WARREN - A 40-year-old Niles homeowner who fired a shotgun blast through the front door of his house, killing a man trying to break in last month, was cleared Wednesday, according to an opinion from the Trumbull County prosecutor.
A news release from Prosecutor Dennis Watkins said actions on the part of Roy Hahn, who has lived at 1539 Niles Cortland Road the past 15 years, will not be presented to a grand jury since the only ''possible crimes were committed by the deceased and his accomplices.''
''The homeowner by no fault of his own clearly was placed in a state of jeopardy by several felonious intruders, including the deceased, and thus had a right to defend his life, home and property by the use of deadly force to repel an ongoing violent use of force to enter his home under the Castle Doctrine,'' according to the review of the case by Watkins and his chief assistant Chris Becker.
Watkins opinion said the man killed, Terry Dew Allen, 36, 1738 Morris St., Mineral Ridge, was hit once in the chest by the blast from Hahn's single-shot, 16-gauge shotgun that was still loaded from last year's deer hunting season.
Hahn, who has no criminal record, told police he was awakened July 12 by two or three people trying to break into his side door. He grabbed the gun and saw at least two of the individuals trying to get into the front door.
The one shot traveled through Allen's chest and hit a second suspect, Michael Burns, AKA Meatball, in the upper right arm and then continued across the street. Allen, who was wearing camouflage clothing, was found with a crow bar still in his hands that were covered with latex gloves.
Burns, 33, of Spring Street, Niles, faces charges of burglary, as does 18-year-old Scott C. Crislip of Cedar Street, Niles. The three are accused to trying to get into Hahn's home to steal copper.
Hahn's home reportedly had a ''For Sale'' sign in the front. The trio had been to another home earlier to steal copper but found the place had already been stripped, investigators said.
Also facing burglary charges are Allen's wife, Nicole, 35, and Mindy Sierra, 32, of Annabelle Street, McDonald, who police say dropped the trio off and then went to get coffee and wait for a call to pick up the three men.
Police also said they learned the Allen couple left their four minor children home alone during the evening.
Three of the four surviving suspects have pleaded innocent to burglary charges and their cases have been bound over to a Trumbull County grand jury, which was in session Wednesday.
Terry Allen had no criminal record other than a drunken driving charge. His wife has no previous record. Sierra has a prior conviction for petty theft; Crislip has a juvenile record for inducing panic and burglary; and Burns has been to prison at least two prior times or burglary and drug offenses, according to court records.
''The action taken by Hahn in defending his residence is a classic example of self-defense under Ohio law. His home was being attacked by multiple persons and with a good faith belief that his life was in danger he shot at the assailants to prevent their ongoing efforts of entering his home,'' Watkins said in his opinion.