5 indicted in connection with Athens County man’s death

ATHENS, Ohio – Five people have been indicted in connection with the kidnapping and murder of a Shade, Ohio, man.

Benjamin Cochran, 29, of The Plains; William Milam, 32, of Nelsonville; and Ronald Smith, 35, of Shade, were each indicted by an Athens County Grand Jury Monday on charges of aggravated murder and murder, both unscheduled felonies; first-degree felony kidnapping; third-degree felony tampering with evidence; and fifth-degree felony gross abuse of a corpse, according to a release from the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office.

Also indicted were James Pascol, 57, of Shade, on charges of tampering with evidence and gross abuse of a corpse and Cheyanne Holly, 25, of Nelsonville, on a charge of tampering with evidence.

The body of 23-year-old Christopher Meadows, who had been missing since July 25, was recovered on Sept. 4 in a five-foot grave in woods near Shade.

According to the prosecutor’s office, Meadows died while being kidnapped by Cochran and Milam, under the direction of Smith. His body was allegedly buried by Cochran, Milam and Smith, with the assistance of Pascol, officials said.

The release from the prosecutor’s office did not specify Holly’s alleged role in the crime.

All five are incarcerated and expected to be arraigned Sept. 19 in Athens County Common Pleas Court.