July 1986 to January 21, 1987
Jeff was born in Bellville, Illinois and his family moved to Colerain Township when he was 4-years-old. He graduated from Colerain High School in 1983. Beginning while attending high school, he was active in the American Red Cross and a volunteer at Providence Hospital and a singer in the Southern Gateway Chorus. He was also active in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office Police Cadet Program. After graduation, Jeff volunteered for the Republican Party and attended the 1980 Reagan Bush Inaugural Ball. He also worked as an intern for Congressman Michael Oxley.
His first desire was law enforcement and after graduating from the Norwood Police Academy in 1986, he joined the Village of Addyston Police Department. He later joined the Morrow Police Department. He was so well liked, that he had dinner Christmas Day 1986 at Mayor Forrest Erwin’s home. And he had come to love the town and was considering purchasing a home there.
On January 21, 1987, Police Officer Phegley traded shifts to work for Police Chief Dick Kilburn, who had to travel to Columbus. This also gave him an opportunity to visit his 89-year-old grandmother who had been in the hospital. He was patrolling the village about 2 p.m. when he noticed a 1977 Monte Carlo traveling 48 miles per hour in a 25-miles-per-hour zone.
Anthony Wayne McIntosh had far fewer accomplishments and ambitions in his 22 years of life. In his own words during a 2000 interview he said that had been a wayward, long-haired tough guy who grew up in Morrow and South Lebanon, dropped out of Little Miami High School as a sophomore, had little family direction, and took up drinking, drugs and petty crime. By mid-January 1987 his life had sunk to such an evil level that he purchased a sawed-off shotgun and boasted to acquaintances that, “the next time a cop stops me, I’m going to make it worth his while.” The caliber of his acquaintances being what it was, none notified law enforcement.
On January 21, 1987 McIntosh had already consumed eight or nine beers and was driving his 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo almost twice the speed limit through the Village of Morrow.
Officer Phegley stopped McIntosh just outside of Morrow on Morrow-Rossburg Road. He clicked on the microcassette recorder in his pocket and walked up to speak with the violator. As he did, he smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage and advised McIntosh that he was under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.
McIntosh, six times, refused Officer Phegley’s orders to put his hands on the car and there was a physical altercation. McIntosh punched Officer Phegley in the jaw, knocking him to the ground. He then retrieved the shotgun from underneath his front seat. Officer Phegley yelled “Hold it!” Four seconds later 158 pellets slammed into Officer Phegley’s chest; two of which tore through his heart and one of which destroyed the tape recorder.
Though mortally wounded, Officer Phegley returned four shots from his .38 caliber revolver. All four struck the car and three penetrated the steel. One continued through the driver’s side headrest and struck McIntosh in the shoulder. He then broadcasted by radio, “Send a backup unit. I am shot!” that he’d been shot and gave the dispatcher the license number of the vehicle.
Warren County deputies arrived minutes later, but Officer Phegley was dead upon their arrival. His body was removed to the Hamilton County Morgue.
Officer Phegley is the only Morrow police officer to have been killed in the line of duty and was the first in Warren County in 50 years.
He was survived by his parents, Joseph and Barbara Phegley; brother, Kevin Phegley, and grandparents, Dennis Phegley and Gertrude Johnson of Beleville, Illinois. Visitation was held 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, January 24, 1987 at Hodapp Funeral Home in College Hill. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 24, 1987 at St. Ignatius Church in Monfort Heights. He was buried in the Garden of Faith, Lot 120D, Space 4 of Lakeview Memorial Gardens in Belleville.
At the scene, officers found Officer Phegley’s citation book where he had already written McIntosh’s name and some identifying information.
McIntosh secreted the shotgun in a creek bed and then ditched the vehicle at a service station on Ohio 28 in Goshen, about 10 miles south of Morrow. Police found it shortly after the shooting.
Officers from several agencies, including sheriff’s offices, Ohio State Patrol, and the Cincinnati Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched the area in and around Morrow and eventually all of Warren and Clermont Counties. At one point, even a highway in Northern Kentucky was closed after a supposed sighting.
About 4:15 p.m., less than two hours after the Murder, McIntosh arrived on foot at Henry McCabe’s home in Maineville. Henry, his friend, wasn’t home, but his parents, Patricia and Michael McCabe and brother Steven McCabe were home. McIntosh sat at the kitchen table and described out his car had broken down and that he needed a ride to his mother’s home in South Lebanon. Michael agreed to take him. Mrs. McCabe had a police scanner and it was turned on, so she knew they were looking for McIntosh. She went up the stairs to the second floor and called for the police, but when that was broadcast, McIntosh heard it on the scanner and ran out the door. The search zeroed in on Mainville and South Lebanon.
Late that same night, they found McIntosh hiding in a car being driven by his mother. They arrested him without further incident.
By the next day, Mrs. McCabe was advocating for McIntosh. Then, at his arraignment, his sister, Karen Schuster, posed the story that another man was with McIntosh and that it was he who did the shooting.
On January 29, 1987, a Warren County Grand Jury indicted McIntosh for Aggravated Murder with Police Officer specification (which carried a Death Penalty possibility) and Escape.
The trial began on July 29, 1987. Warren County Prosecutor Tim Oliver prosecuted the case. Lebanon lawyer, Mark Florence, and Springboro lawyer, John D. Smith, defended McIntosh. The defense was that Officer Phegley was bullying him, that Officer Phegley shot him, and that he fired on Officer Phegley in self-defense.
The evidence and Officer Phegley’s tape recording proved that to be a lie. The recorded tape was spliced back together and the entire encounter, up to the shotgun blast, was recorded. Phegley clearly yelled, “Hold it!” and four second later the shotgun destroys the recorder. Witnesses agreed that they heard the loud shotgun blast, then the reports of the .38 caliber revolver which to them sounded like firecrackers. Warren County Sheriff’s Deputy Ed Petrey testified that he accompanied McIntosh to the hospital where, when the doctor inquired as to how he got the wound, McIntosh stated, “When the cop was shooting back at me.”
Still, only eleven jurors voted to convict him of Aggravated Murder with the Death Penalty option. The one caused the jury to return a verdict of Guilty of Murder. On August 17, 1987, he was sentenced to fifteen years to life, plus three years for a gun specification.
He was sent to prison in the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, where he was involved in several fights and, in 1994, transferred to the North Central Correctional Complex.
Ohio Parole authorities scheduled a parole hearing for McIntosh already in 2000. During an interview with The Enquirer regarding a question about the possibility that he may be denied parole, he replied, “that’s okay with me, because I understand that there are things that people expect and what they want and they are vindictive. That’s not going to bring Jeff back. It’s just destroying another life. Barb and Joe Phegley need to move on with their lives and put the killing of their son behind them.” His parole was denied.
Parole was also denied in 2006 and 2010. McIntosh’s brother, Troy, who advised that he gets his information directly from McIntosh, wrote in 2013, “I know what happened. He (Officer Phegley) was shot at point blank in the chest. [That’s] not possible if the officer is unloading on your back as you’re running away. It’s just BS. He’s done his time. The parole board is corrupt.”
McIntosh is currently incarcerated at the Madison Correctional Institute and has another hearing scheduled for 2019.
If you have information, artifacts, archives, or images of this officer or incident, please contact the Greater Cincinnati Police Museum at Director@Police-Museum.org.
© This narrative was researched and revised on May 18, 2017 by Cincinnati Police Lieutenant Stephen R. Kramer (Retired), Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Director, with research conducted by Cincinnati Police Homicide Detective Edward W. Zieverink III, Greater Cincinnati Police Museum Historian, and anecdotal recollections of Gary Griffith, Officer Phegley’s life-long friend, and Troy McIntosh, the assassin’s brother. All rights are reserved to the Greater Cincinnati Police Historical Society.