Reynoldsburg man charged with Bexley murder; new details in two Columbus homicides


When Bexley police met a 911 caller about a «strange dog» a man had apparently put inside her vehicle, the man joined officers and the bewildered woman at the scene.

The caller said there was «something wrong with» the man when she called police at 1:52 p.m. Monday to the front office at the Bexley House Apartments on the 2800 block of East Broad Street. She said he was either on drugs or there was some mentally wrong with him.

That man, later identified by police as Stewart Drier Jr., 38, of Reynoldsburg, told police that he did put the dog in the vehicle — after killing someone in a nearby apartment.

He told police he «wanted officers to see» what he had done, according to court records filed by Bexley police about the incident.

When officers went into the apartment, police reported they found a victim, identified by police as 30-year-old Jordan T. Brown, with obvious head and throat injuries, records state. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Drier admitted «multiple times» to killing Brown, which was captured on police body camera, according to the court records.

Drier was arrested and charged with murder. He was arraigned Tuesday and ordered held in the Franklin County jail in lieu of $1 million bond.

The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation is assisting Bexley police detectives in the homicide investigation, the first in the city since 2014.

Second person dies from Podunk’s shooting on Columbus North Side

Columbus police announced Tuesday that an employee of a North Side bar who was shot along with three other people after a fight inside the bar early March 11 spilled outside has died from his injuries.

Mareo Bell, 33, worked security at Podunk’s Bar and Grill, located at 1644 E. Dublin-Granville Road, and police said he was shot in the head by 34-year-old Wayne Coffman.

Previous coverage: 2 killed, 4 wounded in separate shootings at Podunk’s bar and south of Easton Town Center

Coffman had previously been charged with murder in connection with the shooting, which resulted in 36-year-old Laurance Ball, dying on March 11 from her injuries. Two other people were also wounded in the shooting.

According to court records, Coffman had gotten into a fight with a man inside the bar and attempted to grab a firearm from at least one security employee before going to the parking lot. Video from the bar showed Coffman in the parking lot being handed a gun by another person and then shooting at the man he was fighting with, as well as other people.

A warrant has been filed for Coffman’s arrest for murder. He remains at large.

Police say woman allegedly shot by husband over the weekend has died

Columbus homicide detectives say a Southeast Side woman who was shot in the head early Saturday by her husband has succumbed to her injuries.

Heidi Duda, 48, was shot around 2:30 a.m. Saturday inside a van stopped on the 1000 block of Country Club Road between Main Street and East Livingston Avenue on the city’s East Side. Duda was taken to Mount Carmel East hospital, where she was officially pronounced dead Tuesday.

Police arrested her husband, 53-year-old Rodney Vanatta, after the shooting and charged him with felonious assault. He is being held in the Franklin County jail on $1.5 million bond.

Columbus police homicide detectives have been in communication with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s office to discuss whether detectives will charge Vanatta with murder in connection with the fatal shooting, or wait for the case to be presented to a county grand jury for indictment.

In a 911 call made by Vanatta, he tells the dispatcher, «Somebody just shot my wife!» He said someone in a tan hoodie in a gray or maroon vehicle that bumped up against their blue minivan shot his wife through the passenger window. He could not say which way the person in the other vehicle drove away.

Vanatta said in the call there was «blood everywhere» as the dispatcher and a medic tried to give him pre-arrival instructions to help his wife before police and medics arrived. The call ends as officers arrived on scene.

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@bethany_bruner

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Reynoldsburg man charged in Bexley murder; updates on 2 Columbus cases



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