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Punch thrown during Margaretta Township meeting

Register • Mar 25, 2013 at 2:00 AM

John Hensley, 47, of the 6500 block of Wahl Road, was arrested and taken to the Erie County jail but was quickly diverted to the hospital after complaining about medical problems. Deputies issued him a summons there and sent him on his way.   

Hensley allegedly tried to punch township trustee Joe Bias during a public meeting on the proposed demolition of a home at 205 Crystal Rock Road, an Erie County deputy’s report said. 

Hensley owns the rental home, which sustained serious damage in a fire in late 2011. Margaretta trustees said they’ve been trying to get him to repair the home for the past 18 months to no avail.   

“Since the fire, about 18 months ago, the house was condemned by the building department, zoning department and health department,” said trustee Tim Riesterer, who attended Thursday’s hearing. “We’ve been trying to work with Mr.

Hensley to bring it up to the minimum housing standards that the township has ... (but) we haven’t seen progress on the property, as far as bringing it up to that minimum standard.” 

There have been many reports of people breaking into the vacant home, Riesterer said.

“So we initiated action to have the house demolished,” he said. 

Thursday night’s hearing was part of the process toward the home’s demolition. The rub came about 20 minutes into the meeting, as trustees and Hensley were discussing his options and the township’s plan to demolish the house. Hensley “became disruptive” and approached Bias, who was sitting at a table, the report said. 

“Hensley then swung his fist at (Bias), who moved to avoid being struck,” the report said. “(Bias) then pinned Hensley against the wall while Hensley continued to try to strike him.” 

Three deputies and a Castalia police officer rushed to the building and arrested Hensley.  

“There’s a line for personal conduct at a public meeting, and I feel Mr. Hensley crossed that line,” Riesterer said. 

Trustees aim to have the home torn down within the next month or so.


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