Last year, a man was shot multiple times and left for dead in a Colerain Township park.
He said 18-year-old Jeremiah McCloud of Fairfield was the shooter. And McCloud – who a few months before the shooting graduated from Middletown High School – was convicted in July of charges including attempted murder.
According to prosecutors, after shooting the man in the chest, abdomen and hand, McCloud pointed the gun at the man’s head and pulled the trigger. But the gun didn’t fire.
At McCloud’s sentencing Wednesday in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court, Judge Jody Luebbers said she couldn't make sense of what happened.
“The whole thing is bizarre,” said Luebbers, who sentenced McCloud to 15 to 18 years in prison.
Gun sale in a park
McCloud and the man met the night of Sept. 26, 2022, because the man intended to buy a gun from him, according to Luebbers.
He picked up McCloud from his home, and they drove to Heritage Park on East Miami River Road, apparently because they wanted to test fire the gun.
Court documents list the weapon as a 9 mm Ruger pistol.
Luebbers said that in her three decades as a prosecutor, defense attorney and judge, she has never heard of someone going to a public place to test fire a gun as part of a sale.
At the park, they exited the vehicle and walked to an area between two baseball fields. Prosecutors said in court documents that McCloud fired a few rounds into the air and handed the gun to the victim. He said he handed his cellphone to McCloud, fired a few shots into the air, then handed the gun back to McCloud.
McCloud said he acted in self-defense when he shot the man.
“I don’t know what you thought he was going to do to you,” Luebbers said. “You had the gun. And you shot him – not just once, but repeatedly.”
She added: “Who would give you their phone if they were going to hurt you?”
'Something went awry'
Assistant Prosecutor Kristen Kueffner said McCloud left the man to die. Although he survived, he has lasting injuries: His gall bladder had to be removed, and he lost about a third of his pancreas, Kueffner said.
McCloud’s attorney, Bradley Fox, said both had gone to the park to carry out a criminal act.
“Something went awry,” Fox said, “and Mr. McCloud made some really bad decisions.”
McCloud intends to appeal the convictions.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Jeremiah McCloud sentenced for attempted murder in Colerain park