Man charged with aggravated murder in abduction, shooting death of Lockland businessman

COLERAIN TWP., Ohio -- A man arrested Saturday evening in the abduction and shooting death of a Lockland businessman was charged with aggravated murder Monday.

Chris McFerron, 44, was arrested near Blue Rock Road in Colerain Township Saturday at about 9 p.m. after an hour-long slow-speed chase. He was initially charged with resisting arrest, inducing panic and using a weapon while intoxicated.

On Tuesday morning, McFerron appeared in a Hamilton County courtroom to be arraigned on the murder charge. He received a $1,250,000 bond, on top of the $100,000 bond set Monday morning for the three other charges.

McFerron also appeared in court wearing a yellow jumpsuit after being placed under suicide watch.

McFerron, of Lockland, was sought in connection with the abduction and death of 72-year-old James Rolman.

PHOTOS: Saturday evening's arrest near Blue Rock

Rolman was found dead Saturday morning in the driver's seat of his car with a gunshot wound to the back of the head after going missing Friday. Security footage showed a man believed to be McFerron enter Rolman's car as he left a US Bank on Williams Street in Lockland with about $6,500.

Lockland police received a call about Rolman's body from workers at Sawbrook Steel Casting Co. The car was found covered by debris inside a silo on the property of the former J&R Trucking company, a place where McFerron once worked.

"They (Sawbrook workers) go back there periodically," said Lockland Police Chief Jim Toles. "They noticed the silo doors were closed when they are usually open."

Saturday evening's chase was sparked as police and the FBI tried to question McFerron.

The chase started on I-75 near Mitchell Avenue in Spring Grove Village and moved through several parts of town before ending a little more than an hour later.

Near the end of the chase, McFerron drove his car into a wooded area off I-275 near Blue Rock. For a few tense moments after the vehicle stopped, police said McFerron exited the car and calmly walked up the roadway with a gun in hand and sat down on a guardrail.

He then talked to negotiators for several minutes before giving up.

Watch video of McFerron's dramatic arrest and reflections of Rolman's life in media player above

McFerron was high on some form of heroin during the chase, Toles confirmed.

The chase involved more than 20 vehicles from several police agencies, temporarily closing off a portion of I-74. 

On Sunday night, Lockland community members came together to mourn the loss of Rolman, who was remembered as a "good man" and an upstanding member of the community.

"It's just such a sad situation how it turned out," said neighbor Stephen Wrenn who attended an impromptu vigil outside his business.

Another neighbor, Orville Taylor, mourned as well.

"I've known him for a long time," said Taylor. "He's been a great neighbor. Talk to him about every day or wave at him when he'd go by. Sure going to miss him."

Some people who were close to Rolman find it difficult to cope with his killing, or even understand why it happened.

"This is not something that was necessary," Shelley Wiegand said. "He would have easily given that money, but if somebody wasn't on drugs they would have taken the money and run."

During a press conference after the murder charge was filed, Toles said investigators were still trying to determine if McFerron acted alone or had help.

"It's very disturbing when you have innocent victims and businessmen approached by people addicted to heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamines... it's just a sad situation," he said.

He asked anyone with any potential information about the investigation to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-352-3040.

Rolman's death followed other recent homicides in which drugs were involved. An elderly disabled woman was stabbed in April, a few blocks away from Rolman's business. One day earlier, a 16-year-old was killed in Arlington Heights during a robbery for marijuana.

Residents like Wiegand feel drugs are a common thread for violence in the area, and fear the violence is growing too close to home. 

"It's prime and there's not enough law enforcement to be able to handle that prime situation that they're all going for," she said.

 

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