East Side Attacks: Man Arrested, Witnesses Needed

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CLEVELAND – An arrest has been made after the body of a 20-year-old woman was found on the east side of the city.

According to a spokesperson for the Cleveland Division of Police, 43-year-old Jerome Ogletree was arrested in connection with the death of Jazmine Trotter.  Trotter’s badly beaten body was found on Saturday, March 24 in an abandoned home on East 93rd Street.  She had been reported missing a few days earlier by her family.

On Wednesday, Trotter was laid to rest after a service in East Cleveland.  Her death was the first in a series of attacks that have left many people concerned, including Cleveland City Councilwoman Mamie Mitchell.

“We are all in this together, basically council persons, our churches, our community,” said Mitchell.  “We do not need any more of these incidents.”

Council members and leaders of the faith community are saddened by Trotter’s death and two other violent attacks in recent days, which police said are unrelated.

Christine Malone, 45, was found dead in the same neighborhood last week and this past weekend, a 20-year-old woman was grabbed and almost sexually assaulted near East 116th and Harvey.  A passing car stopped and the passengers managed to scare off her attacker.  Those good Samaritans left the scene, but several pastors are hoping they’ll show up and reveal more information about the suspect on the run.

“It’s obvious that we’ve had some good Samaritans, but at this moment we’re asking for the good Samaritans to go the extra mile of the way and if those good Samaritans go the extra mile of the way, we believe that we can restore peace into this community,” said Rev. Robin Hedgeman from Bethany Christian Church.

While the faith community considers Ogletree’s arrest good news, they say no one should be letting down their guard.  In an interview with FOX 8 News on Tuesday, the survivor of the attack on East 116th Street had a warning for women in her neighborhood.

“To watch out, be aware of your surroundings, be aware of what's going on around you at all times, it can happen to anybody.  I thought it’d never happen to me, but it did,” the woman who wanted to remain unidentified said.

According to police, the witnesses who saved her life may have a good description of the attacker, which is why they’re being urged to call police or a pastor.

“We need you, we stand here today saying that we will support you and protect whatever needs to be protected so that you come forward,” said Pastor Grady Stevenson from Damascus Road Ministries.

Councilwoman Mitchell and Councilman Zack Reed are also coordinating a community meeting to address safety concerns.  It is scheduled for Tuesday, April 9 at 6 p.m.  The public is being asked to attend the meeting at the E Prep Woodland Hills Campus, 9201 Crane Avenue in Cleveland.

As of Wednesday night, the suspect arrested in connection with Trotter’s death had not been charged.

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