Murder case bound over to grand jury

Published 5:29 pm Friday, June 7, 2019

CHESAPEAKE — A case against a man accused of allegedly causing the death of his housemate has been bound over to the Lawrence County Common Pleas Court.

Kenneth J. Radimaker, 43, has been charged with unspecified felony murder charge and his case was heard in the municipal court on Monday. While the case was heard in the Lawrence County Municipal Court on Monday, it was bound over to the common pleas court for a grand jury to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.

The case against Radimaker stems from a May 29 incident on Township Road 287 in Chesapeake. At 1:08 a.m., the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office got a call about domestic violence and when deputies arrived on the scene, they found 52-year-old James A. Baker Jr. unconscious in a bedroom and called for medical assistance. Paramedics were unable to revive him.

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A witness told deputies that Baker and Radimaker had been living together for the past several months and that the two had an argument that escalated into a physical fight with Radimaker assaulting Baker with his hands.

Radimaker fled the scene before deputies arrived. After an extensive search, he was found and arrested by deputies in a wooded area behind the residence around 3 a.m.

He was taken to the Lawrence County Jail on unspecified felony murder charge and interviewed by detectives the next day.

Sheriff Jeff Lawless has said that the cause of the fight between the two men hadn’t been determined yet.

Lawless explained the two men were sharing a house and bills and that a call about domestic violence means it is a situation between any people sharing a household.

“It just has to be household members, it doesn’t have to be that they are related or romantically involved,” Lawless said. “The way the domestic violence law reads it can be anyone you live with.”

Lawrence County Sheriff’s Detective Aaron Bollinger testified that a preliminary autopsy report showed Baker died after being struck below the chin causing an artery to rupture and causing his brain to bleed.

Radimaker had been before the Lawrence County Municipal Court in August 2018 on a domestic violence charge. He was given probation and made to take outpatient treatment for alcohol for two years. That case is set for review on July 7.