Trimble guilty on all counts

Sean Joseph

James E. Trimble is escorted out of the Portage County Courthouse after a jury found him guilty on all charges in his trial Tuesday afternoon. Trimble had no reaction to the verdict during the trial and sentencing process.

Credit: Steve Schirra

RAVENNA – James E. Trimble came one step closer to being sentenced to the death penalty yesterday when he was found guilty on all nine charges against him, including three counts of aggravated murder.

Trimble sat stone-faced in the courtroom as Portage County Common Pleas Court Judge John A. Enlow read the verdict, reached by the jury after eight hours of deliberation.

The three counts of aggravated murder were for the deaths of Kent State student Sarah Positano, his live-in girlfriend Renee Bauer and her 7-year-old son Dakota Bauer.

Other charges he was convicted of included three counts of kidnapping, two counts of felonious assault and one count of burglary during the Jan. 21 shooting spree.

The sentencing phase of the trial will begin at 9 a.m. on Nov. 2. The jury could recommend Trimble face the death penalty, life in prison without parole, or life in prison with a chance of parole after 25 or 30 years.

Under the Ohio Revised Code, the death penalty is a possibility because of specifications on two of the murders – the purposeful death of Dakota Bauer, who was under the age of 13, and Positano’s murder, which he committed after kidnapping her.

Enlow predicted it would take about a week for all evidence to be presented before jurors start deliberating Trimble’s sentence.

After the verdict was read, Elizabeth Trimble Bresley, Trimble’s mother, stood up with tears in her eyes, waved and gasped as police officers escorted Trimble out of the court room after the proceedings.

“Whatever the Lord sees fit, that’s what will happen,” Bresley said before the verdict was read.

The families of the murder victims declined to comment before and after the verdict was read. Prosecution and defense attorneys are still not able to comment due to a gag order for the case.

The rain falling outside matched the dreary mood inside the courtroom for Trimble’s defense team and those connected with the case.

The families of the victims rushed to get to the courthouse after the jury announced they reached a verdict. Proceedings stalled until they arrived out of breath and teary-eyed.

Silence and fidgeting filled the courtroom before hearing the verdict.

Enlow read the verdict and specifications very matter-of-factly. The only other noise in the courtroom were sobs after Enlow declared Trimble guilty of Dakota Bauer’s death.

Trimble’s defense attorney Dennis Lager requested the jury be polled on their verdicts. The bailiff went down the rows several times, as the jurors reiterated their verdicts confidently. Trimble stared straight ahead at the judge, not moving a muscle.

At the end of the proceeding, Enlow took time to call the prosecution and defense attorneys to the bench to make sure they understood the verdicts and agreed on the sentencing date. He also thanked the jurors and reminded them not to discuss anything related to the case.

“We appreciate your part in this important public service,” Enlow told them. “You have showed a tremendous commitment of citizenship.”

Contact campus editor Sean Joseph at [email protected].



Jan. 21 – Neighbors hear gunshots at 880 Sandy Lake Road. Police find Dakota and Renee Bauer dead. After fleeing police while shooting at them for more than two hours, Trimble breaks into Sarah Positano’s Ranfield Road home and holds her hostage.

Jan. 22 – Just after midnight a gunshot is heard at Positano’s residence. Later that morning, Trimble is taken into custody.

Feb. 7 – Trimble is arraigned and pleads not guilty by reason of insanity.

July 12 – Originally scheduled trial date, which was postponed.

Sept. 19 – Jury selection begins.

Sept. 20 – Trimble retracts his not guilty by reason of insanity plea.

Sept. 29 – Jury selection is complete.

Sept. 30 – Attorneys present opening statements.

Oct. 3 – Witnesses begin their testimonies.

Oct. 5 – The interrogation tape with Trimble’s confession is played.

Oct. 12 – Graphic photos of the crime scene continue to be displayed.

Oct. 13 – Positano’s 911 call was played for the court, witnesses continue to testify.

Oct. 17 – The prosecution rests its case, dropping eight charges of attempted murder.

Thursday – Jurors are not present. The defense discusses lowering the charges with the judge.

Monday – The prosecution and the defense made their final arguments, and jurors began their deliberation.

Yesterday – Trimble was found guilty on all nine counts.

Nov. 2 – Sentencing will begin.