LIMA — A Lima man who police say pistol-whipped his victim during a robbery attempt at a Lima bar rejected a deal from prosecutors during a contentious hearing Thursday.
Justin Shears, 33, faces charges of aggravated robbery with a firearm specification, felonious assault with a firearm specification and having a weapon under disability in connection with an incident that took place in the early morning hours of Sept. 20, 2017, outside Marko’s Bar on South Main Street in Lima.
On Thursday, he turned down a deal that called for him to plead guilty to aggravated robbery with a firearm specification and felonious assault with the firearm spec removed by prosecutors.
After firing his previous attorney last month, Shears was back in court with his new lawyer, Greg Donohue, for a motion hearing intended to make sure the Lima man was being provided with all evidence collected by the state.
Shears was admonished during a hearing earlier this month by Judge David Cheney to stop filing motions with the court on his own and without his attorney’s knowledge. During that hearing, Shears questioned the validity of the surveillance camera videos taken at Marko’s on the night in question, claiming the evidence had been tampered with. He raised that issue again in court Thursday.
Donohue earned an admonishment of his own from Cheney for talking over the judge during the hearing, and Shears also earned another rebuke from the judge for talking out of turn as tempers on all sides ran high.
Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Anthony Miller adamantly told the court all videos taken at the bar that night had been provided to the defense, but Donohue was not satisfied. He called two witnesses, who testified that police investigators viewed videos and recorded some or all of the videos with a cell phone.
Shears once again told Cheney he had a letter from someone who claimed he had personal knowledge the videos had been altered or otherwise tampered with.
Lima police officers were called to the bar on Sept. 20 in response to the report of an alleged assault. Police found the victim, Hubert Hankison, who had sustained multiple wounds on his head after being pistol-whipped, according to court documents.
Witnesses allegedly told police Shears approached Hankison and struck him in the back of the head with a revolver. Hankison fell to the pavement, and Shears reportedly attempted to remove items from his pockets, witnesses said.
Shears faces a maximum of 28 years in prison if convicted on all charges.