State of Ohio rests case in Trimble trial

Michael Lewis

Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci rested the state of Ohio’s case in the capital murder trial of James E. Trimble, 45, yesterday.

In addition, Vigluicci dropped eight charges of attempted murder against Trimble for events that occurred on the night of Jan. 21 and the early morning hours of Jan. 22 between Trimble, the Summit Metro SWAT and the Brimfield Police Department.

Dorothy Dean, Summit County deputy medical examiner, testified that former Kent State student Sarah Positano died as a result of injuries sustained from a single bullet fired into the lower right side of her neck.

Trimble shook and appeared noticeably disturbed during testimony of the bullet path and the resulting trauma displayed by photos of a deceased Positano taken during the autopsy.

Trimble could face the death penalty if convicted of aggravated murder for the shootings of Positano, 42-year-old Renee Bauer and her 7-year-old son, Dakota. He faces other felony charges of kidnapping, burglary and felonious assault.

The prosecution reviewed more than 15 pieces of state evidence collected from Positano’s home on Ranfield Road, including an AR-15 rifle, a 9 mm handgun, shell casings and an empty prescription bottle of the drug hydrocodine. Evidence reviewed from the shootings at 880 Sandy Lake Road, where Bauer and her son were killed, included bullet fragments and a brown teddy bear.

Trimble’s attorney, Portage County public defender Dennis Lager, called witnesses to confirm the timing of events that took place between the hostage negotiators, Trimble and the police during a standoff at Positano’s apartment that ended around 8:25 a.m., when the defendant was taken into custody.

Lager previously said he intends to prove Trimble accidentally shot Positano when a SWAT sniper entered the apartment of Positano and startled Trimble, who was allegedly holding a 9 mm handgun.

Jurors also saw pictures yesterday of Trimble lying on a hospital gurney when he arrived at Robinson Memorial Hospital on the morning of Jan. 22.

The defense showed numerous photos of wounds to the face and head of Trimble. Trimble allegedly fled on foot through the woods between Ranfield and Sandy Lake roads before taking Positano hostage in her home.

Closing arguments are tentatively planned to begin tomorrow after the defense calls its last witnesses today.

Contact public affairs reporter Michael Lewis 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