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Crowbar attack co-defendant found guilty

Jessica Cuffman • Nov 26, 2013 at 5:04 PM

A Huron County jury found a Bellevue teen guilty Tuesday of felonious assault, obstruction of justice and tampering with evidence in the April assault of a 19-year-old Dayton area man.

Connor Holbrook, 20, drove a friend, Tyler Smith, 19, to confront Smith's ex-girlfriend at a Willard area home on April 21, Huron County prosecutor Russ Leffler said.

During the visit, Smith attacked the girl's new boyfriend, Austin Thornton, 19, with a crowbar, bashing in his skull before fleeing the area with Holbrook and going to an apartment in Bellevue.

Thornton's girlfriend drove him to a Willard hospital and call 911 on the way. A Huron County deputy caught up with the vehicle they were in and escorted them, with lights and sirens, to Willard. Thornton was flown from there to a Toledo hospital for treatment.

Thornton survived the attack, but barely.

Earlier this month, Smith was sentenced to nine years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder.

Holbrook's trial took five days, and the jury spent about seven hours deliberating on the case, ultimately finding Holbrook guilty of some charges, but not for conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder or felonious assault with a deadly weapon.

Holbrook could be sentenced to up to eight years in prison for the felonious assault charge and an additional three years each for the obstruction and tampering charges.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge James Conway released Holbrook on his posted bond. He is to be sentenced Jan. 9.

"It's pretty bad stuff," Leffler said. "There's some bad feelings among law enforcement that the defendant is home eating Thanksgiving dinner and the victim's brain is sushi."

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