As the year comes to a close, 2007 will be known for a significant number of shootings and an increase in drug-motivated crime.
This year in Erie County three deaths were ruled homicides. In addition, a number of individuals were charged with attempted murder following a string of shootings over the summer.
“Throughout the area there has been an awful lot of firearm activity,” said Perkins Township police Lt. Robb Parthemore.
In Perkins Township alone, a Grant Avenue man was shot to death, and a Vermilion man tried unsuccessfully to kill his ex-girlfriend before turning the gun on himself.
And law enforcement officials say drug activity can be tied directly to increases in other crimes, particularly the increase in crimes involving firearms.
“A lot of the stuff this year has been drug-related,” said Capt. Paul Sigsworth of the Erie County Sheriff’s office. “They’re increasing their areas of activity to support their drug habit.”
This includes an influx in activity related to heroin use, most likely spilling over from Huron County, where authorities are noting a rise in the use of that drug.
Although the Erie County Drug Task Force was disbanded, Sandusky police Det. John Orzech said the agencies are still working on drug cases.
The largest single marijuana bust of the year came in October with about 15 pounds of the drug confiscated. There were also some substantial crack cocaine seizures, he said.
Several significant crimes occurred in July, but the end of the year provided nearly as much activity.
“It seems like everything kind of happened towards the end of the year,” said Sandusky police Det. Helen Prosowski.
That included November arrests for a string of 18 burglaries throughout the county. Here’s a recap of those crimes and the others that made 2007 notable:
Then: Timothy Thayer, 47, threatened to kill himself and his family.
Now: Thayer was sentenced in October to seven years in prison for an assault charge. Two months prior, Thayer injured himself in a failed suicide attempt at Erie County Jail, and taxpayers had to foot nearly $20,000 for his medical bills.
Then: Perkins Township fire Chief Rick Myosky accidentally fired a rifle into his neighbor’s Campbell Street home as he cleaned the weapon. Debris hit the homeowner, but no medical treatment was required.
Now: Myosky, 55, was charged with discharging a firearm on or near a prohibited premise. He was found guilty and ordered to pay court costs.
Then: Sandusky police busted what they believed to be the city’s first methamphetamine lab on Maple Street.
Now: Joseph Stone, 35, is serving four years and 11 months in prison. His wife, Robin Stone, 27, was convicted of drug-related and child endangering charges and was sentenced to 30 days in Erie County Jail and then several years probation.
Then: William C. White, 58, tried to shoot his wife and burn down their Camp Street home, according to police. White was charged with aggravated arson. The home sustained more than $20,000 worth of damage.
Now: His case is pending in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Then: James H. Fields Jr., 39, was arrested at his Venice Road business “Crazy J’s Used Cars” on numerous felony charges for drug trafficking. Fields entered a plea deal in October, admitting guilt to seven counts each of tampering with odometers and odometer disclosure violation and four drug charges.
Now: Fields awaits sentencing Jan. 15 in Erie County Common Pleas Court. He faces up to 21 1/2 years in prison and up to $65,000 in fines.
Then: Perkins Township police were led on a high-speed chase after $837 worth of clothes were stolen from J.C. Penney at Sandusky Mall. Richard Thames, 53, was charged with nine felonies, and Veronica Price, 46, was charged with felony robbery.
Now: Price awaits a final plea hearing Jan. 7 in Erie County Common Pleas Court. Thames was sentenced in November to four years in prison.
Then: several people entered an East Center Street home brandishing guns and stealing $250 from an occupant, police said. Keenan Bonner, 16, was charged. Justin Stowers, then 17, was also charged as an adult for aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.
Now: An attorney is trying to have Stowers’ case turned back over to juvenile court. Bonner awaits a pretrial hearing Jan. 28 in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Then: A Plymouth, Mich., man led police on a high-speed chase nearing 90 mph before crashing his vehicle on East Bogart Road, according to police. Darrell Vasquez, 21, was charged with operating under the influence, using weapons while intoxicated, carrying a concealed weapon and fleeing and eluding.
Now: Vasquez has pleaded not guilty and awaits sentencing Feb. 6 in Sandusky Municipal Court.
Then: At a probation violation hearing in Erie County Common Pleas Court, Trevor Webb, 34, ran out of the courtroom after learning a 20-month prison sentence was being reinstated. A deputy zapped Webb with a Taser after two people in an alley off Warren Street threw a stack of newspapers at Webb to stop him.
Now: Webb was charged with escape and sentenced in October in Erie County Common Pleas Court to two years in prison for that and the drug charge.
Then: After a visit to a Put-in-Bay bar, Sandusky police Lt. Melvin Burns, 45, was charged with persistent disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing after island police said he refused to leave the bar when asked and tried to pull rank. Burns, a 19-year police department veteran, was fired in September after external investigations found he broke the department’s ethics code.
Now: Burns pleaded not guilty to his charges in Port Clinton Municipal Court and awaits a hearing Jan. 4.
Then: James L. Brown Sr., 26, was shot in the leg with a .38-caliber pistol as he stood on the corner of Hancock and Neil streets. Police arrested Justin Tallman, 19, on charges of attempted murder, felonious assault and having a weapon under disability. Brown recovered from the incident.
Now: Tallman awaits a pretrial hearing on the charges in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Then: Terrance Lanier, 22, was charged with five counts of rape from offenses that began in 1999 when he was 14 years old, according to police.
Now: Lanier is asking his case in Erie County Common Pleas Court be dismissed because prosecution was not pursued in a timely manner when he was a juvenile.
Then: Gerald Gilliam, 39, was shot that night in his Grant Avenue backyard and died a few hours later. His next door neighbor, Andrew D. Johnson, 59, was charged with murder, voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter.
Now: Johnson pleaded not guilty to the charges and awaits a pretrial hearing Feb. 14 in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Then: Terrence Hanson, 36, was shot in the leg that night at his Adams Street apartment. He recovered from the incident.
Now: Police have not charged anyone with this crime and are seeking information on the case.
Then: A Sandusky woman crashed her car into the Circle K convenience store on West Washington Street. Nakisha D. Sharp, 24, pleaded no contest to charges including driving under the influence and child endangerment.
Now: Sharp awaits her sentencing Jan. 10 in Sandusky Municipal Court.
Then: A boat driven by Ted Bayer, 46, of Liberty Center crashed into a breakwall near Cedar Point. Several people were injured in the wreck, including outdoors television celebrity Roger Raglin.
Now: Those injured have recovered, and Bayer pleaded not guilty to citations for failure to keep a proper lookout, reckless operation and unsafe speed. A pretrial hearing is being scheduled in Sandusky Municipal Court. Bayer’s license was suspended for one year by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Then: A Fourth Street home was doused with gasoline and set on fire, killing four pets. Police charged James E. McKinney III, 31, with attempted murder, aggravated arson, domestic violence and four counts of cruelty against companion animals.
Now: McKinney pleaded not guilty, and his case is pending in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Then: A Sandusky police officer responded to an unrelated call that night at Lions Park, only to witness a shooting minutes later. A young couple are pronounced dead in the moments that follow.
Now: Police determined the incident was a murder-suicide, saying Larry Barnett Jr., 25, shot and killed 24-year-old Rachelle Baskey then turned the gun on himself.
Then: Shots were fired at a 28-year-old man. Police charged Alonzo Bonner, 19, with attempted murder, felonious assault, having a weapon under disability and vandalism.
Now: Bonner awaits a final plea date on the charges Jan. 7 in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Then: Two Sandusky police officers were injured when they were struck by a vehicle they said Willie L. Otis was driving. Otis, 29, was charged with two counts of felonious assault, two counts resisting arrest, endangering children, obstructing official business and violation of a protection order with a specification.
Now: The officers recovered, and Otis is serving three years in prison for a separate burglary charge. He is now requesting to plead insanity to the July charges. His case is pending in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Then: A woman narrowly escaped death after her estranged boyfriend shot her and then turned the gun on himself. Jennifer Warren, 44, of Milan drove herself to the Perkins Township police station after being shot. Daniel R. Summers, 41, of Vermilion, killed himself near the parking lot of Comfort Inn on Milan Road.
Now: Warren recovered from a gunshot wound to the back and was released from the hospital the same day.
Then: A Sandusky man was found unconscious and lying in a pool of vomit at McDonough and Water streets. He died eight days later at a Toledo hospital.
Now: Police determined 29-year-old Stephen Cobb’s death was a homicide. Michael Anthony McGee, 15, was charged as a juvenile with murder and his case is in the process of being bound over to the adult court. William I. Keyes, 19, was charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated robbery and felonious assault with specification. He awaits a pretrial hearing Jan. 14 in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Then: A recently retired doctor was charged with three counts of gross sexual imposition after former patients told police they were groped by the doctor in his office.
Now: Dr. Mohan S. Chandran, 51, awaits a preliminary hearing on the charges Feb. 1 in Sandusky Municipal Court.
Then: Fans at a Perkins High School football game were startled when a plane flew low over the field. The low altitude of the plane was a Federal Aviation Administration violation, police said. Pilot Daniel J. Lake, 52, was charged with inducing panic, and his girlfriend, Diane Mulvin, 42, was charged with complicity to inducing panic.
Now: Preliminary hearings for the two are being set in Sandusky Municipal Court. Meanwhile the FAA is investigating the incident.
Then: In the biggest marijuana bust of the year, Sandusky police arrested two men and confiscated more than 15 pounds of the drug with a street value of $25,000. Remington A. C. Elliot, 18, and Anthony Joseph Sammarco, 19, were charged.
Now: Their cases are pending in Sandusky Municipal Court.
Then: Through a county-wide joint law enforcement effort two men were arrested and charged for a string of more than a dozen burglaries. Andre G. Hammonds, 42, of Huron and Douglas T. May, 37, were arrested.
Now: Hammonds and May were indicted in December. Hammonds was charged with 18 counts of burglary and 11 counts of theft. He awaits a pretrial hearing Jan. 14 in Erie County Common Pleas Court Jan. May’s case is also pending in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Then: Two men deer hunting in a Berlin Township field were attacked and stabbed repeatedly. Erie County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the man they said was responsible: Tyrone P. Cash, 22, of Lorain.
Now: Cash was charged with two counts of attempted murder and felonious assault among others. He is undergoing mental competency evaluations in Toledo and awaits an arraignment on the charges in Erie County Common Pleas Court.
Click the links to the right to view corresponding videos to many of the crimes listed above.