Inmate's tip leads to search for Amanda Berry

11:39 PM, Jul 19, 2012   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- An inmate serving time at the Sounthern Ohio Correctional Facility for a Cleveland murder is the person behind the tip that has led to a new search for Amanda Berry.

WKYC has learned that Robert Wolford is the inmate responsible for the tip.

According to a neighbor near the search site on W. 30th Street and Wade Avenue, authorities brought Wolford there from Lucasville on Wednesday, where he spent several hours pointing out locations.

A search of the area began Thursday morning following that survey with Wolford. The search ended about 5 p.m. and will resume Friday morning. 

Wolford is currently serving a 26-year prison term for the 2007 murder of a homeless man, on the same street corner where he claims Amanda Berry's remains are buried. The homeless man had been stabbed 7 times.

Acquaintances of Wolford's tell WKYC he could be "mean," and "heartless." They tell of violent instances in his youth, even before he turned 18 when his adult criminal record begins.

In addition to the guilty plea to involuntary manslaughter and felonious assault for the 2007 killing, Wolford was convicted in 2006 of burglary and drug possession, and was arrested four times in 2005. He pleaded guilty to various crimes then, incluidng soliciting, drug possession, and receiving stolen property.

"You never know what kind of person you meet these days," says Mike Shear, who claims to have hung out with Wolford in the West 30th Street area before Wolford was sent to prison.

"And next thing you know, this," Shear said, pointing to the lot where FBI agents and police experts were digging for Amanda Berry's remains.

Wolford had originally pleaded guilty to an aggravated murder charge in the killing of the homeless man, with whom he had made a drug deal the day before. 

After an appeal, he was allowed to plead to greatly reduced charges, and since then has made a number of moves in hopes of further appeals. Courts have ordered a number of psychiatric and mental tests on Wolford, including those to determine if he has psychiatric or mental conditions or low IQ.




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