Mindie Mock Stanifer admits to involuntary manslaughter, kidnapping and obstructing justice
The woman who prosecutors said drove with Chad South to Burton Township in 2006 to murder Daniel Ott pleaded guilty Monday morning to her role in the alleged murder-for-hire plot.
Mindie Mock Stanifer, 37, withdrew an earlier not guilty plea and pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; kidnapping, a second-degree felony; and two counts of obstruction of justice, third-degree felonies.
Her jury trial was scheduled to begin Monday.
“You admit that you committed the acts that make up and comprise those offenses?” Geauga County Common Pleas Judge David Fuhry asked Stanifer.
“Yes, sir,” she answered.
“I will accept the plea of guilt to those counts, make a finding of guilt based upon the plea and convict Mindie Mock Stanifer of those charges, subject to sentencing, which the court will defer to a later time,” Fuhry said, ordering preparation of a pre-sentence investigation report.
The judge also revoked Stanifer’s bond and sent her to the Geauga County Safety Center until sentencing.
Stanifer faces a maximum of 24 years in prison and a total fine of $55,000 when she is sentenced.
A prison sentence is presumed under Ohio law for the commission of first-degree and second-degree felonies, Fuhry explained.
Prosecutors claim that South, Stanifer and Alva Jacobs drove in Stanifer’s car from Dayton to Burton on May 25, 2006, spent the night at a friend of South’s and then drove to 31-year-old Daniel E. Ott’s home on Claridon-Troy Road the following morning.
They allege 60-year-old Joseph Rosebrook, of Florida, had hired South to kill Daniel C. Ott, a convicted car thief and reputed Rosebrook associate, in retaliation for his role in convicting Rosebrook of attempted murder for hire in 2005.
South entered the home around 6:30 a.m. and confronted Ott and his then girlfriend, Maryann Ricker.
Prosecutors believe South realized it was the wrong Daniel Ott — the Daniel Ott South was hired to kill would have been around 70 in 2006 — bound him with duct tape and attempted to leave.
As he was attempting to leave the home, Ott was able to free himself and ran after South, possibly holding a lamp. A scuffle ensued and Ott was shot in the chest.
When South returned to Stanifer’s car covered in blood, Stanifer vomited in the car as they drove away, according to an informant South spoke to while in prison in 2010.
Following a nearly four-day bench trial last week, Geauga County Common Pleas Court Judge Forrest Burt found South guilty of the murder of Ott and the kidnapping of Ott and Ricker. Sentencing was delayed until after a pre-sentence investigation report is prepared.
During trial, an informant, Richard Carter, testified South told him they sold the car to a salvage yard and South paid Stanifer $3,000 because it was her car.
Carter said he asked South why he didn’t kill Stanifer and South told him he loved her.
Stanifer originally was arrested in Florida on a warrant for one count of obstructing justice and was returned to the state of Ohio in August 2015.
While the investigation into Ott’s murder continued, new evidence was developed that led a grand jury to return a nine-count indictment in December 2015 against Stanifer on charges that included conspiracy to commit aggravated murder, aggravated murder and kidnapping.
Jacobs, who lives in Alabama, was indicted on one count of obstructing justice. His case is scheduled for trial in Fuhry’s courtroom on July 12.
Rosebrook’s trial is scheduled for July 18, also in Fuhry’s courtroom. He is being held without bail in the county jail.
Prosecutors allege Rosebrook, a man named Curt Frazier and Daniel C. Ott were involved a chop-shop operation in southern Ohio and were under investigation by the Logan County Sheriff’s Office.
Frazier had cut a deal with Logan County to save himself and agreed to testify against Rosebrook, who hired Daniel C. Ott to take care of Frazier. But Daniel C. Ott agreed to turn state’s evidence against Rosebrook, who was convicted in 2005 in Logan County in the attempted murder-for-hire plot to kill Frazier.
While serving a 10-year sentence at the London Correction Institution, prosecutors argue Rosebrook put out the hit on Daniel C. Ott.
South was an inmate at the same state prison until March 2006 and had also spent time with Rosebrook in the Logan County jail.
Rosebrook’s 57-year-old brother, Carl Jeffrey Rosebrook, was the alleged moneyman in the operation and was responsible for paying South the money. He posted a $1 million bond and is awaiting trial on Aug. 15.
Check back for video from this morning’s change of plea.