Man charged with three slayings near OSU says he’s not guilty

A Columbus man arrested in the execution-style slayings last year of two men and a woman in a house near the Ohio State University campus faced aggravated murder charges in court Monday morning.

Thirty-year-old Vernon Spence Junior was arrested Saturday night at his home as about 20 uniformed and plainclothes officers and members of the SWAT team surrounded the house.

Police reported that the suspect was arrested without a struggle.

The former Beechcroft High School basketball player was charged with the July 23rd, 2003, slayings 21-year-old Kayla Hurst of Granville; her boyfriend, 23-year-old Aaron Grexa of Greenville, Pennsylvania, and 22-year-old Eric Hlass of Russellville, Arkansas.

The judge ordered Spence held on $3-million bond. Spence’s attorney, Christopher Cooper says his client denies all the charges.

Cooper says his client was questioned by police shortly after the murders and he says he is unsure why police had to use the SWAT team to arrest Spence months later.

Neighbors told police they heard shots then saw two men running through the alley behind the house.

Two other suspects reportedly were arrested separately on unrelated federal charges.

Police will not identify the other suspects, who have not been charged in the slayings, or detail the federal charges against them.

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