The case regarding the death of a Cecil D. Yost, Jr., 43 of Bidwell, on November 1, 2017 has been closed, according to Gallia County Prosecuting Attorney Jason Holdren, after the December session of the Gallia County Grand Jury considered the evidence presented to them and did not return an indictment. No charges will be filed in the case.
Yost died from strangulation, suffering a broken hyoid bone, according to Holdren, which resulted from his brother, Robert Yost, 32, attempting to subdue him during a domestic altercation. That investigation, according to Sheriff Matt Champlin, included physical evidence taken from the scene the night of the incident, as well as statements by those who were present that evening. The witnesses, according to Sheriff Champlin, who were separated at the scene, all gave statements that were consistent with the investigation’s final conclusion of what occurred that evening.
According to the investigation, Holdren said the evidence showed Cecil had been drinking heavily the day prior and the day of his death. He had been staying at his brother’s home, along with his girlfriend, his girlfriend’s teenage son, his brother’s girlfriend and her one-year-old child on Morgan Lane, where the incident occurred.
Prior to the incident, the rest of the residents of the home had left to run errands and Yost had stayed behind with a friend. At some point, an argument occurred between the friend and Yost, details of which were not available, and the friend left the home. When the rest of the residents of the home returned, that is when the altercation reportedly took place.
According to the investigation, Yost began to argue with his girlfriend, Melissa Francis and subsequently began to strike her with a club-like object.
“He did strike Melissa with [the club]. He did swing at the 16-year-old, who was fleeing the home with the one-year-old in his arms,” said Holdren. “Cecil began to make death threats to the 16-year-old, as well as to Melissa.”
Robert reportedly intervened and attempted to subdue his brother by “choking him out” as he had done in times past when similar situations had occurred. Cecil reportedly continued to fight and make death threats, while Robert continued to attempt to subdue him, which ultimately resulted in his death.
Francis placed a call to 911 at 8:26 p.m. and the Ohio State Highway Patrol was the first to arrive on the scene. According to reports, the OSHP attempted life-saving measures on Yost but were unable to revive him. The Gallia County Sheriff’s Office arrived shortly after the OSHP. Gallia County Coroner Dr. Daniel Whitely responded to the scene, as well as Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Holdren said the investigation conducted was very thorough and he waited until all the needed evidence was in place, before presenting to the Grand Jury, which he felt was necessary due to the nature of the case.
“I felt, due to the seriousness of this case, due to the fact that we lost a life, that it warranted consideration by the Gallia County Grand Jury,” said Holdren.
While Holdren could not go into specifics about the Grand Jury proceedings, what testimony was given or what evidence was presented, he did say a very thorough presentation was given and multiple witnesses testified.
“A day was essentially set aside for the Grand Jury to consider this matter and they did not return an indictment in this case,” said Holdren.
In addition to being presented the facts of the case, the Grand Jury was educated on possible charges that could be associated with the case, ranging from a charge of aggravated murder, being the most severe, to a charge of negligent homicide, being the least severe.
“We have presented the case and [the Grand Jury] has not returned an indictment. From my standpoint that closes this case out,” said Holdren.
When asked whether there was ever a possibility the case could be reopened, Holdren said he could not foresee, based on the thoroughness of the investigation, any information bringing new light to what had occurred that evening.
And while he could not speak to the reason the Grand Jury did not indict, Holdren said, “It clearly appeared to me, in my view of the case, that Robert Yost acted originally in the defense of others. Secondarily in the defense of himself.”