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High Bond Set for Brunner in Court; Simmonds Returned to Columbus

COLUMBUS (Derek Drake/Kellie Hanna) -- Two teenage murder suspects, arrested Saturday, are back in Columbus to face murder charges.

According to the Columbus Division of Police, Devonere Simmonds, 17, and Nathaniel Brunner, 18, were arrested Saturday morning, July 27, 2013, by Dayton Police after an off-duty officer found the pair sleeping in a car.

Brunner was arraigned on a murder charge in Columbus Tuesday. The judge set a $1.5 million bond for him and ordered no contact by the suspect, his friends or family with the victim's family.

Police have now charged both with the murder of 17-year-old Lamont Frazier, who was found dead on the sidewalk in front of 900 Oakwood Avenue.  This murder took place just hours after the murder of a convenience store clerk.

Simmonds is back in Columbus and could be arraigned on murder charges on Wednesday. In the facts presented in Brunner's arraignment Tuesday, Simmonds was the person who shot and killed Imran Ashgar, 34, on Wednesday, July 24.

On Saturday, July 27, 2013, a State Trooper from the West Jefferson Post spotted the two suspects walking along the ramp from I-70 to U.S. 42 after they had abandoned a stolen Pontiac Bonneville on the side of the road, according to Lt. Ann Ralston with the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The trooper, Sgt. Jeffery Shane, a 29-year OSHP veteran, gave the two a ride to the TA Truck Stop on U.S. 42, just south of I-70.

According to officials Sgt. Shane failed to follow protocol in not searching the two teens before allowing them into his cruiser.

Madison County Sheriff investigators say after Sgt. Shane dropped the two men off, they approached William J. Rudd, 39 of Herndon, VA, at a gas pump. Police say they shot Rudd in the face and stole his blue Dodge Magnum. Rudd was transported to Grant Medical Center and is expected to survive.

Officials say Simmonds and Brunner fled to Dayton in Rudd`s car, where they were located by Dayton Police and arrested by SWAT officers.

On Saturday, Chief Jacobs said, "I`m happy to say it`s over, as far as they`re [no longer] out menacing our community. But we have a lot more investigation to do and we will continue to do so and find out how much they are involved in all of this."

Simmonds and Brunner have both been charged for the July 24th slaying of 34-year-old Ashgar, a clerk at the Convenient Plus Food Mart at 1475 East Livingston Ave. Police say they are still looking for two persons-of-interest in connection with that shooting (Click here to see a photo of one of those individuals).

Columbus Police believe Simmonds and Brunner are also connected to the shooting death of Lamont "Antonio" Frazier, 17. Police say Frazier was shot around 6:45 a.m. on July 25, 2013 on the 900 block of Oakwood Ave., hours after the killing of Ashgar and only a few blocks away from the food mart on E. Livingston Ave.

In an interview with ABC 6/FOX 28, Frazier`s grandmother, Sheena Davis, said, My grandson was killed because he knew too much." Davis held a vigil for her grandson the day he was killed asking for the killer to come forward.

In addition to the two homicides, and the shooting in Madison County on Saturday morning, investigators believe at least one of the suspects in custody is involved in the murder of Quinten Ellis-John Prater, 22. Prater was shot and killed on Sunday, July 21 on the 700 block of Lilley Ave.

Police say Simmonds` mother told police he had admitted to her that he was, "wanted for the Lilley Avenue shooting." James E. Norvett III, 21, was also critically injured in the shooting, but has since been released from the hospital.

Lt. Ralston said Sgt. Shane failed to follow proper protocol in which all individuals entering his cruiser are to be thoroughly searched. Sgt. Shane has been placed on administrative duty and an internal investigation into his actions is under way. Lt. Ralston expressed her condolences to the victim and his family; she assured the public the situation will be fully investigated.

The Columbus Division of Police, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Dayton Police Department and Madison County Sheriff are all working together in the investigation.

Click here to watch Chief Jacob`s full press conference from Saturday explaining the details of the case so far.

This story continues to develop and as new information becomes available we will update this story.
 
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