A Vermilion boy sentenced to serve time in a state youth correctional facility is under investigation in connection with the death of a youth corrections officer, according to court and law enforcement officials.
William Hesson, 39, died April 29 while on duty at the Cuyahoga Hills Juvenile Facility. Hesson's death remains under investigation by the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
The Vermilion man, who turned 18 on May 5, is targeted in the investigation, said Tammy Barbato, director of court services for the Erie County Juvenile court.
"I believe he was a part of the investigation," Barbato said.
The state's Department of Youth Corrections declined to say if the Vermilion boy was part of the investigation into Hesson's death, citing his status as a juvenile at the time.
According to media reports, Hesson was attacked while on duty by a youth on the night he died. Other witnesses said Hesson hit his head while playfully wrestling with an inmate.
The Vermilion boy has a history of violence. After he was sentenced to serve time in the Department of Youth Corrections following a disposition hearing Aug. 26, the boy reportedly became combative with court officials and Erie County Sheriff's deputies.
At one point, the boy lunged for a deputy's gun before being subdued with a taser.
Following the incident, the boy made statements to employees at the Erie County Juvenile Detention Center that if he had taken the deputy's gun, he would have shot both deputies in the courtroom, as well as sentencing Judge Robert C. Delamatre.
The boy was originally adjudicated delinquent on two counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of sexual imposition on a 2007 case out of Vermilion.
The boy was charged with aggravated robbery, assault and delinquency in connection with his August 2008 court outburst. The charges are still pending. A visiting judge and prosecutor have been assigned to the case.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol declined to comment on the specifics of Hesson's death.
"It's under investigation," Sgt. Karla Taulbee said.
Taulbee said the patrol's investigation can not be completed until the Cuyahoga County Coroner rules on the cause of Hesson's death. The Cuyahoga County Coroner's office said Hesson's case is still open.