Joseph Whittenberger, 19, of 8437 S.R. 303, Windham, and brothers Douglas J. Jenkins, 20, and Michael A. Jenkins, 23, both of 315 Franklin St., Apt. 2, Ravenna, were taken into custody in connection with the murder of Carole Howd, who was slain Dec. 1 in an incident that left her live-in companion, Guy Lantz, injured.
An aggravated murder complaint was filed against each of the men, according to Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci.
A fourth man, Kenneth C. Lame, 20, 610 Lincoln St., Ravenna, was charged with obstruction of justice, a third-degree felony, in connection with the case. He is accused of giving false information to Sgt. James Carrossi, a deputy in the Portage County Sheriff's office who was investigating the murder.
All four remain in the Portage County Jail pending arraignment, said Portage County Sheriff Duane Kaley.
Kaley said the Jenkins brothers and Whittenberger are accused of killing Howd, 51, who died after suffering a blunt injury to her head, after they allegedly attempted to rob the home where she and Lantz lived at 8965 Corbett Road, between Wayland and Windham-Deerfield roads in Palmyra, which is about 10 miles southeast of Ravenna.
"Our office worked very hard to successfully identify the assailants in this violent crime," Kaley said Friday night. "We have successfully done so as a result of following investigative leads."
Vigluicci said a search warrant was being executed Friday night to search a car, which sheriff's deputies have taken as evidence, and the home of one of the men arrested. He declined to say which home.
Both said it is not believed that Howd knew the men. "There's no evidence of that whatsoever," Vigluicci said.
He said the investigation is continuing, and did not rule out the possibility of more charges being filed. The men will be arraigned in the Portage County Municipal Court in Ravenna, where a preliminary hearing will be set.
"Typically, this kind of case will go before a grand jury," he said. The grand jury has the power to hand down felony indictments.
"We've been out here all day with the sheriff reviewing the investigation," he said Friday night. "They've conducted a very thorough investigation and we're very pleased with the results."
The rural residence where the murder occurred on the north side of Corbett Road also houses LCI Computer Services, which Howd and Lantz operated together. The couple was not married but lived in the house together.
Lantz, 30, was treated at Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna and released after sustaining scratches and bruises on his upper body and face when the incident occurred.