Accused murderer gets through security at state offices; one day after woman is killed


COLUMBUS -- On the same day Rachael Anderson’s body was found in the closet of her Columbus apartment, Anthony Pardon traveled to the Riffe Center, where he met with the aide of a state lawmaker in an effort to obtain a state-issued ID, 10 Investigates has learned.

Pardon, who was not arrested for Anderson’s murder until February 9, was able to pass through security and make his way to an upper floor of the Riffe Center where lawmakers have offices without showing a valid ID, 10 Investigates confirmed.

“Anthony Pardon was in the Riffe Center at around 10 a.m. on Jan. 29 asking to meet with State Representative Bernadine Kent.” Department of Administrative Services Spokesman Tom Hoyt told 10 Investigates via email.

Brad Miller, a spokesman for House Speaker Clifford Rosenberger, said: “From my understanding, he was seeking assistance in obtaining a state ID. As for any other specifics of the meeting, I would defer to Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent’s office.”

Once he passed through security, Pardon met with an aide to Rep. Bernadine Kenned Kent. He did not have a valid ID, Rep. Bernadine Kennedy Kent told 10 Investigates.

"I came in later that day (January 29), my legislative aide started talking about how a man had come up and she didn't know his name, when he came up she didn't know anything about him - that he was sent out by security,” Kent said. “It was very urgent for him to have that ID, for him to be able to get a driver's license, for him to be able to travel and he did mention that once he was able to get his state ID,” Kent told 10 Investigates Thursday.

The same day Pardon was in the Riffe Center, a family friend of Anderson discovered her body. Police have released few details about her death other than it appeared she was tortured.

Despite not knowing Pardon’s alleged crime at the time of his visit, Rep. Kent said she still called security with concerns about a man gaining access to her aide without an appointment and without showing a valid ID.

“I honestly do not truly believe that the protocol that is in place was followed,” Kent said.

Signs inside the Riffe Center state that "visitors must register with security using a photo ID."

But in an email to 10 Investigates, spokesman Tom Hoyt with the Department of Administrative Services said "there was not a security breach in this situation."

“There was not a security breach in this situation. The security team followed the correct protocol, including having him go through the metal detector. In the event a visitor does not have a current government issued photo ID, the security officer at the visitor desk is to contact the office the visitor is requesting to visit, in this instance the officer called the House administrative office and was told to allow him to go up to the 14th floor. There was no security breach.”

Rep. Kent says Pardon presented corrections documents along with a birth certificate, fishing license and social security card instead of an valid state ID.

Kent says her office helped Pardon get an ID in the following days, but only learned of his alleged crime when her aide saw his picture on the news a week later.

“That moment she called me and she had seen it on the news, and it was absolute shock. And Absolute fear. Fear for her, and the statehouse and anyone that was in there. I just kept imagining what could have happened,” Kent said.

Pardon appeared in court Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated murder, rape and kidnapping. If convicted, he faces the possibility of the death penalty.

10 Investigates first reported Tuesday that Pardon’s Georgia probation records indicate he should have been wearing an ankle monitor and pay for all expenses.

ODRC has still not replied to several emails and phone calls seeking clarity on if Pardon was assigned an ankle monitor through ODRC and the Adult Parole Authority.

Pardon moved back to Ohio last summer as part of an interstate compact between Ohio and Georgia. His 2007 conviction from Georgia on charges of forgery and failure to register as a sex offender meant he spent 10 years in prison there and was required to serve an additional 20 years on probation, which included requiring him to wear a GPS device.

“Wow, oh my God,” said Kent when reacting to the news that 10 Investigates first reported on Tuesday.

Booking video from the Franklin County Jail on the night of his arrest does not show Pardon wearing a GPS device.

Pardon’s latest jail records reviewed by 10 Investigates show he has since been charged with a parole violation.

“Here we go again with another man who should’ve been watched, (who) should have had an ankle monitor. And it goes back to what I say, protocol, procedures, if they are in place let's follow them. You can see how we are put at risk if we do not,” Kent said.

Pardon has a lengthy criminal record, including a 1980 juvenile conviction for raping a 9-month old child and a 1982 conviction for attempted murder, robbery and rape. He served 24 years in prison in Ohio for that offense before his trouble in Georgia landed him back in prison there in 2007.

Prosecutors allege that Pardon entered Anderson’s apartment between January 28 and January 29 and attacked 24-year old Anderson. The two did not know each other. Her body was found January 29 by a family friend. Police say it appears she was tortured. Pardon pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of aggravated murder, burglary, rape and kidnapping. If convicted he faces the death penalty.

This latest revelation about Pardon helps piece together a timeline that has not been revealed publicly by authorities. Court records detailing the charges against Pardon remain sealed.

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