Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Emily Elizabeth Rimel

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A Franklin County grand jury indicted a man on Monday in connection with the death of a 5-year-old girl.

Lindsay Bruce, who was already convicted in kidnapping Emily Rimel, was charged with her murder, NBC 4's Holly Hollingsworth reported.

Bruce, 25, was indicted on four counts, including two counts of aggravated murder. He was also cha
rged with murder and tampering with evidence, Hollingsworth reported.

Bruce could face the death penalty if he is convicted. He is already serving a 10 year sentence, the maximum sentence possible for the kidnapping charge, NBC 4 reported.

The indictment came a month after Rimel's remains were found in Big Walnut Creek in southern Franklin County. A woman who was fishing with her son found the child's skull.

DNA was taken from three of the five teeth in the skull. At the state's crime laboratory, the DNA was matched with the girl's DNA, along with the DNA from her mother and father, NBC 4 reported.

Police obtained Rimel's DNA from a winter coat, Burton reported.

Rimel was last seen inside her Madison Township home in December 2004. The 5-year-old girl disappeared from her home while Bruce, who was called a family friend, was visiting.

Detectives believed the girl died, but Bruce was not charged with her murder. Bruce was accused of raping her after.

Rimel's DNA was allegedly found on his genitalia, NBC 4 reported. A jury later found Bruce not guilty on the rape charge.

Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien said he did not expect a plea agreement from Bruce, who could face the death penalty if convicted.

"He refused to do it then. He refused to do it thereafter," O'Brien said. "He refused to do it before the start of the rape and kidnapping trial. I would not expect there to be any attempt at pleas in this case."

Bruce, who is being housed at the Warren Correctional Institution in southwest Ohio, is scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge later this week, Hollingsworth reported.

Kidnapper said he killed girl, inmate testifies

An inmate who served time with Lindsey Bruce became the first in a possible string of prisoners expected to say Bruce confessed to killing 5-year-old Emily Rimel more than two years ago.

There are a dozen current or former inmates on the prosecution’s witness list in Bruce’s aggravated-murder trial in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

Yesterday’s witness offered shocking new information for jurors:

"He came to me because he was nervous and didn’t know who to turn to," the inmate said. "He said he raped her and he killed her. He said he cut her head off."

Though authorities never determined how Emily died or whether she had been decapitated, only her skull was found when her remains were discovered 17 months after her disappearance on Dec. 7, 2004.

The bulk of yesterday’s testimony came from Brent Copley, who was the boyfriend of Emily’s mother, Jane, when the child disappeared. He is now married to Jane Rimel. He said that Bruce, a mechanic, had been his friend for 10 years.

On the night Emily disappeared from her Madison Township apartment, Bruce dropped by twice to visit Copley while Jane Rimel was at work overnight.

During the second visit, he plopped onto the couch and appeared to go to sleep, something he often did after a night of drinking, Copley said.

Copley said he then fell asleep in bed himself, and that he typically is a deep sleeper. He said Emily and her brother were asleep in their beds.

Because police have video of Bruce playing pool about 3 a.m. at a nearby all-night pool hall, it’s believed he went to Copley’s home shortly after that. He cannot account for his whereabouts from 3 a.m. to 9 a.m. that day, police said.

The next morning, Bruce and Emily were gone and the front door was unlocked.

But Copley said he didn’t consider Bruce a suspect until days later, when police said they’d found the girl’s DNA on Bruce’s genitals and he was arrested. Both Copley and Jane Rimel consented to searches and DNA swabs after the girl’s disappearance, but Bruce refused. Detectives obtained a court order within 13 hours of the girl’s disappearance to test him.

Under questioning by Cooper, Copley said Emily sometimes walked to school or a nearby playground with her mother or him. He said her grandmother lived in the same complex and that two sexual predators lived within a mile of their Reinbeau Drive apartment.

But Copley also added: "She never left the house by herself. She wasn’t raised that way."


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