Boater Charged with Pushing Man Overboard on Lake Erie

PORT CLINTON, Ohio (AP) - Investigators now believe what initially was thought to be a drowning on Lake Erie nearly five years ago was actually a murder.

Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan says a new witness says he saw a boater push another man overboard near South Bass Island in 2002.

Police this week arrested Scott Speer of Fairlawn.

He's charged with aggravated murder and murder in the death of James Barnett of Barberton.

Speer told authorities in August of 2002 that Barnett fell off the boat while coming back from Put-in-Bay, setting off a search on Lake Erie.

Rescue workers found Barnett's body a day later near the southeast end of South Bass Island.