LIMA — A Cincinnati man charged with kidnapping and aggravated robbery with a firearm for forcing his way into a Lima home at gunpoint in 2016 pleaded guilty Thursday to reduced charges.
Dylan Hartwell, 25, was immediately sentenced to six years in prison by Allen County Common Pleas Court Judge David Cheney on a charge of aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony that included a mandatory three-year firearm specification. He was indicted by a local grand jury on charges of kidnapping with a firearm specification; two counts of aggravated robbery with firearm specifications; and one count of felonious assault with a firearm specification — all felonies of the first degree.
Prosecutors agreed to drop the remaining counts in exchange for Hartwell’s guilty plea to the robbery charge.
According to court documents, Hartwell on Oct. 21, 2016, forced his way into the Lima residence of Travis Burkholder at 218 W. Michigan Ave. Burkholder told police that he and his father, Keith, were forced into the basement of the home by an intruder who was wearing a bandana that partially covered his face.
Keith Burkholder collaborated his son’s story, telling police a black male entered the residence and hit him in the head with a pistol before forcing the pair to the basement. While in the basement, according to both men, Hartwell fired the pistol numerous times at Travis Burkholder, striking him with three of the gunshots. Burkholder was transported to Mercy Health-St. Rita’s with multiple gunshot wounds.
Hartwell’s photo was picked out of a five-man police lineup by the Burkholder men less than a week after the shooting, according to court documents. He was arrested Nov. 9, 2017, more than a year after the alleged incident, when police reportedly received a tip regarding his whereabouts.
Defense attorney Bill Kluge said during Thursday’s hearing that Travis Burkholder “was known to be a dealer of certain substances,” an apparent reference to drug deals that allegedly took place at the Michigan Avenue residence.
Keith Burkholder, 57, was shot and killed at that same residence in Aug. 3, 2017, during a raid by the Allen County Sheriff’s Office SWAT Team and West Central Ohio Crime Task Force. Officials said the elder Burkholder confronted the SWAT team members with a firearm. Suspected drugs, money and firearms were recovered at the home.
An Allen County grand jury cleared the two officers in the case, Deputy Barry Friemoth and Deputy Josh Bayer, saying they followed appropriate procedures during the SWAT raid.
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