WILMINGTON — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office will review the death of a Clinton County man — who died during law enforcement custody in 2019 — at the request of Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney Andrew T. McCoy.
A spokesman with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office confirmed to the News Journal Tuesday that the AG’s office has taken on the case, but it has not yet assigned a special prosecutor.
In a letter dated Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 to the late Marvin Napier’s daughter, McCoy states, “I need to advise that you should draw no inference from this referral that I have found any evidence of criminal conduct. I believe Mr. Moyer’s review of the case was fair and impartial. I have made this referral so that you, as the daughter of Mr. Napier, together with his family, can have confidence that any decision relating to the matter is made by a professional and experienced office outside of Clinton County.”
“Mr. Moyer” refers to former Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney Richard Moyer, who died in September 2020.
In a March 17, 2020 letter to the sheriff’s office, Moyer wrote, “I have recently reviewed the aforementioned criminal file. I will be closing the file in our office based on the report from Montgomery County Coroner. The report indicates Mr. Napier died [due] to multiple drug intoxication (methamphetamine and amphetamine) with cardiomegaly contributing.”
Family and some community members have sought to have the case file reopened due to their belief that Napier’s death was suspicious, i.e. directly caused by law enforcement personnel.
The News Journal contacted the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office for comment. Col. Brian Prickett said, “We will let our investigative findings as well as the attorney general’s investigative finding speak for themselves as we certainly support this review by an outside agency.”
According to a Clinton County Coroner’s Office report, a sheriff’s deputy had reported Napier, of Reeder Road near Blanchester, was a passenger in a vehicle that a deputy was attempting to stop due to a traffic violation in the early morning hours of Nov. 25, 2019. The report states information from the CCSO that the vehicle stopped in a driveway on State Route 350 and Napier jumped out and started to run, and that “Napier became unresponsive when he was in custody.”
Deputies reported that they attempted CPR, 911 was called, and Wilmington EMS arrived but Napier could not be revived. Napier was pronounced dead at Clinton Memorial Hospital. Clinton County Coroner Ronald Seaman, M.D., was notified and ordered an autopsy. Napier’s body was transported to the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office.