James Trimble Ohio Death Row

james trimble

James Trimble was sentenced to death by the State of Ohio for a triple murder. According to court documents James Trimble would shoot and kill his girlfriend, Renee Bauer, and her seven-year-old son, Dakota Bauer. Later on the same day James Trimble would take a woman hostage and would end up murdering her as well,  Sarah Positano, before police could intervene. James Trimble would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death.

Ohio Death Row Inmate List

James Trimble 2021 Information

Number A494014

DOB 07/20/1960

Gender Male Race White

Admission Date 11/22/2005

Institution Chillicothe Correctional Institution


James Trimble More News

During October 2003, Trimble and Renee Bauer started dating.   Shortly thereafter, Trimble, Renee, and Dakota began living together in a home at 880 Sandy Lake Road in Brimfield Township.

{¶ 4} Trimble kept numerous guns, including pistols, assault rifles, and military weapons, plus ammunition in his home.   Darrell French, a neighbor, often heard Trimble firing his guns in the woods behind his home.

{¶ 5} Trimble and Renee’s relationship started to dissolve as they began to fight and argue.   Trimble frequently complained to Darrell and Angela French that Renee was “fuckin’ bitching all the time.”

{¶ 6} In October 2004, Trimble and Renee attended a birthday party at the French home.   Trimble and Renee had a quarrel, and Renee left the party.   Trimble remained at the party, became drunk, and complained about Renee.   Before he finally left, Trimble stated that he was in the mood to go home and “blow something up.”   Shortly thereafter, Darrell heard Trimble firing guns in the woods.

{¶ 7} At 7:18 p.m. on January 21, 2005, Elizabeth Trimble Bresley, the defendant’s mother, called Trimble on his cell phone.   When she called, Trimble was at home, waiting for a pizza delivery.   Bresley heard the doorbell ring and  heard Trimble tell Dakota to “give this money to the pizza man.”   Trimble then ended the phone call.

{¶ 8} At 8:10 p.m., Bresley made another call to Trimble.   She asked how things were going, and Trimble said, “Not too well.   I shot Renee and Dakota.”   Trimble ended the conversation.   Bresley then called her other son, Arthur Trimble, who lives in Florida, and told him that something had happened at his brother’s house.   She asked Arthur to find out what had happened.

{¶ 9} Shortly thereafter, Arthur called Trimble and asked what happened.   Trimble said, “I killed the fucking bitch.”   Arthur said, “You did what?”   Trimble replied, “Yep, she’s fucking dead,” and the boy was “dead, too.”   Arthur told Trimble to stay where he was because he was going to call the police.   Trimble said that he was not going to stay where he was because his life was over.   After their conversation ended, Arthur called the Brimfield Township Police Department.   Arthur told the police dispatcher to send officers to his brother’s address on Sandy Lake Road because his brother had told him that he had killed two people there that evening.

{¶ 10} Around 9:00 p.m. on January 21, Trimble approached the home of Steven Reichard on Ranfield Road in Brimfield Township.   Reichard was working in his garage when he heard a tree branch break.   He stepped outside and saw the silhouette of a man standing near a wood pile.   Reichard could not see the man’s face, but he was dressed in camouflage clothing.

{¶ 11} Reichard asked the man what he was doing, and Trimble ordered, “Put your fucking hands up.”   Reichard asked, “What are you, fucking crazy?”   Trimble replied, “That’s right, I’m crazy.   I just killed three people.”   Reichard raised his hands because Trimble had a rifle.   Reichard pleaded for his life as they continued talking.   Trimble said, “Only thing I can tell you is that you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time.”   Trimble then stepped forward to shoot Reichard.

{¶ 12} At that moment, Lois Scott, Reichard’s mother, came out the back door of the house.   Reichard identified his mother, and Trimble told him to “[g]et her over here.”   After Scott came over, Trimble said he had to shoot both of them:  “You guys can identify me.”   Reichard replied that he could not see Trimble’s face.   Trimble then said he was going to take Reichard hostage so that his mother would not call the police.   Reichard told Trimble that Trimble had another option:  to turn around and walk away.   Trimble said, “All right.   I’m going to turn around and I’m going to walk away slowly.   You move and you’re dead.   And you call the cops and I’ll kill you.”   Trimble then left through the back of the property.   After he departed, Reichard called the police.

{¶ 13} Around 9:00 p.m., police officers were dispatched to 880 Sandy Lake Road to check on the report of the killings.   Brimfield patrolman Amber  Peterson and Portage County Sheriff’s officer Trent Springer went to the back of the house after receiving no response to a knock at the front door.   They looked through a rear window and saw a body lying on the floor.

{¶ 14} After entering the house, police officers found Renee’s and Dakota’s bodies on the floor in the master bedroom.   Renee’s body was face down and lying partly on top of Dakota.   Both bodies were fully dressed and wearing jackets.   In searching the house, police found Renee’s purse and a duffel bag containing clothing for an adult female and a child on a living room chair.   In the dining room, they also found clothing.   A piece of paper with a phone number for a battered-women’s shelter was found on the refrigerator.

{¶ 15} About 9:37 p.m. on January 21, Brimfield Chief of Police David Blough requested assistance from the Metro SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team to help apprehend Trimble.   Around 10:20 p.m., Trimble was reported firing shots at police officers on Ranfield Road. At 11:13 p.m., the SWAT team assembled and proceeded towards the area where Trimble had been spotted.

{¶ 16} At 11:18 p.m. on January 21, Sarah Positano, a 22-year-old college student, called 911 and reported that a man had entered her duplex at 3729B Ranfield Road.   Positano said the man wanted the police to leave the area, and he would shoot her if the police entered the residence.   During the call, Positano could be heard asking Trimble, “Could you not put the gun to my head?”

{¶ 17} During the 911 call, Trimble told the operator that he has a “9-mm pistol with no safety.”   Trimble said, “I have got the hammer held back [and] the trigger pulled.   So if the cops shoot me or even attempt to break in here, I will let go of the trigger and the innocent girl will die.”   He also told the operator that he could see a policeman outside the window “looking in” and added, “I don’t really appreciate that.”

{¶ 18} Following Positano’s call, the SWAT team established a perimeter around the duplex.   Meanwhile, Mike Korach, the SWAT team hostage negotiator, twice made phone contact with Trimble.   During the first call, Trimble repeated that he had a gun with no safety, that his finger was on the trigger, and that he would kill the girl if the police entered the residence.   On the second call, Trimble identified himself as “Camo Jim.”   Trimble also warned the police that he had already killed two people that had “fucked” with him.

{¶ 19} As the phone conversation progressed, Trimble said that he did not want to “hurt any innocents” and just wanted the police to go away.   Trimble mentioned that he had come into contact with two other people whom he could have killed.   However, he did not kill them because they did what he wanted them to do.   Trimble said, “Look, if you just give me a couple hours to get my shit together, I’ll let her go.”   At Korach’s request, Trimble repeated that  promise to Positano.   Korach then lost phone contact with Trimble and was unable to reestablish it.

{¶ 20} While Korach talked with Trimble, Lieutenant Richard Baron, an Ohio State Highway Patrol hostage negotiator, maintained phone contact with Positano.   Positano told Baron that Trimble was standing right behind her in the upstairs hallway with a gun pointed at her head.   During the call, Trimble can be heard telling Positano, “Sarah, in two hours you’re going to go home * * * if the cops don’t come up here.”   A few seconds later, Positano can be heard screaming, “I’ve been shot” and starting to gasp for breath.   A short time later, the phone connection was lost.

{¶ 21} At 12:05 a.m. on January 22, 2005, Lieutenant Baron notified Chief Blough that he had lost phone contact with Positano after hearing her scream and make gasping noises.   However, Baron did not report that Positano had been shot, because he did not hear Positano say so or hear the gunshot.   As a result, Chief Blough did not order the SWAT team to enter the residence until more than seven hours later.

{¶ 22} At 12:10 a.m., Trimble fired shots from the residence towards the SWAT team.   Chief Blough then issued a “Delta order” authorizing the SWAT team to use deadly force without asking for permission.   At 12:35 a.m., after more gunfire came from the residence, SWAT team snipers fired three gunshots in return.   Between 12:39 a.m. and 2:32 a.m., Trimble continued to fire shots towards the SWAT team.

{¶ 23} At 7:30 a.m., the SWAT team entered the residence.   Positano’s body was found lying in the upstairs hallway.   Trimble was arrested, taken into custody, and transported to the Portage County jail.

{¶ 24} On the morning of January 24, 2005, Portage County Sheriff Duane Kaley was informed that Trimble wanted to talk with him.   Trimble was brought to Kaley’s office.   After waiving his Miranda rights, Trimble provided a taped interview.   Trimble stated that he wanted “to get this over with and not make any more people suffer than have already suffered.”   He said, “I’m admitting I did everything” and committed “[t]hree murders.”

{¶ 25} Trimble said he did not remember shooting Renee and Dakota.   However, he said, “I must have.   No one else was there.”   Trimble said, “The last thing I remember is me and Dakota were down in the basement, and we were getting ready to shoot his BB gun * * *.”   He next remembered running through the woods and talking on his cell phone to his mother and brother.   Trimble remembered taking an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a 9-mm handgun from his gun safe and six or seven ammunition clips before leaving his home.   Trimble also remembered meeting some people in the woods and telling them to leave him alone and not to call the police.

 {¶ 26} During the interview, Trimble refused to discuss whether he had had an argument with Renee before the shootings because “why it happened is irrelevant.”

{¶ 27} Trimble said he went to Positano’s residence because he “just kept running through the woods and that’s where [he] ended up.”   Trimble claimed that he shot Positano after the police entered the residence.   He said, “I had the hammer cocked and the police came in the house and I turned to look at them and [the gun] went off.”   According to Trimble, the police entered the residence and then left:  “They fired one shot, I fired a couple of shots.   They * * * fired a couple of more shots before they went out the door.”   Trimble said, “I didn’t pull the trigger,” and “I didn’t mean to shoot her.”

{¶ 28} At trial, Sheriff Kaley testified that Trimble’s explanation for shooting Positano was not consistent with the facts.   Kaley stated that the SWAT team entered Positano’s residence only one time, and that was when Trimble was arrested and taken into custody.

{¶ 29} Special Agent John Saraya, a crime-scene agent at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (“BCI”), examined the Sandy Lake Road crime scene and collected evidence.   Saraya found bone fragments and hair at various locations around the master bedroom and in the adjoining bathroom.   Blood spatter was found on the bottom of the dresser near Renee’s head and on the bottom of the shower stall.

{¶ 30} Saraya collected 19 cartridge casings from the floor and top of the dresser in the master bedroom.   The cartridges were from .223-caliber high-velocity rounds.   Bullet holes were found in the dresser, the wall behind the dresser, the baseboard, and the floor.   Saraya determined that the path of the gunshots was from “an upper direction at a slight downward angle.”

{¶ 31} In the basement, Saraya found a long gun case that was open and empty.   There were also military belts, magazine pouches, a handgun, and three long guns leaning against the wall.   After obtaining a search warrant, Saraya opened a large gun safe that was in the basement.   He found 19 guns, including handguns, semiautomatic rifles, an assault rifle, and carbines.   He also found 9 mm bullets and .223-caliber rounds of ammunition that matched the casings found in the bedroom.

{¶ 32} Saraya also examined the crime scene at Positano’s residence.   Positano suffered a bullet wound in the neck, and a spent 9 mm bullet was found inside her clothing.   Trimble’s empty prescription bottle of the anti-anxiety drug Lorazepam and a set of dog tags with Trimble’s name on them were found near Positano’s body in the upstairs hallway.

 {¶ 33} Saraya recovered twenty-six .223-caliber casings and nineteen 9 mm casings inside the residence.   An AR-15 rifle that fires .223-caliber ammunition was recovered in the north bedroom.   Trimble’s empty prescription bottle for Hydrocodone, a pain medication, was found behind the bedroom door.   A Sig Sauer 9 mm handgun and Trimble’s wallet were found in the adjoining bathroom.   Trimble’s wallet contained $767 in cash, $185.79 in checks made payable to him, and Lorazepam in powdered form.

{¶ 34} Saraya identified two bullet holes in the interior wall that were caused by sniper fire.   One bullet had followed a trajectory through the patio door frame into the house, and the other bullet had followed a trajectory through the patio glass door into the house.   At trial, Saraya acknowledged that there was a third bullet hole in the wall that had been caused by sniper fire and that he had failed to notice it at the crime scene.

{¶ 35} Jonathan Gardner, a firearms examiner at BCI, examined the 19 cartridge casings collected from Trimble’s home and determined that they had all been fired from the AR-15 rifle recovered from Positano’s residence.   Gardner also determined that 18 of the .223-caliber casings collected from Positano’s residence had been fired from the AR-15. He testified that the remaining casings lacked sufficient individual characteristics to make a comparison.   Gardner also testified that a shooter would have to pull the trigger of the AR-15 once for each round of ammunition fired.

{¶ 36} Gardner determined that all 9 mm casings recovered from Positano’s residence had been fired from the 9 mm handgun found there.   He testified that the handgun has a four-and-one-half-pound trigger pull when the hammer has been cocked, which is “typical for this type of gun.”   By examining the gunshot residue around the bullet hole in her jacket, Gardner also determined that the gun had been fired less than 12 inches from Positano.

{¶ 37} Dr. George Sterbenz, the Chief Deputy Medical Examiner for Summit County, conducted the autopsy of Renee.   Dr. Sterbenz found that Renee had died from multiple gunshot wounds.   She was shot once in the front of the head, 11 times in the back, and in the hand.   Dr. Sterbenz also found bruises on Renee’s upper left thigh, her right thigh, and above her elbow that were blunt-force injuries.   These were not fresh bruises and could have been caused hours or days before her death.   A toxicology screen showed that Renee’s blood-alcohol level at the time of death was .173 percent.

{¶ 38} Dr. Sterbenz also conducted the autopsy of Dakota.   Dr. Sterbenz determined that Dakota had also died from multiple gunshot injuries.   Dakota received six gunshot wounds in his head, neck, torso, and upper extremities.   Dr. Sterbenz testified that two of the entrance wounds are “atypical and characteristic of wounds of re-entry meaning the projectile has traveled through * * * some intermediate target” before striking Dakota.

{¶ 39} Dr. Dorothy Emma Dean, the Deputy Medical Examiner for Summit County, conducted the autopsy on Positano.   Dr. Dean determined that Positano had died from a gunshot wound to the neck with perforation of her carotid artery and left lung.


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