An Ohio father lined up his three young sons and executed them in a planned act of murder, prosecutors say.
They said Chad Doerman admitted the scheme. He appeared in court on three charges of aggravated murder Friday, shackled and wearing a green padded vest typically used to prevent people from killing themselves.
Clermont County chief prosecutor David Gast, said this was the worst crime he'd seen in his career.
He said Doerman lined up the boys, ages 3, 4 and 7, at their home and executed them with a rifle. Gast said one of the boys tried to flee into a field, but Doerman "hunted" him down, brought him back to the house in Monroe Township, Ohio, and killed him.
Chad Doerman 'hunted' down one son who tried to flee, prosecutor said
The boy’s mother was shot in the hand in an attempt to save her sons, the prosecutor said.
“The trauma this man has inflicted … is unspeakable,” Gast said. ”The evil horror of what we know is impossible to process.”
Bond set at $20 million for Chad Doerman following shooting in Clermont County, Ohio
Gast asked for, and was granted by Judge Jason Nagel, a $20 million bond.
"He was their world," Gast said. "He was their guardian and he executed them in cold blood."
Gast said Doerman has made a full confession that he not only committed the killings but also planned them.
“We can’t name a person who poses a greater threat to the community,” Gast said.
Clermont County prosecutor: 'They held these children knowing there was nothing they could do'
The prosecutor said the sheriff’s office, first responders and the community at large have been left traumatized. He said the deputies who arrived at the scene attempted to perform CPR on the boys.
“They held these children knowing there was nothing they could do,” Gast said. ”How do you unsee that sort of abomination.”
Preliminary hearing in scheduled June 26
A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for 1 p.m. June 26. Gast said after the case is taken to a grand jury, he would seek to have Doerman held without bond, meaning no amount of cash bond could secure his release.
Clermont County Prosecutor Mark Tekulve would not say if he would seek the death penalty in this case but did say all possible charges were being reviewed.
Calls to 911 indicate Doerman may have had other children. Prosecutors would not comment on that in court Friday.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.
Here's what we know so far:
What was the scene like Friday morning?
On Friday morning, police tape surrounded the entire property where the boys were shot. A sheriff’s vehicle sat in front of the home in a rural part of the county.
Across the intersection from the home, landscapers worked in the Laurel Cemetery mowing grass. One of the workers carried plastic flowers between his teeth as he weaved his riding lawnmower between the headstones. Across the street, the red doors of the Monroe Township Fire and EMS station sat open, an ambulance and Jeep inside. The home was silent, but the yard was filled with signs of life. A pop-up camper sat in the yard along with a trampoline and kids' toys. On the back edge of the property, there was a propane tank and pile of logs stacked high.
Brothers killed in shooting at Clermont County home
Deputies were dispatched to the home after 911 calls, the first of which was received at 4:15 p.m.
The children, ages 3, 4 and 7 were found dead in the yard of their home on Laurel Lindale Road, according to the Clermont County Sheriff's Office.
A 34-year-old woman was later found outside the home with a gunshot wound to her hand. She was taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
The woman's identity was not released but Sheriff Robert S. Leahy met with the woman later at UC Hospital to inform her of the death of her sons, according to the sheriff's office.
So far, Doerman is not charged with shooting the woman but the sheriff's office said he could face additional charges.
Two 911 calls received in connection to Monroe Township, Ohio shooting
The Clermont County Dispatch Center received two calls about the incident, according to the sheriff's office.
In the first call received at 4:15 p.m., an unknown woman was screaming that "her babies had been shot," the sheriff's office said in a news release.
In a second 911 call made at 4:18 p.m., a person who was driving by the home reported that a young girl was running down the road saying that "her father was killing everyone," according to the sheriff's office.
Chad Doerman charged with killing sons in Clermont County shooting
The boys' father Doerman has been charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of his three sons.
When deputies arrived at the home, they found Doerman sitting outside on a step.
He was detained without incident and questioned, according to Chief Deputy Chris Stratton. Around 10 p.m., the sheriff's office announced Doerman was arrested and charged with three counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of his sons.
He is being held without bond at the Clermont County Jail and is scheduled to be arraigned at 10 a.m. Friday in Clermont County Municipal Court.
Documents posted on the Clermont County Clerk of Courts office regarding the charges against Doerman are heavily redacted and do not reveal any additional details.
The sheriff's office said there was no sign of forced entry into the home and investigators are not looking for additional suspects.
Doerman is listed as the sole owner of a home on Laurel Lindale Road, according to the Clermont County Auditor's website. The home was last sold in March 2016, according to the listing on the site.
Who are the victims of the shooting in Clermont County?
The sheriff's office has not released the names of the boys who were killed or their mother.
The identity of the girl the 911 caller reported seeing on the road has also not been released.
The sheriff's office would not identify the girl or say how she was connected to the family. Officials did say that she is safe.
A statement from Tracey Miller, superintendent of the New Richmond Exempted School District said, "Our hearts are once again broken tonight as we yet again ask the community to lift up those affected by this horrific incident."
Please see below for a statement from Superintendent Tracey Miller. pic.twitter.com/qWnQZt33OH
— New Richmond EVSD (@NREVSD) June 15, 2023
A 13-year-old New Richmond middle school student was among four people killed in a murder-suicide in March.
Where is Monroe Township, Ohio?
Monroe Township in Clermont County is home to about 7,500 people, according to census data.
It sits on the Ohio River about 25 miles east of Cincinnati and about 11 miles south of Batavia, the seat of Clermont County.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: Chad Doerman executed three sons in Ohio shooting, prosecutor says