Ohio dad accused of murdering 3 sons changes defense strategy after detective’s screw-up


Clayton, Hunter, and Chase Doerman; Chad Doerman

Clayton, Hunter, and Chase Doerman (as pictured in obituary); Chad Doerman (pictured in custody in Clermont County, Law&Crime Network/YouTube)

An Ohio man accused of murdering his three sons has entered a not guilty plea by reason of insanity not long after the judge in his case found that a detective failed to properly advise the defendant of his Miranda rights, barring the state from using any and “all statements” the suspect made during his interrogation.

Chad Christopher Doerman, 33, will have to undergo a psychological evaluation of his “mental condition at the time of the offense(s) charged,” Clermont County Court of Common Pleas Judge Richard P. Ferenc ordered on Tuesday following Doerman’s not guilty plea by reason of insanity.

The shift in defense strategy occurred 12 days after the judge suppressed Doerman’s alleged confession. In that ruling, Ferenc noted that the defense did not submit evidence on Doerman’s “mental condition during the Custodial Interrogation,” shedding light on why has ordered a second psychological examination focusing on the defendant’s mental state in June 2023.

At the start of the case, prosecutors in Clermont County touted a “full admission” that Doerman allegedly made once in custody. Prosecutors said they would seek capital punishment for the “monstrous” murders of Clayton, 7, Hunter, 4, and Chase, 3, at their Laurel Lindale Road home on June 15, 2023.

The defense has since countered, however, that authorities — particularly, Detective Michael Ross, who repeatedly called Doerman a “monster” — did not “advise [the defendant] of the equally invariable right and its progeny as explained above, to have a lawyer present during his interrogation.”

“Consequently,” the judge wrote, “the Court finds that Det. Ross did not: i) properly advise Doerman of the four invariable warnings required by Miranda; ii) adopt other fully effective means to fully notify Doerman of his right to silence; iii) touch all the bases required by Miranda; and iv) advise him of the full contours of each Miranda right such that he communication to him the same essential message.”

The judge pointed out that Doerman asked for a lawyer minutes after Ross started questioning him about “what happened today.” The detective was “required to stop questioning [Doerman] immediately” after Doerman said “give me a couple of days, I can talk to a lawyer to get nice good answers” and “I’ll wait for a lawyer,” Ferenc said.

Last July, prosecutors alleged that Doerman began shooting the victims after asking his wife and sons to join him for a nap in a bedroom at their home in New Richmond, Monroe Township. Authorities said that Doerman planned the murders for months and admitted he hadn’t slept for days prior to the slayings because the “thoughts of having to kill his sons was so heavy on him.”

In court, Clermont County Prosecutor Mark Tekulve previously said that Doerman shot Hunter first with a rifle and then shot Clayton “from behind” while the boy tried to escape, executing his eldest son when he fell. Next, the defendant allegedly “ripped” 3-year-old Chase from his mother’s arms and “put a bullet in his head.”

When deputies responded to the murder scene, Doerman asked “Can I stand up?”

“It’s kind of uncomfortable,” he said, as bodycam video showed.

The deputies arrived on scene after the victims’ mother, while wounded, cried out on a 911 call that “her babies had been shot.” She was heard on bodycam shouting that Chad Doerman “took my life from me! My life!”

Video recorded after Doerman was taken into custody also showed the suspect banging his head against a wall.

Doerman’s psych exam must be completed on or before April 26, the judge said.

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