Three men were indicted in northeast Ohio Wednesday after being accused of planning and carrying out a contract killing that resulted in the death of a person with the same name as the intended target.
Geauga County officials said Joseph Rosebrook, 59, of Saint Cloud, Florida; Chad South, 45, of Moraine, Ohio; and Carl Rosebrook, 57, of East Liberty, Ohio, were indicted on charges of aggravated murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit aggravated murder. They're being held in Geauga County Jail, just east of Cleveland, after their arrests on June 1.
Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland said Joseph Rosebrook, the operator of a stolen car "chop shop", hired South to kill a man named Daniel Ott whose cooperation had forced Rosebrook to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge in central Ohio. Joseph Rosebrook was sentenced to 10 years in prison before being released in March 2014 and moving to Florida. Carl Rosebrook, Joseph's brother, handled payments to South while Joseph was in prison.
In 2006, 31-year-old Daniel Ott, of Burton Township, was shot and killed by a man who had broken into his home. Detectives were baffled by the slaying. They followed the usual playbook, looking at Ott's activities and the people who knew him. They got nowhere. Ott worked at a greenhouse nursery and lived an unassuming life with his girlfriend
It took investigators six months to learn that there was another Daniel Ott, who they believe was the actual target of the hitman.
It took wiretaps, the help of state investigators and dogged determination to finally slap handcuffs on the three men, McClelland said. The case took so long to solve because promising leads went nowhere thanks to Joe Rosebrook's terrifying reputation. McClelland said Rosebrook specialized in witness intimidation and that he remains a suspect in the death of an associate killed in 1999 after he cooperated with authorities in an earlier criminal case against Rosebrook.
"Detectives repeatedly ran into the phrase, `I know what you want, but they will kill me,"' McClelland said. "Witnesses flat out refused to talk."
The Daniel Ott who the hit man was paid to kill has survived two assassination attempts, the sheriff said. He would not say where that Daniel Ott lives for his protection.
Authorities also won't say why the hit man picked out the wrong Daniel Ott.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.