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Man gets 9 years for crowbar beating

Jessica Cuffman • Aug 27, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Tyler Smith, 19, made a brief statement before Huron County Common Pleas Judge James Conway handed down the prison time.

“He just said that he regretted what happened,” said Smith’s Bucyrus attorney, Thomas Nicholson.

Austin Thornton, 19, of St. Paris, survived the April 22 attack at a Willard home, but was hospitalized for weeks after the incident.

Smith and his co-defendant, Connor Holbrook, 19, also of Bellevue, allegedly went to the home to find Thornton that evening. After the attack, the suspects allegedly went to a Bellevue apartment belonging to Brianna Boonie, 19. Huron County detectives and Bellevue police tracked them there after Thornton’s girlfriend called 911 as another friend drove them to Willard Hospital.

Last month, Smith agreed to plead guilty to the attempted murder charge.

Huron County prosecutor Russ Leffler said he recommended the maximum sentence of 11 years.

“I just tried to make the argument,” Leffler said. “The judge seemed to think he was too young. It’s a pretty tough sentence, but then, it was a horrible crime.”

Nicholson said he thought the prison time was a bit lengthy.

“But of course, I’m a defense attorney. The judge went in between me and the prosecutor,” he said.

Holbrook, who allegedly drove Smith to the Willard home the night of the attack, told prosecutors this week he will not accept a plea agreement. He’s charged with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and other charges.

Boonie was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder and obstructing justice for her alleged role that night. Her case is set for trial in December.

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