Dominic Francis Murder: Where Are Zachary Love, Emin Johnson, and Dante Tate Now?

Investigation Discovery’s ‘High Speed Chase: Death in the Family’ chronicles how 42-year-old Officer Dominic Francis was killed in the line of duty on southbound I-75 near Bluffton, Ohio, in late March 2022. His colleagues and law enforcement officials from other departments continued the pursuit of the three convicts until all of them were arrested in less than 12 hours of the murder.

How Did Dominic Francis Die?

Dominic M. “Dom” Francis was born to Robert and Vicky (née Bratcher) Francis in Bluffton, Ohio, on August 9, 1979. He graduated from Cory-Rawson High School in 1998 and furthered his education at the University of Findlay, graduating in 2002, during which he actively participated in college football. He married Ricki Davis on June 21, 2010, and had two children — a son named Blake Francis and a daughter, Taylor Born. His professional journey began with service at the Findlay Police Department and the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.

His dedication led him to the Bluffton Police Department, where he wholeheartedly served the community for 11 years. Throughout this period, he achieved notable recognition, being honored with the ‘Officer of the Year’ award twice. He received numerous Letters of Commendation, The Chief’s Leadership Award, and a Life Saving Award from the Bluffton Police Department, among other accolades. He also assumed the role of Captain within the Southwestern Hancock Joint Fire District for several years.

Dom’s commitment to public service was further acknowledged by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers, who recognized him as a Top Cop, and he repeatedly earned the Ohio EMS Star of Life award. Beyond his professional achievements, he remained closely connected with his alma mater — engaging as a strength and conditioning coach, football coach, substitute teacher, and bus driver at Cory-Rawson High School. He cherished quality moments spent with loved ones, both at Indian Lake and while navigating his boat.

After serving the police force for almost two decades, 42-year-old Dom was killed in the line of duty on March 31, 2022. According to reports, a vehicle struck and killed the law enforcement officer while he was deploying spike strips near mile marker 142 on southbound I-75 at about 2:30 am. A stretch of I-75 that runs through Bufton was renamed the Officer Dominic Francis Memorial Highway as a mark of honor. The memorial signs are located at mile marker 139 Northbound and 143 Southbound.

Who Killed Dominic Francis?

A pursuit began between three suspects and the Bluffton law enforcement officials when Ohio State troopers spotted a Black Infinity Sedan traveling at high speeds on US 23 in the early hours of March 31, 2022. The law enforcement officials could not make contact with the vehicle at that time. Another trooper spotted the car at 2:20 am on SR 15. That pursuit continued onto I-75 South, traveling at speeds higher than 130 m.p.h. The vehicle struck Officer Dom while attempting to deploy stop-sticks near Exit 142 on southbound I-75 at 2:30 am.

According to a freshly released 911 call, the caller could be heard saying, “I just passed a police officer’s car. It looks like he’s lying in front of it with his arm up. I don’t know what happened. There’s another cop that pulled over. Two cops pulled over another car, but the officer is lying in front of the freeway.” Dom was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition, where he succumbed to his injuries. Meanwhile, the three suspects exited the vehicle and fled on foot.

One of the suspects stole a Toyota Prius from a home on County Road 29 and drove off. One of the suspects was apprehended near where that vehicle was reported stolen. A trooper spotted the Prius on I-71 near Medina. Law enforcement officials pursued the car until it was stopped at SR 57 in Elyria, and the second suspect was apprehended. The authorities closed Interstate 75 to search for the third suspect until 11:30 am. Bluffton University remained on lockdown for several hours before being lifted around 12:30 pm.

Zachary Love

The authorities continued their search for the third and final suspect till he was arrested at 12:49 pm. A state trooper and a border patrol agent located the individual, and police sources revealed he was hiding in a shed where a boat was stored. Authorities stated the suspect had crossed a creek, was soaking wet from the leg down, and did not have a shirt on until one of the officers provided him with a sweatshirt. The names were released in the public domain — Emin Johnson,  Zachary Love, and Dante Tate.

Emin and Zachary remained incarcerated at the Hancock County Justice Center, while Dante was kept at the Medina County Jail. A Hancock County Grand Jury indicted Emin on multiple felony charges, including involuntary manslaughter, aggravated vehicular homicide, receiving stolen property, failure to comply, possessing criminal tools, tampering with evidence, failure to stop after an accident, improper handling of a firearm, and having a weapon under disability on April 11, 2022.

Emin Johnson

The same jury also indicted Zachary for receiving stolen property, tampering with evidence, having a weapon under disability, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, and receiving stolen property. Meanwhile, Dante was indicted for complicity in receiving stolen property, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, grand theft of a motor vehicle, and receiving stolen property. The three initially pled not guilty to all charges but later changed their plea deals.

Zachary Love, Emin Johnson, and Dante Tate Are in Prison Now

Dante initially pled not guilty but changed his plea in July 2022 and pled guilty to the charges of failure to comply with an order or signal of a police officer and receiving stolen property. He was sentenced to 24 months in prison for his role in the deadly pursuit that killed Bluffton officer Dom in August 2022. He also received a consecutive prison term of 30 months for the other charges. Emin pled guilty to six charges, including tampering with evidence and involuntary manslaughter, in late March 2023 and was sentenced to 21 to 26-and-a-half years.

Zachary pleaded guilty in mid-March 2023 to one count of tampering with evidence, one count of having weapons while under disability, and one count of improperly handling a firearm in a motor vehicle. He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years and ordered to pay a fine of $15,000 in May 2023. The 25-year-old is serving his sentence at the Allen Correctional Institution and will be eligible for parole in 2025. Emin, 21, is incarcerated at the Correctional Reception Center and will be eligible for parole in 2043. Dante, 20, remains imprisoned at the Marion Correctional Institution and will be eligible for parole in 2026.

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