Trimble closing arguments start

Kimberly Dick

After three weeks of presenting evidence and testimonies, the prosecution and defense attorneys are expected to conclude with final arguments in the triple murder case against James E. Trimble today.

Public Defender Dennis Lager said he was going to prove the death of Kent State student Sarah Positano, 22, was accidental.

A ballistics expert, Larry Dehus, was the only defense witness to support the theory that a SWAT officer startled Trimble.

At least one bullet hole in a wall of the Ranfield Road apartment came from a sniper rifle fired from inside the living room, Dehus said in his testimony.

Summit Metro SWAT team officers testified a Delta Order was requested at 12:10 a.m., five minutes after Positano was shot. But the team did not enter Positano’s Ranfield Road apartment until 7:30 the next morning.

Dispatcher Heather Turner and hostage negotiators took the stand after the 911 phone call capturing Positano’s last hour was played in the Portage County Court of Common Pleas.

Trimble’s mother and brother testified they had phone conversations with Trimble on Jan. 21. In both conversations, Trimble said he had killed Renee Bauer, 42, and her 7-year-old son, Dakota, on Jan.21.

Trimble told Portage County Sheriff Duane Kaley he wanted to plead guilty two days after his arrest.

“All I can do is make it as easy as possible for the people I hurt,” he was heard saying during a recorded conversation with Kaley.

While Trimble sat emotionless for most of the trial, he began crying when he saw Bauer’s autopsy with 13 gunshot wounds.

Judge John A. Enlow said jurors will be sequestered during their deliberations.

If the jury finds Trimble guilty of the aggravated murder charges, another phase of testimony and evidence presentation will occur. This will precede the jury’s decision of death penalty or life in prison.

If Trimble is found guilty of a lesser charge, it is Enlow’s job to sentence, not the jury’s.

In addition to the aggravated murder charges, Trimble faces:

  • Two counts of felonious assault for allegedly holding Steven Reichard and Lois Scott at gunpoint in the woods Jan. 21.
  • Three counts of kidnapping for holding Reichard, Scott and Positano against their will.
  • One count of aggravated burglary for allegedly breaking into Positano’s duplex on Ranfield Road.

Contact public affairs reporter Kimberly Dick 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 call was played for the court.
  • Oct. 17 – The prosecution rests its case, and some of the charges are dropped.
  • Oct. 20 – The defense discusses lowering charges with the judge.