GALLIPOLIS — The investigation into the death of a Bidwell man has been presented to a grand jury with no indictment returned.
Gallia Prosecutor Jason Holdren said on Tuesday, the case into the death of Cecil Yost, 43, Bidwell, was now closed and he didn’t anticipate it being presented in the future, stressing he felt a “thorough investigation” of the incident had been done and due process completed following the grand jury’s decision to return a “no bill.”
Unable to speak to the specifics of what was presented to the grand jury, Holdren, along with Gallia Sheriff Matt Champlin, explained aspects of the investigation which began on Nov. 1, the day Yost was found dead.
Holdren said Yost’s hyoid bone was broken and his death was by strangulation following what appears to have been a domestic altercation. The cause of death was determined by the Montgomery County Coroner’s office.
At the time of his death, Yost was staying at the home of his 32-year old brother Robert Yost on Morgan Lane in Bidwell. Also at the home, Cecil’s girlfriend and her 16-year old child and Robert’s girlfriend and her one-year old child. According to Holdren, witnesses state Cecil had been drinking “heavily” on Nov. 1 and the day before, and at one point on the day of his death, Robert, the two females and two minors left to run errands, though Cecil stayed behind with another individual who was not identified. Apparently at some point, Cecil and this unidentified person got into some sort of argument, the substance of that argument is unknown, and the person left, according to investigators.
Shortly after this person left, Robert, the two females and their minor children returned and Cecil was described as still “upset,” getting into an argument with his girlfriend, Holdren said. At some point Cecil reportedly strikes his girlfriend with a “club” that was found at the home. Holdren said it appears Cecil did also swing at the 16-year old who was fleeing the home with the one-year old child.
At this point, Holdren said it appears Cecil then begins to make “death threats” towards the 16-year old as well as to Cecil’s girlfriend. The investigation concluded Robert was outside at the time of this confrontation but, upon hearing the commotion, went inside the residence to intervene. Robert is described as being a military veteran and had training in subduing “combative individuals,” according to Holdren. With Cecil making “death theats” towards Robert, Cecil’s girlfriend and her child, Robert attempted to calm Cecil down as he had successfully done in the past, attempting to “choke him (Cecil) out” in order to temporarily subdue him. During this struggle with Cecil reportedly being combative and Robert trying to subdue him, is when Cecil’s death occurred.
Champlin said 911 was called and first on the scene were troopers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol who attempted CPR. On the scene shortly after the troopers were personnel with the sheriff’s office and then Gallia Coroner Dr. Daniel Whitley. The Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation was also called to the scene and worked with the sheriff’s office on the investigation.
Champlin said evidence was taken from the scene and all witnesses cooperated and were interviewed separately over multiple days. Champlin said their stories were consistent and corroborated one another.
Holdren said he didn’t want to present the case to the grand jury until the investigation was completed and again stressed it was “thoroughly investigated.” He explained the grand jury acted as a second set of eyes on the evidence and witness statements presented in the case, and still did not return an indictment.
Holdren stressed he wanted to be transparent in how his office handled the seriousness of the situation, and he wanted to present it to the grand jury due to the fact that a person died. Though he couldn’t comment specifically on the case, he said a grand jury in this situation would’ve been presented with an understanding of all potential charges, from aggravated murder, to negligent homicide.
“It clearly appeared to me, that Robert Yost acted originally in the defense of others, secondarily in defense of himself,” Holdren said.
Holdren added there would be no charges filed against Robert Yost.
“From my standpoint, the case is closed,” Holdren said.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.