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Here are some of today's top stories from around the area, including a new pro football team in Akron, two Cleveland men receive a $1.3 million settlement for being wrongfully convicted and a veteran Cleveland police officer is found guilty of rape.
CLEVELAND POLICE: Veteran Cleveland police officer Gregory Jones was found guilty by a jury yesterday of raping and kidnapping a woman in 2012, although not guilty of the rape of a woman reported in 2008, according to The Plain Dealer. Jones, who was an officer for 20 years before being suspended without pay since August 2012. The first report against Jones was made in July 2012 by a woman whom Jones had met through friends. A second woman saw a news report about the accusation against Jones and and accused him of raping her in 2008, but Jones' attorney said there was no evidence of her attack other than that report. Sentencing for Jones has been set for April 30. Click here to read more at cleveland.com.
AKRON HOSPITAL MERGE: During the Akron State of the City address Wednesday, Mayor Don Plusquellic called for Akron General and Summa Health Systems to merge rather than "duplicating costs and competing," according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Plusquellic said he does not want out-of-town interests — such as Summa's deal with Cincinnati-based Catholic Health Partners last year or the larger partner Akron General is searching for now — coming into the community, and compared Akron's health-care industry to a battlefield. Both Akron General and Summa Health System representatives gave statements saying that a merger would not be likely between the two. Plusquellic also proposed the idea of gathering all the communities in Summit County into a unified city-county government. Click here to read more at ohio.com.
WRONGFULLY CONVICTED: The city of Cleveland has agreed to pay $1.3 million to Thomas Siller and Walter Zimmer, two men who spent 13 years in prison for a crime they did not commit, according to The Plain Dealer. Siller and Zimmer were convicted in 1997 in the beating death of 74-year-old Lucy Zolkowski. It was later discovered that Cleveland Police Department forensic serologist Joseph Serowik had done flawed DNA testing, and he was fired in 2004 while Siller and Zimmer were released from prison in 2011. The two filed a federal lawsuit last year, saying that the city failed to train and supervise Serowik, who violated their due process rights. Siller and Zimmer have also sued the state in Common Pleas Court and are still awaiting that ruling. Click here to read more at cleveland.com.
LANDLORD SHOOTOUT: Akron police are searching for two men who allegedly shot at their landlord during a dispute around 4 p.m. Tuesday at the landlord's rental property in the 100 block of Lake Street, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. The landlord told police that he was at the Lake Street house when Benjamin D. Marshall, 27, who's last address is the Lake Street property, and James D. Dempsie III, 24, showed up and began arguing with him about property they had left in the house, before firing shots at the landlord and fleeing in a car. The landlord was not wounded. Marshall is wanted on charges of aggravated menacing, possession of drug paraphernalia, illegal manufacturing of drugs, illegal assembly of chemicals and possession of meth and is described as white, 5 feet 11 inches tall and 170 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Dempsie is wanted on a charge of attempted felonious assault and is white, 6 feet 1 inch tall, weighs 220 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Click here to read more at ohio.com.
AKRON BLAZE: The Akron Blaze, a new professional football team will play its first preseason game May 16 at InfoCision Stadium, making it the fourth team to join the Rivals Professional Football League, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. The Blaze will play two preseason home games followed by three regular-games on the road against the Southern Michigan Mustangs, the Chicago Kings and the Detroit Cougars. The league is open to anyone 18 and older to tryout, including high school football players who did not attend college, but has a $145 fee. Players will make $250 a game, but incentives could push their salaries to $7,000 a year. Click here to read more at ohio.com.