U.S. Attorney announces personnel awards, management appointments | USAO-SDOH

COLUMBUS, Ohio – United States Attorney David M. DeVillers announced today his selections for annual awards for outstanding performance, new management appointments, and his district’s recipients of national director’s awards.


“There are so many employees – this year in particular – who are worthy of recognition. A lot of people have stepped up this year and performed their jobs in an extraordinary manner during a challenging time,” U.S. Attorney DeVillers said.


Mr. DeVillers presented seven internal awards.


Senior Litigation Council Douglas W. Squires was awarded Outstanding Performance by an Assistant U.S. Attorney. Mr. Squires was recognized for prosecuting a number of complex cases, including white collar and national security matters.


Outstanding Contribution to the Mission of the U.S. Attorney’s Office was awarded to Elizabeth Rabe, Andrew Hunt, Amy Smith, Ali Gezinski, Cathy Robillard, Leslie Ide and Acquanette Lindsay. The group was recognized for their action in response to the November 2019 shooting death of Dayton Police Detective and DEA Task Force Officer Jorge Del Rio. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is currently prosecuting a number of related cases, and has filed murder, firearms and narcotics charges.


Cathy Robbilard was named as the recipient of the Outstanding Performance in Legal Support award for her work in handling the discovery in a number of murder cases in the Dayton office.


Administrative Officer Jessica Gourley was honored with the Outstanding Performance in Administration award this year. Ms. Gourley has led the district’s administrative team in keeping each of the district’s three offices functioning while safely addressing the Coronavirus pandemic.


Lillian Curtis was awarded Outstanding Performance by a Contract Employee. Ms. Curtis manages GSA requirements and the physical space of the Dayton office, where she primarily serves as the front desk receptionist.


Kevin Koller was recognized for his contributions to the district’s Appellate Division. Mr. Koller was involved in 29 appellate cases in some capacity in 2020, including two published decisions.


John Stark and Angela Trumbauer were recognized for their contributions to the district’s Civil Division, including managing demanding caseloads.


The United States Attorney also announced his appointments for three management positions, to be filled upon the retirement of Civil Chief Mark T. D’Alessandro and Assistant Deputy Criminal Chief Gary Spartis. Mr. D’Alessandro served the U.S. Attorney’s Office for 25 years, and Mr. Spartis for more than 33 years.


“These men are true public servants. They are humble, hard workers who dedicated their careers to the pursuit of justice for the citizens of the Southern District of Ohio,” U.S. Attorney DeVillers said. “Without a doubt, our district is better because of them.”


The new management selections include:


  • Civil Chief – Matthew Horwitz,
  • Deputy Civil Chief – Andrew M. Malek, and
  • Assistant Deputy Criminal Chief – Jessica W. Knight


Mr. Horwitz  joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a Civil AUSA in December 2012.  In May 2014, Matt was designated the District’s Deputy Civil Chief, and he held that position until October 2020, when he became the District’s Civil Chief. 


Mr. Malek has served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio since 2002.  He has served as the Affirmative Civil Enforcement Coordinator for the District since 2008, was appointed as a Senior Trial Counsel, and previously worked as an AUSA on defensive civil matters. 


Ms. Knight joined the Southern District of Ohio as an Assistant United States Attorney in Cincinnati in 2012. She currently serves in the Columbus office and focuses on national security and white collar crime.


Finally, two district employees were selected this year as recipients of the Department of Justice 2020 Director’s Awards by the Executive Office of United States Attorneys in D.C. They include:


  • Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney, Appellate – Mary Beth Young

Appellate Chief Young was recognized for successfully handling the appeal in the Columbus office’s Short North Posse prosecution, U.S. v Ledbetter et al. Ms. Young’s appellate work preserved life sentences for five members, including the de facto leader of the violent gang. The combined appeal raised 15 distinct claims.


  • Superior Performance in Public Affairs – Jennifer Thornton

Public Affairs Officer Jennifer Thornton was recognized for clearly and accurately coordinating local, national and international media coverage of hundreds of cases and issues in the Southern District of Ohio. This included managing media surrounding cases and events like the United States’ first extradition of an alleged Chinese spy, federal charges arising out of the August 2019 mass shooting in Dayton, a priest from Cincinnati accused of sexually exploiting children in the Philippines, and others.


“I can’t imagine a more difficult time to do our job, and every single person in our district has met the challenge. Even with one arm tied behind our back, we’re working to make a difference and seek justice for the people in the Southern District of Ohio,” DeVillers added.



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