Ohio AG: Nothing criminal found regarding man’s death in officers’ custody in 2019


News Journal staff



The Aug. 18 letter from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to Clinton County Prosecutor Andrew McCoy.

The Aug. 18 letter from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to Clinton County Prosecutor Andrew McCoy.


Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office

Letter online

The attorney general’s letter is online at wnewsj.com.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has ended a “complete review” of the case of a man who died in police custody in 2019, and found “it is not appropriate to pursue criminal prosecution into this matter at this time.”

According to a letter from the AG’s office to the Clinton County Prosecutor dated Aug. 18, the AG’s office made the determination “after a careful inspection of the materials provided and discussions about the case with multiple people.”

The family of Marvin Napier Sr. has alleged his death at age 60 was caused by law enforcement on Nov. 25, 2019 and that the incident and investigations were “whitewashed.”

Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney Andrew McCoy told the News Journal that the officers involved have been cleared of any potential criminal charges. There is a civil case pending.

“I have complete confidence in their review of the case,” said McCoy. “My heart goes out the (Napier) family, I can empathize, but I believe the attorney general was correct in their decision to not pursue charges.”

Review requested

The News Journal reported in September 2021 that the Ohio Attorney General’s Office agreed to review the death of Napier at the request of prosecutor McCoy.

In a letter dated Sept. 27, 2021 to Napier’s daughter regarding referring the case to the Ohio AG’s office, McCoy stated, “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.

Family and some community members 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.

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.”

The News Journal reported on Nov. 15, 2019 — 10 days before his death — that Napier was indicted by a Clinton County grand jury and he was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine and possessing methamphetamine.

Clinton County Sheriff’s Office Col. Brian Prickett told the News Journal last year, “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.

Earlier lawsuit

The News Journal reported on June 9, 2022 that a judge ruled against the plaintiff and for Clinton County and City of Wilmington agencies and departments and 37 individuals associated with those entities and others who were sued by Napier’s family.

The City of Wilmington and the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office last December each filed motions to dismiss for various reasons.

The city called it a “frivolous lawsuit” which “fails to allege a civil rights violation and it fails to connect any violation to the City of Wilmington parties.” Those parties include the mayor, each member of city council, and a total of 15 individuals associated with the city — even though the alleged incident occurred outside of the city — apparently because a private individual(s) contacted them stating the case needed to be investigated further.

The county called for the court to “strike the Complaint and Amended complaint as sham and false filings.”

Judge J. Patrick Foley III of the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas — who was assigned to the case of “Faith Mclemore, et al., Plaintiff v. Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, Defendants” filed on January 5 and seeking $27 million — made the six-page ruling in Clinton County Common Pleas Court.

Clinton County Common Pleas Judge John W. “Tim” Rudduck had recused himself from the case in December. In January, the Ohio Supreme Court assigned the case to Judge Foley.

The Aug. 18 letter from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to Clinton County Prosecutor Andrew McCoy.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/08/web1_BCI-letter.jpgThe Aug. 18 letter from the Ohio Attorney General’s Office to Clinton County Prosecutor Andrew McCoy. Clinton County Prosecutor’s Office

https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2022/08/web1_Court-scales-of-justice-2.jpgClinton County Prosecutor’s Office

News Journal staff

Letter online

The attorney general’s letter is online at wnewsj.com.