Sunday, December 24, 2000

Bengal helps bail out murder suspect

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        An unidentified Bengals player reportedly helped free a man accused of shooting his pregnant ex-girlfriend to death.

        Tony Ringer, 30, spent most of Friday in jail but was released when friends, including at least one Bengal, helped post his $500,000 bond.

        Mr. Ringer owns the Positive Image Barber Salon on Elm Street downtown. The salon caters to some wealthy clients, including professional athletes.

        Hamilton County prosecutors said it was unfortunate Mr. Ringer could do anything outside of jail.

        “The concern for us is that now we have somebody accused of aggravated murder out on the streets,” said Prosecutor Mike Allen. “That's something that shouldn't happen.”

        Prosecutors asked Judge John West on Friday to increase Mr. Ringer's bond to $2 million. But after a hearing in municipal court, the judge refused.

        Officials for the clerk of courts office said half of Mr. Ringer's bond was posted as cash and the other half as personal property, such as home mortgages.

        Mr. Ringer is accused of killing Cassandra Betts, a 25-year-old Fairfield woman. She was found with a bullet wound to the head in the parking lot of an auto-repair shop. Her 7-year-old daughter was asleep in the car's back seat.

        Friends of the former couple said they had a tumultuous relationship, and at one point had filed civil complaints accusing each other of making threats.

        In her complaint, Ms. Betts wrote that she feared Mr. Ringer would “cause severe harm to myself and possibly my daughter.” She later dropped the complaint.

        At the court hearing Friday, prosecutors said they were concerned that Mr. Ringer might be in danger if he were freed from jail. They also said the gun used in the shooting had not been found and still could be “accessible.”

        Mr. Ringer's lawyer, Clyde Bennett, said his client is innocent and does not pose a threat to anyone. He said he's also confident Mr. Ringer is not in danger.

        “I don't believe Mr. Ringer is concerned about his safety,” Mr. Bennett said.


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