Two charged with attempted murder in crowbar assault

Victim fights for life after brutal assault in Willard home (WITH 911 AUDIO)
Jessica Cuffman
Apr 24, 2013


Two Bellevue men are accused of brutally assaulting a 19-year-old man Monday morning at a home near Willard.     

Tyler Smith, 19, was charged with attempted murder, while Connor Holbrook, 19, was charged with felonious assault.

The victim, Austin Thornton, 19, of St. Paris, Ohio, is in a Toledo hospital fighting for his life. 

Smith and Holbrook remain in the Huron County jail. 

Smith allegedly used a crowbar to assault Thornton at a home in the 100 block of Ohio 99, Huron County Detective Bill Duncan said.

“Holbrook’s participation in the assault was more on the level of conspirator or assisting,” Duncan said. “He is not being charged with the same crime as Smith because Smith was the primary actor in the assault.”

A friend of Thornton’s called 911 at about 12:30 a.m. Monday, launching a police investigation. Thornton was taken to the Willard hospital for treatment, where Huron County deputies met with his friends, one of whom identified Smith as a suspect. 

With help from Bellevue police and Sandusky County deputies, Huron County deputies tracked Smith and Holbrook to an apartment on Hamilton Street in Bellevue. Thornton was later transferred to Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo. 

Smith initially denied involvement but later “made admissions,” deputies said.  Investigators also obtained warrants to search Smith’s vehicle and the Hamilton Street apartment. 

Thornton had been in the Willard area visiting friends this past weekend, Duncan said, although he declined to say if Thornton ever met the alleged assailants before Monday. He also would not say why Holbrook and Smith were at the house.

“That starts to get into motive, and we can’t discuss that at this point in the investigation,” Duncan said. “It will make sense when we release the information. We just have to do a few more things and a few more interviews before we can go into that.”

Thornton is fighting life-threatening injuries and had at least one surgery since Monday, Duncan said. 



Norwalk Reflector has more details and the 911 call.

Dude i Roc

Is this the same Tyler Smith whose name was published in the SR police log as a juvenile? It caused so much flack. Maybe the SR was providing a service informing the public early about this menace.


To Russ Leffler_ Plz don't plea bargain this one down to a lesser charge! I will be more than happy to have my tax $$ spent to prosecute these two pieces of crap and make sure they spend as much time as possible locked up! Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to say how I really feel because of the moderators but I have a feeling I wouldn't be the only one!


Headlines says 2 charged with attempted murder! Then article says one man charged with attempted murder and the other with felonious assault! Which is it?

sandtown born a...

The latter of the 2. Typical Ragister


I read in the comments section of the reflector that this may be due to "baby mamma drama"...... seriously boys and girls...... you need to stop this mess and get ahold of your anger..... count to 10... breathe! The lives of 3 people are ruined forever because of something so irrelevent to the big picture of life. Start talking to your parents or friends about your anger.... instead of acting on it. PLEASE!


I also read somewhere that the poor boy has died...does anyone know of this is true?


You read wrong. He was upgraded from critical to serious condition today.


Ok...thank God I read wrong..


What makes one crime an attempted murder and another an assault? I remember a couple of years ago, a Sandusky man beat a Bellevue man with a brick and almost killed him. He was charged with assault. The man almost died. What is the difference?


Effin hillbillies..

tell it how it is

Sounds more like wanna-be thugs to me. Then again, you're probably one of the wanna-be's, hence you're constant use of "hillbilly" as a put-down.
Wow do you bother me for some reason.




Please don't associate my relatives and myself with these two pieces of s**t by calling them "hillbillies"! I don't appreciate someone making that insinuation- to me that is equivalent to an ethnic slur. My mom left home at the age of 15 to work in the factories here in Ohio during the war as a "Rosie the Riveter" and my grandfather worked and retired from the railroad. Your stereotyping of people and using such slurs are not necessary to make your point. If your vocabulary is that limited, then maybe you should buy a thesaurus and practice a little bit more.


Waaaaahhhhh. Booo hooo hooooo.