UPDATE: Man gets 4 years in prison for role in Athens County death

ATHENS, Ohio (WTAP) - UPDATE: 11/8/2018 10 A.M.

Four men have been arrested and charged in the kidnapping and murder of Christopher Meadows, of Athens County, who went missing on July 25, 2018, after his body was found buried in the woods on Sept. 4, 2018.
Four men have been arrested and charged in the kidnapping and murder of Christopher Meadows, of Athens County, who went missing on July 25, 2018, after his body was found buried in the woods on Sept. 4, 2018.

One of five people indicted in the death of an Athens County man whose body was found in a shallow grave in September is sentenced to four years in prison.

James Pascol, 57, of Shade, Ohio, was sentenced Thursday in Athens County Common Pleas Court for his conviction on charges of gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

The charges stem from the death of Christopher Meadows, who was reported missing on July 25. His body was found in a 5-foot grave in Shade on Sept. 4.

According to Athens County Prosecuting Attorney Keller Blackburn, Benjamin Cochran, 29, of The Plains, and William Milam, 32, of Nelsonville, kidnapped Meadows under the direction of Ronald Smith, 35, of Shade.

Blackburn said Meadows died during the kidnapping, and Cochran, Milam, Smith and Pascol buried him in the woods.

Cochran, Smith and Milam were indicted on charges of aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

Milam has a pretrial hearing scheduled for Nov. 15, while Smith has a pretrial hearing scheduled for Nov. 27.

Cheyanne Holly, 25, of Nelsonville, Ohio, is also under indictment in the case. She is charged with tampering with evidence and has a pretrial hearing scheduled for Nov. 15.


UPDATE: 09/18/18 6:40 P.M.

Four people indicted on numerous charges in the death of an Athens County man pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Common Pleas Court.

Authorities found the body of Christopher Meadows in a shallow grave in Shade, Ohio, on Sept. 4. He had been reported missing on July 25.

Benjamin Cochran, 29, of The Plains, Ronald Smith, 35, of Shade, and William Milam, 32, of Nelsonville, all pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

Bond for all three men was set at $1 million with no 10 percent.

Cochran and Milam are scheduled to go on trial Nov. 15, while Smith’s trial is set for Nov. 13.

Cheyanne Holly, 25, of Nelsonville, pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence. Her bond was set $25,000 with 10% allowed. She’s also scheduled to go on trial on Nov. 15.


UPDATE: 9/10/18 5:10 P.M.

A grand jury in Athens County has indicted five people on numerous charges in the death of a man whose body was found last week in a shallow grave.

Christopher Meadows had been missing since July 25 when authorities recovered his body from a shallow grave on Sept. 4 in Shade, Ohio.

Benjamin Cochran, 29, of The Plains, Ronald Smith, 35, of Shade and William Milam, 32, of Nelsonville, are charged with aggravated-murder, murder, kidnapping, gross abuse of a corpse and tampering with evidence.

James Pascol, 57, of Shade, is charged with gross abuse of corpse and tampering with evidence.

Cheyanne Holly, 25, of Nelsonville, is charged with tampering with evidence.

The Athens County prosecuting attorney’s office says Cochran and Milam allegedly kidnapped Meadows under the direction of Smith.

Authorities say Meadows died during the kidnapping, and Milam, Smith, and Cochran allegedly buried his body in the woods with help from Pascol.

No other details of the investigation have been released.

All five suspects are scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 19 in Athens County Common Pleas Court.


ORIGINAL STORY

The Athens County Sheriff’s Office says a man missing since late July was found in a five foot grave in Shade, Ohio.

Deputies say they found Christopher Meadows body in the grave. He went missing in the early morning hours of July 25, 2018.

Benjamin Cochran and William Milam are accused of kidnapping him that day, under the direction of Ronnie Smith. During the alleged kidnapping is when he died. The three of them, with the help of James Pascol, reportedly buried him in the woods.

The Athens County Sheriff’s Office, Athens Major Crimes Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification and the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office executed a search warrant to recover his body September 4, 2018.

Following the recovery, a search warrant was executed in Meigs County at Ronald Smith's house with the assistance of the Athens County Sheriff’s Office, Athens Major Crimes Unit and the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office.

Ronnie Smith was arrested in Hocking County September 4, 2018, with the assistance of the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, Hocking County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio State Highway Patrol on Love Street in Logan, Ohio.

Smith has been charged with Kidnapping, a felony of the first degree and Murder, an unclassified felony. Smith is currently at the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail on a $1 million bond.

Also, on September 4, 2018, James Pascol was arrested in Shade, Ohio by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office, Pascol has been charged with Abuse of a Corpse and Tampering with Evidence. He is currently being held at the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail on a $100,000 with 10 percent permitted bond.

On September 5, 2018, William Milam was arrested in Nelsonville, Ohio by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office. Milam has been charged with Kidnapping, a felony of the first degree and Murder, an unclassified felony. Milam is currently being held at the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail on a one (1) million-dollar bond.

Also, on September 5, 2018, Ben Cochran was arrested in The Plains, Ohio by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office. Cochran has been charged with Kidnapping, a felony of the first degree and Murder, an unclassified felony. Cochran is currently being held at the Southeast Ohio Regional Jail on a one (1) million-dollar bond.

This case was investigated by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office with assistance provided by the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office, Athens Major Crimes Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification, and Meigs County Sheriff’s Office.



 
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