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Murder charge in 1998 city shooting

New clue, DNA lead to prisoner in Ohio

McClaney

It took more than 14 years, but on Wednesday a murder charge was filed in the shooting death of Arthur “Artie” E. Rittenhouse III.

Rittenhouse was 19 when his mother came home the afternoon of April 1, 1998, and found her son slumped on the couch with a gunshot wound to his head, Fort Wayne police told The Journal Gazette at the time.

He was dead when police arrived at the house at 724 Hamilton Ave., near Weisser Park Avenue on the city’s south side. No weapons were recovered at the scene.

Initially, no one came forward with information about the shooting. In 2000 and 2001, Crime Stoppers made pleas for tips in the case, but no arrests were made.

In 2009, a new detective, Cary Young, was assigned to the case. He reviewed the case and met with Rittenhouse’s mother, according to an affidavit filed Wednesday.

She told the detective she left home that morning and returned after 2 p.m. to find her son dead. A black bag that did not belong to her son was near him. The bag, which contained a car stereo amplifier, was not there when she left, the affidavit stated.

The detective had fingerprint and DNA tests done on the bag and the amp. While waiting for the results, he started conducting interviews and learned that the shooter’s nickname was “Sabu.” This nickname led police to an Ohio prison inmate named Bernard McClaney, the affidavit said.

In September 2011, police received a lab report that showed that the DNA from the bag was consistent with McClaney’s. Police conducted interviews with people who were with McClaney that day. They told police a similar story: McClaney went into Rittenhouse’s home, they heard what they thought were gunshots, McClaney came out and they drove away, according to the affidavit.

In April, Young and another detective visited McClaney in prison. He declined to be interviewed but later changed his mind, so the detectives returned to the prison Aug. 1.

In an interview that day, McClaney admitted shooting Rittenhouse. McClaney said he went there with an amplifier he wanted to trade for marijuana, the affidavit stated.

McClaney was 22 for at the time. He is now 36 and serving a sentence at the Toledo Correctional Institution on unrelated convictions for aggravated robbery and voluntary manslaughter. He has been in prison since 1999 and is slated for release as early as 2016, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

McClaney was charged Wednesday with murder in Allen County.

Rittenhouse, a Fort Wayne native, left behind his mother, father, brother, two sisters and a fiancée. A daughter was born eight months after his death.

aingersoll@jg.net

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