapping case involving a Blanchester man and a neighbor has been moved to the Clinton County Common Pleas Court.
Dennis Dunn, 45, appeared in Clinton County Municipal Court on Thursday for a preliminary hearing in regards to the alleged April 26 kidnapping of Jennifer Elliott.
The court heard testimonies from Elliott and from Mike Keller, the Blanchester patrol officer who responded to a missing person call and discovered the victim.
Elliott, in her testimony, said she couldn’t recall exactly when she was taken or what happened leading up to being put in the shed. But she did identify Dunn and recalled being in the shed.
According to her, Dunn had said, “You’re mine” and “I love you.”
“I thought I was going to die,” Elliott said.
She testified she was taken after 11:30 p.m. when she stepped outside her residence to smoke a cigarette and closed the front gate, which she had discovered was open.
Officer Keller recounted responding to the initial call he received from Elliott’s mother Gayle Rowe, the investigation, and the discovery of Elliott in the pit in Dunn’s shed.
“I knocked on the front of the shed and I thought what I heard was possible faint knocking. I went to the back of the shed and I could hear the knocking a little louder,” he said.
He said he yelled that if Elliott was in there, she should knock twice. He heard the knocks and heard “a female voice that sounded in distress.”
Keller and Elliott’s ex-husband, Spencer Elliott, entered through another side of the shed, removed items from the plank of wood covering the hole, discovered Elliott and removed her.
Keller said she appeared to be convulsing from a seizure and was transported to Clinton Memorial Hospital.
Keller recalled that, as Elliott was being transported, she said, “Don’t let him put me back in that hole.”
Elliott told the court that she and Dunn never had an intimate or romantic relationship, but were friends at one time. She said she had even done laundry at his house.
Earlier in April, Blanchester police received a report that Dunn had been harassing her via phone and text messages.
Dunn’s attorney, James Hartke, filed several motions to the court. A motion to dismiss and to extend time to file motions were denied.
A motion for competency and NGRI evaluations was taken under advisement. A plea of not guilty by reason of insanity was deemed premature and no action required at this time.
Dunn’s bond remains at $1 million with all previously ordered conditions continuing to apply, including no contact with the alleged victim. Dunn is incarcerated at the Clinton County Jail.
Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574
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