Stone lauds staff work in Todd murder probe

LISBON — County Sheriff Ray Stone is pleased Kevin E. Kirby has been indicted by the Columbiana County Common Pleas Court grand jury for allegedly murdering Melinda Todd in 2012, but he disagrees with the notion his office was not involved in making it happen.

The Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office and its detectives worked “countless hours” on the case, Stone said, interviewing and reinterviewing people, following up on countless leads and gathering the evidence in the case. The Homicide Task Force, a county-wide group which provides additional manpower for the investigation, also was involved, Stone said. That task force has recently become the Violent Crimes Task Force.

Additionally, Stone said he was the one who wrote to the then Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, asking for a second set of eyes to look at both the Todd case and the case involving another unsolved homicide, the death of William S. Young. Stone said he actually had a larger list, but they wanted to limit it to two cases and the detectives with the sheriff’s office believed these should be at the top of the stack.

When the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigations investigators got here, Stone said they were given the opportunity to copy all the files the sheriff’s detectives had created in relation to the case, which gave them all the background and leads in the case. Stone said his detectives worked with BCI and the Prosecutor’s Office on the case.

Kirby, 44, is charged with aggravated murder in connection with Todd’s death, attempted murder regarding her 5-year-old grandson, who also was severely beaten with an object, and tampering with evidence. At the age of 43, Todd was found dead in her state Route 45 home south of Salem the afternoon of Dec. 3, 2012. The cause of death was later determined to be from a blunt instrument.

Kirby was served the indictment by Ohio BCI, but remains in the custody of the Belmont Correctional Institute. Chief Assistant County Prosecutor John Gamble said Kirby is expected back for arraignments, which are scheduled to be held on Nov. 7.

“The most important thing is that justice will finally be served for the family of Melinda Todd and (her grandson),” Stone said.