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'My goal is to have this man executed': Chad Doerman pleads not guilty after confessing to killing his 3 sons

Prosecution: "This did not happen on a whim."
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Posted at 7:41 AM, Jun 23, 2023

Editor's note: This story contains information that is difficult to read.

Chad Doerman pleaded not guilty in court Friday to the 21 charges against him after confessing to executing his three boys — Clayton, Hunter and Chase — with a rifle.

The judge ordered Doerman to be held without bail while awaiting a pretrial hearing on July 5.

In court Friday, the prosecution revealed additional details that took place at his home on Laurel Lindale Road in Monroe Township on June 15.

Clermont County Prosecutor Mark Tekulve said Doerman's massacre started inside the home where he shot his 4-year-old, Hunter, twice. He then walked outside and shot 7-year-old Clayton as the boy tried to run away, according to Tekulve.

Clayton was injured after being shot from behind. Tekulve said Doerman then walked up to him and shot him two more times. Doerman then ripped 3-year-old Chase from his mother's arms and shot him, according to Tekulve.

Clayton, Hunter and Chase

After court Friday, Tekulve said his goal is to "have this man executed."

"I can only imagine the terror these little boys felt and experienced as their father, their protector was murdering them," said Tekulve. "Unfortunately, their mother saw this. You can imagine the immense trauma and terror that she experienced and we will do the utmost in my office to see this defendant never sees the light of day again."

Many in the community tell WCPO they agree with Tekulve.

"If there's ever a crime that deserves the death penalty this would definitely be the crime," said school bus driver Kellie Day. "It's unfathomable to me."

A man who lives just down the street from the courthouse where Doerman was arraigned said he still feels sick to his stomach thinking about what happened to the little boys.

"(Doerman) definitely deserves the death penalty, no questions asked," Chuck Hannah said.

Defense Attorney Mark Krumbein, however, said that even if Doerman is convicted and sentenced to death, the system of execution in Ohio has slowed to near inactivity.

The last person executed in Ohio was in 2018 as Gov. Mike DeWine publicly opposed the death penalty and execution drugs became scarce.

"There could be another governor in the future that might say, hey, let's speed things up, new drugs that cause people to die that are more accessible, some of the problems could end," Krumbein said.

In March, Attorney General Dave Yost called the system "broken" in a plea to the legislature to get the system going.

Krumbein said regardless of final execution, Doerman would remain on death row if sentenced.

"It's still in full effect," he said, "and it's still the law in Ohio."

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Doerman was initially charged with three counts of aggravated murder last week after confessing to the killings.

Seven days after the shooting, a Clermont County Grand Jury returned a 21-count indictment against Doerman including nine counts of aggravated murder, eight counts of kidnapping and four counts of felonious assault.

Because of their circumstance specifications, each aggravated murder count carries the death penalty.

In court, the judge asked Doerman if he understood all the charges against him. He calmly answered, "Yes your honor." At his initial court appearance, just one day after the murders, Doerman was seen crying as prosecutors laid out the gruesome details of the shootings.

Many were confused as to how three deaths could result in nine murder charges against the same person.

"The Clermont County Prosecutor's Office threw the kitchen sink at this guy, and wanted to cover all their bases," said local defense attorney Clyde Bennett.

Bennett said legally speaking, a person can commit aggravated murder in multiple ways against the same victim and each one is a different charge potentially leading to a conviction.

"In the act of kidnapping a person, you killed someone, and then you kidnapped a person to kill them, and then that person is under 13. That's three ways you can get to aggravated murder," he said.

Three different charges of aggravated murder for each of the three children added up to nine charges, though Bennett said Doerman could only be sentenced for one per child.

With Doerman's fate in the hands of the courts, the boys' family asks the community to focus on three young lives lost, but not forgotten.

Rachel Brown, the boys' aunt and their mother's sister, shared more photos of her nephews. All of them have one thing in common: bright, smiling faces.

"I saw several pictures of them playing sports and playing ball and it just touches home how precious each one of those boys were," Day said.

Chase, Hunter and Clayton

The obituary for the brothers encapsulates the memories and legacies the family wants the community to remember, Brown said.

"Clayton, fondly known as Clayton Man, loved making Lego creations, riding his go-kart, telling jokes, singing and laughing while loving his best dog pal, Gatlin....Hunter, fondly known as Hunter Dog, loved going to the creek and catching frogs and his love of baseball extended beyond the ballfield to his bed, an attachment like an extra arm to connect him to his ball and glove as he slept....Chase, fondly known as Chasers, loved swinging on swings and couldn’t wait to be a baseball player like his brothers. He loved playing with Dinos and pretending to be a superhero. He was the best cuddler, wanting his Mama to stay close by to give her many hugs. He will forever be known as, "Mama's Baby," the obituary reads in part.

A Celebration of Life will be held for Clayton, 7, Hunter, 4, and Chase, 3, on Monday at 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Glen Este in Batavia.

The family said all are welcome to attend and ask community members to wear bright colors.

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