Trial for Lima shooting suspect pushed back until January

LIMA — Recently unearthed evidence has pushed the trial for a Lima man back from next month until next year.

Jesse Hardy appeared in Allen County Common Pleas Court on Friday to waive his constitutional right to a speedy trial. Megan McLean from the Allen County Public Defenders Office requested Hardy’s scheduled Oct. 10 jury trial be continued in light of new ballistics evidence that reportedly has recently come to light.

Hardy, 33, was indicted by a grand jury in August on charges of felonious assault, a first-degree felony that includes a 54-month firearm specification and a repeat violent offender specification; having weapons under disability, discharging a weapon on or near a prohibited premises (with a 54-month firearm spec) and tampering with evidence, each felonies of the third degree; and carrying a concealed weapon, a fourth-degree felony.

Judge Terri Kohlrieser scheduled a new trial date of Jan. 2, 2024.

Hardy has until Dec. 1 to accept or reject a state offer that was placed on the record Friday by Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Kyle Thines. Under that proposal Hardy would plead guilty to felonious assault, having weapons under disability, discharging a weapon near a prohibited premises and tampering with evidence.

In return, the state would dismiss the repeat violent offender specification and reduce the two gun specs to 3-year charges. The charge of carrying a concealed weapon would be dismissed.

According to court records, Lima police were dispatched on the afternoon of July 1 to the intersection of Delphos and Hazel avenues in reference to a fight in progress. Police encountered a witness in front of a North Jameson Avenue tattoo shop who said a Black male suspect with a gun fired shots into the establishment, got into a van and fled the scene. He provided a license plate number to officers. That plate was traced to a vehicle owned by Hardy’s wife.

Witnesses told police that at least two shots were fired into the tattoo parlor by the suspect, who entered through the front of the business and left a backpack at the scene before fleeing. An identification card inside the backpack belonged to Hardy.

Across the street from the tattoo parlor police found two spent .380 caliber shell casings in the area where witnesses said Hardy was standing when firing the weapon.

It was later learned that Hardy was hiding inside a home in the 400 block of Haller Street. Following a two-hour standoff he surrendered to police.

Hardy told police he was involved in the altercation but denied having a firearm or firing the shots.