Ohio appeals court: Judges were wrong to seal records

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — An Ohio appeals court said yesterday that judges in Warren County were wrong to seal court records in the case of a man accused of killing his wife and four children.

The Cincinnati Enquirer had sought records in the case of 34-year-old Michel Veillette, who committed suicide in jail while awaiting trial on murder charges.

The Ohio 12th District Court of Appeals ruled yesterday in State ex rel. Cincinnati Enquirer v. Heath that records from a public preliminary hearing, search warrants and other documents should not have been sealed without a hearing.

The defendants in the case “never considered whether and what alternatives to the total suppression of the requested records existed.” The appellate court also ordered the defendants to pay the newspaper’s attorneys fees in the case.

Veillette had been charged with fatally stabbing his wife, Nadya, in January 2008 in their home in Mason, then setting a fire that killed his children, 8-year-old Marguerite, 4-year-old Vincent, and 2-year-old twins Mia and Jacob.