LIMA — A teenager who could not correctly recall his own birth date caused a minor stir in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Wednesday.
Moments before Ezekiel Topolski was to enter guilty pleas to felony charges that could land him in prison for up to a decade, Judge Jeffrey Reed — as he does in all similar cases — asked the defendant his age and date of birth. When Topolski stated that he was born on Jan. 25, 2003, concern was immediately evident on the faces of the judge, prosecutor and defense attorney.
Topolski was indicted by a grand jury on single counts of aggravated robbery with a firearm specification, one count of kidnapping with a firearm specification, first-degree felonies, in connection with an incident that allegedly occurred on Jan. 23 of this year in Delphos.
Based on the teen’s stated birthday, he would have been 17 at the time of the alleged crimes.
“He was never charged as a juvenile?” Reed asked the attorneys. “This should have originated in juvenile court. I don’t think I can go any further with this at this time.”
Thirty minutes later prosecutors had obtained a birth certificate that showed Topolski was born on Jan. 15, 2003, making him 18 years and one week of age at the time of his alleged crime. The Lima teenager was then brought back into the courtroom to resume the hearing.
The purpose of the hearing was for Topolski to accept a deal from prosecutors that called for him to plead guilty to amended counts of robbery, a second-degree felony with a one-year gun specification, and an amended count of abduction, a felony of the third degree.
With those pleas entered, Reed ordered a pre-sentence investigation and scheduled sentencing for July 29.
According to court documents, Topolski was involved with several others, including juveniles from Delphos, in trading a pair of athletic shoes for an XBox game controller. Topolski is alleged to have pulled a gun on one of the participants.
Another Lima teenager has been charged as an adult in the case. Joseph Hildreth, 17, also known as Joseph Lewallen, was indicted in March on charges of aggravated robbery and kidnapping, first-degree felonies; grand theft and attempted burglary, both fourth-degree felonies; and failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, a first-degree misdemeanor.