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Man who killed Heather Campbell had blood-alcohol content more than twice Ohio’s legal limit

Ohio State fourth-year psychology major, Heather Campbell, was found dead from an apparent murder-suicide at Taylor House on Sept. 16. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Lantern TV Station Manager

The man who shot and killed Ohio State student Heather Campbell and then himself in September was intoxicated at the time of the murder-suicide.

Kyle Lafferty, Campbell’s boyfriend whom she shared an apartment with, had a blood alcohol level of 0.21, said Daniel Baker, chief toxicologist at the Franklin County Coroner’s Office.

Autopsies of Lafferty and Campbell were reviewed by The Lantern Monday, and showed each person had blood alcohol levels that more than doubled Ohio’s legal driving limit of 0.08. 

According to a University of Rochester Medical Center website, a person with 0.21 of ethanol in their blood content is “sloppy drunk,” and near the point of blackout.

Campbell had a gunshot wound to her left cheek and left thigh, according to the autopsy. Her time of death was pronounced at 3:16 a.m. Sept. 17. The report ruled her death as a homicide.

She had a blood-alcohol content of 0.22.

Her time of injury is unknown, according to the report.

Lafferty died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head that entered from his neck, the report stated. His time of injury was 2:33 a.m. Sept. 17. He was pronounced dead at 3:16 a.m. that day. His death is ruled as suicide.

Following reports of the murder-suicide, confusion arose regarding the time in which Campbell was killed. Two neighbors — Ohio State students Katherine Bache and Jonathan Reed — called emergency responders Sept. 16 at 2:34 a.m. after hearing arguing and what they believed to be three gunshots.

Officers responded to the call, however they did not enter Campbell’s apartment and then left the residence.

In a statement given to The Lantern Sept. 29, Columbus Police said, “The responding officers did contact the neighbor who had called and the officers attempted to make contact with the residents of unit #149. At the time of the call, responding officers did not have sufficient probable cause to force entry into that location.”

The next day, nearly 24 hours later, Campbell’s friend opened the unlocked apartment door to find the couple dead. Police returned again, and pronounced the two dead on the scene.

In an interview with The Lantern that week, Reed and Bache said the responding officers could have done more on the night of Sept. 16, and claimed the officers did not take them seriously.

“You could tell up until that point the officers were not taking it seriously,” Reed said of the first responders, adding that the officers were condescending to him and Bache at certain points of the night.

“[An officer] looked above me sort of. I just felt like I was never really being listened to,” Reed said.

Bache and Reed use motorized wheelchairs and have short statures and osteogenesis imperfecta, a genetic disorder characterized by bone fragility and low bone mass that is also known as brittle bone disease. Because of their impairments, they believed the officers did not take them as credible sources.

However Columbus Police argued that the nature of the 911 calls were unusual, which might have prompted their initial visit and leave Sept. 16.

“Usually when we get a call of multiple shots fired we usually get multiple calls,” Denise Alex-Bouzounis, Columbus Police information officer, told The Lantern at the time. “It was unique in that regard.”

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