Suspected gunman pleads not guilty

By Deanna Hohler Bottar Record-Courier staff write Published:

Ronald Hambright, 49, of Notman Road, was arrested Tuesday in Springfield Township after allegedly firing several shots at his estranged wife, Melodie "Jill" Hambright, in the Euclid Garment Manufacturing Co. parking lot in Kent's Davey Industrial Park.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted aggravated murder, a first-degree felony, and a felony charge of abduction before Judge Joseph Kainrad.

The abduction charge was levied in connection with Hambright allegedly forcing a woman in Brimfield to drive him in her car to Springfield Township while fleeing the scene of the shooting. Hambright left Kent, driving south on S.R. 43. He abandoned his car in Brimfield before allegedly picking up the young woman who then drove him to Springfield.

The attempted aggravated murder charge, which carries a three- to 10-year prison sentence, also has a specification that a firearm was used to commit the crime. The gun specification carries a mandatory, additional three-year prison sentence.

Hambright, who remains held in the Portage County Jail in lieu of a $750,000 cash bond, was served Friday with a two-count indictment from a Portage County grand jury, listing the charges.

Kainrad approved a request for Hambright to undergo a competency examination to determine if he is mentally competent to withstand a trial.

Mrs. Hambright remains hospitalized in Akron City Hospital, where she was taken after the shooting, according to a hospital spokeswoman. Her condition was not available Friday.

After the shooting, she was listed in serious condition with several bullet wounds, including one that might have injured her spinal cord.

Hambright also has a charge of inducing a panic pending against him in Portage County Municipal Court in Ravenna. The count stems from an armed standoff Hambright allegedly was involved with in July.

The Alliance barber reportedly kept deputies from the Portage County Sheriff's Office at bay while he was inside his Deerfield home. Several shots were fired inside the residence during the standoff, including one through the TV.

At the time of the standoff, Portage County Sheriff Duane Kaley said the incident was sparked by marital difficulties between Hambright and his wife.

Papers were filed Wednesday at the Portage County Courthouse on Mrs.

Hambright's behalf seeking a divorce from her husband. A restraining

order also was awarded at Mrs. Hambright's request.

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