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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, May 08, 2018 1:00 am

Courts

3 charged, accused of being on school grounds

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

Three Fort Wayne men are facing felony charges for allegedly walking onto an elementary school playground filled with children Friday, causing the school to be locked down.

Damont Church, 20, Douglas Estes Jr., 18, and Samuel Torres II, 20, arrived at Haverhill Elementary School about 11:45 a.m. and walked around a closed gate reading, “Do Not Enter,” according to court documents filed Monday in Allen Superior Court.

The three walked past at least two other signs warning against trespassing, probable cause affidavits stated.

Teachers told the men to leave, police said, but they continued walking toward the school. The playground was evacuated and the school was locked down as Church, Estes and Torres fled, documents said.

“At the Allen County Jail, Damont Church volunteered out loud that he knew they shouldn't have gone onto the Haverhill property,” the affidavits stated. “He was told to hush by Douglas Estes.”

Each man is charged with criminal trespass, a Level 6 felony that carries a maximum of 21/2 years in prison.

Lawyer: Officers should file in state

Four Fort Wayne police officers who allege a woman slandered and defamed them in a federal lawsuit should file their claim in state court, the woman's lawyer argues.

Keiona Harrison filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne last year, saying Detectives Robert Hollo and George Nicklow and Officers Christopher Hawthorne and Julie McConnell racially profiled her and used excessive force.

The officers filed paperwork last week that asks a judge to approve a counterclaim, alleging statements in Harrison's lawsuit are untrue, slanderous and defamatory.

Christopher C. Myers, Harrison's lawyer, said in court documents claims of slander and defamation are “separate and distinct” from claims of false arrest and excessive force and should be filed in state court.

Nothing had been filed in state court as of Monday. A decision on whether to allow the counterclaim in federal court has not been made, online court records show.

Findlay man may be returned to jail

An Ohio man sentenced to a year in prison for killing a woman in a car crash in 2013 could be sent back to prison.

Daniel B. Heffner, 23, of Findlay, Ohio, appeared Monday in Allen Superior Court, where Judge John Surbeck considered revoking his probation. No decision was made.

Heffner pleaded guilty in 2014 to reckless homicide in the crash that killed Doris Bockius on Tonkel Road, near Schlatter Road. He was sentenced to six years in prison, with five years suspended, for a total of one year.

Court documents said Heffner violated his probation when he was charged in February with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor, in Findlay. He has pleaded guilty in that case, and sentencing is set for May 22.

mleblanc@jg.net