By Ed Runyan
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins has advised the Niles Police Department that the actions of a Niles man who killed a purported burglar July 12 were justified, and he won’t be charged with a crime.
Roy Hahn of state Route 46 just south of U.S. Route 422, killed Terry D. Allen, 37, of Mineral Ridge with a gunshot to the chest that passed through Hahn’s front door.
Hahn, a deer hunter, fired the weapon into his front door after seeing at least two individuals through the window going from his side door to his front door at 12:30 a.m.
Police found evidence the individuals had tried to pry open the side door just before the shooting.
Hahn said he fired out of fear that the individuals might kill him if they succeeded in breaking into the house.
Allen was found dead just outside the front door wearing latex gloves and holding a crowbar, Watkins said.
There is evidence that three men were attempting to break into the home through the side door and had started working on the front door at the time of the shooting, police said.
“Based upon the facts of this case ... there will be no presentment to the Trumbull County grand jury regarding the action of the homeowner, as the only possible crimes were committed by the deceased and his accomplices,” Watkins said.
Watkins and Chris Becker, an assistant prosecutor, reviewed the case at the request of Niles police, who charged four people with burglary in the case, including Allen’s wife, Nichole R. Allen, 35.
Police say Nichole Allen and Mindy C. Sierra, 32, of East Federal Street in Niles, were part of the burglary ring, but they were in a van involved in the burglary but not outside the home.
Scott C. Crislip, 18, of Cedar Street, Niles, and Michael S. Burns, 33, of Forest Ridge Court, Mineral Ridge, were with Terry Allen outside the house, police said.
In fact, Burns was hit in the arm by the same gunshot that killed Terry Allen, police said.
Nichole Allen “freely admitted to [Niles Police] Detective Jim Robbins at the scene that she dropped off her husband and an individual by the name of Michael Burns, aka Meatball, for the purpose of stealing copper” from Hahn’s house and another one next door, Watkins said.
Watkins said the “Castle Doctrine” grants Hahn the right to protect himself while defending himself or another person in his home or car.
As for the four individuals charged in the burglary, Watkins said Ohio law allows for prosecution of murder or involuntary manslaughter charges when an accomplice is killed by a homeowner in self-defense.