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Minerva man's murder trial ready to start

By MALCOLM HALL GateHouse Ohio Media Published: May 18, 2017 12:00 AM

CARROLLTON -- Prosecution and defense began the courtroom battle over the fate of Kenneth Blanchard, the 69-year-old Minerva man facing a murder charge in connection with a fatal shooting last Aug. 31.

Blanchard, whose trial opened May 15 in Carroll County Common Pleas Court, was arrested by Minerva police, accused of killing Michael Fairchild, 35, at a mobile home in the 300 block of Valley Street. The shooting occurred in the southern portion of Minerva, which falls within Carroll County.

Investigators have said Blanchard owned the mobile home, where his daughter, Kenzi Blanchard, lived. Kenzi Blanchard and Fairchild had an on-and-off relationship for several years, and Fairchild had been staying at the mobile home, police said at the time.

"Mr. Fairchild and Mr. Blanchard's daughter have a child in common," said Carroll County Prosecutor Steve Barnett.

Kenzi Blanchard, 33, had been arrested earlier, accused of violating her probation on recent drug convictions, and was in jail at the time of the fatal confrontation. She died in early April after losing her battle with addiction, according to her obituary.

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Witnesses and Kenneth Blanchard told police that Blanchard and his wife had driven by the trailer on Aug. 31 "and noticed windows or a door open," Minerva Police Chief Chris Miller said at the time. "(Kenneth Blanchard) went back to his house and got the gun to come back and check the residence and, when he went to the residence, Michael was in there."

Miller and Blanchard's defense attorney, Jeffrey Jakmides, declined to comment on particulars of the case prior to the trial.

But, "as far as the state of Ohio is concerned, we are prepared to move forward with the indictment as charged," Barnett said. "I believe it (trial) is assigned for three days. It is always an estimate. You never know for sure."

When Blanchard was arrested the day of the fatal shooting, police said they discovered a firearm in his pocket. Fairchild was on the floor of a bedroom with four gunshot wounds to his chest, according to police at the time.

Murder carries a prison term of 15 years to life with a conviction.


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