MONROE TOWNSHIP, Ohio (Scripps News Cincinnati) – A Clermont County man charged with shooting his three sons to death Thursday afternoon confessed to what the prosecution called “the most heinous, monstrous crime.”
Editor’s note: The following story contains details that readers may find upsetting.
Court documents say 32-year-old Chad Doerman “confessed to planning and carrying out the deaths of victims involved for several months.”
The judge ordered Doerman be held in the Clermont County jail on a $20 million cash bond after prosecutors described how he shot and killed three of his children.
“This is the most serious offense that we have on the books, judge,” said David Gast, assistant Clermont County prosecutor. “This is it. You can’t commit a more serious offense.”
Prosecutors said all three of the children were shot execution-style with a rifle. All three boys were discovered by first responders, lying in the yard of a home. They were all pronounced dead at the scene; the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office said all life-saving measures were “unsuccessful.”
The boys were aged 3, 4 and 7.
In court, prosecutors said Doerman lined his three sons up, ready to shoot them. One of the boys was able to run into a nearby field, but Doerman chased him and dragged him back to the property before shooting him, according to prosecutors.
Despite his confession, Doerman did not enter a plea while in court Friday.
Tekulve said despite his 35 years as a prosecutor, this is a case he won’t forget.
“I can only imagine the terror these little boys felt and experienced as their father, their protector was murdering them,” said Clermont County Prosecutor Mark Tekulve after court. “Unfortunately, their mother saw this. You can imagine the immense trauma and terror that she experienced and we will do the utmost in my office to see this defendant never sees the light of day again.”
When asked why Tekulve sought such a high bond — the highest he said his office has ever requested — he responded with three words:
“Three dead boys.”
On Thursday, county dispatchers said a 911 call reported a shooting on Laurel Lindale Road in Monroe Township at around 4:15 p.m. Thursday. The sheriff’s office said the woman who called screamed that “her babies had been shot.” A few minutes later, a passerby also called 911 to report that a juvenile girl was running down the road saying that “her father was killing everyone.”
When they arrived, sheriff’s deputies made contact with Doerman, who was sitting outside of a home. He was taken into custody and later to the Clermont County jail.
A fourth person, the boys’ 34-year-old mother, was located outside the home with a gunshot wound to the hand. She was taken to UC Medical Center, where Sheriff Robert S. Leahy later notified her that her sons had died.
“In an act of desperation to save her children, the mother at some point grabbed the gun the father was wielding to protect them,” said Gast, adding the woman was shot through her hand in the process.
According to Clermont County court records, Doerman does not have a history of violence or committing crimes, with the exception of one charge from 2010. Documents say Doerman was charged with domestic violence after he allegedly choked his father, but the charges were ultimately dismissed.
WCPO reached Doerman’s father, but he declined to comment.
Doerman is scheduled to reappear in court on June 26 for a preliminary hearing.
Tracey Miller, superintendent of New Richmond Exempted Village School District, released a statement saying grief counselors will be available at Monroe Elementary Friday beginning at 9 a.m. following the shooting.
This story was originally published on June 16, 2023, by WCPO in Cincinnati, an E.W. Scripps Company.