Murder of Charles Blankenship
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Template:Infobox civilian attack On August 1, 1995, in Cincinnati, Ohio, Charles "Kevin" Blankenship, was shot and killed by his neighbor, Charles Cole. The murder occurred on the front porch of Cole's house and was recorded by Cole's home security system. The case was controversial and received wide publicity in Cincinnati at the time, because it was a case of whether the murder had been premeditated or was self-defense. On November 17, 1995, a jury found Cole guilty of the murder, and he was sentenced to life in prison. He was released however on November 3, 2004, having served just under 9 years in jail for the crime.
At 3:44 a.m. on August 1, 1995, 44-year-old Charles Cole was out on the front porch of his house in the 1600 block of Tremont Avenue, in the neighborhood of South Fairmount, in Cincinnati, Ohio. His neighbor, 24-year-old Charles "Kevin" Blankenship approached his house and walked up the steps onto his front porch. Cole and Blankenship reportedly had an ongoing feud between one another. Cole claimed Blankenship was a neighborhood bully who had harassed him on multiple occasions and reportedly threatened him. As Blankenship stepped on the porch of Cole's house, Cole took out a 9mm handgun from his back pocket and opened fire. He fired four shots at Blankenship. Blankenship was hit and fell down screaming in pain. The murder was recorded by a surveillance camera, which was part of Cole's home security system. Cole had installed the camera only weeks earlier. In the recording, Cole can be heard saying, "You want some more?", "You had enough, ain't you?". Blankenship then succumbed to his injuries and bled to death on the front porch of Cole's home.
Cole handed over the videotape of the murder to the police in hope that it would help his case. However, it ultimately had the complete opposite effect. Cole argued Blankenship was someone who had bullied him for years and on August 1 he finally snapped and had enough. When Blankenship charged onto his property, Cole claimed he was scared and felt Blankenship was trespassing and trying to rush him. Because of this, Cole argued he opened fire in self-defense. However, prosecutors argued it was cold blooded murder and described Cole as a vicious killer who had schemed to take Blankenship's life. Cole's defense attorney, Kenneth Levon Lawson, argued he was simply just a frightened man who was scared. Lawson described Cole as a simple man with little education, who was frightened by the bigger, bullylike Blankenship, who had threatened Cole prior to the shooting. Cole was charged with aggravated murder. The videotape which he had hoped would help his case, completely went against him. The fact that Cole didn't call police straight away after the shooting and because the tape recorded the murder were the reasons for Cole's conviction. The videotape showed Cole gloating after the killing, as he can be heard saying, "You had enough, ain't you?". Before Cole's trial, footage of the murder aired on American Journal. A rumor then circulated that Cole's defense attorney, Lawson, had sold the footage to the tabloid. Lawson later claimed it was given to them and that he took no money, as he didn't want anyone thinking he'd profited from Cole's crime.
On November 17, 1995, Cole was convicted of the murder and was sentenced to life in prison, without chance of parole for 18 years. Lawson claimed that without the videotape, he strongly believed Cole would have been found not guilty. Cole is no longer in prison however and was released from jail on November 3, 2004. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, he was incarcerated somewhere in Eastern Kentucky (E/KY). It was most likely in FCI Ashland, due to Cincinnati bordering the state of Kentucky and this being the closest Federal Correctional Institution in the state. Cole was incarcerated under registry number 08188-032.
In popular culture
Footage of the murder first aired in 1995 on the syndicated television newsmagazine program, American Journal. It is now available to watch on LiveLeak and was also featured in the 1998 shockumentary film, Banned from Television.
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- "Inmate Locator: CHARLES COLE". Federal Bureau of Prisons. https://www.bop.gov/inmateloc/.
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- "Junk Yard Dog of Justice". By John Johnston, The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio). March 12, 1998. http://www.enquirer.com/editions/1998/03/12/loc_lawson12.html.