Lima man with criminal history sentenced for shooting into business

LIMA — In what Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Thines termed “yet another case of senseless gun violence,” a Lima man with a history of criminal convictions was sentenced Friday to at least 14 years in prison for discharging shots into a Lima tattoo parlor.

Jesse Hardy III, 33, was indicted by a grand jury in August on charges of felonious assault, a first-degree felony; having weapons under disability, discharging a weapon on or near a prohibited premises and tampering with evidence, each felonies of the third degree; and carrying a concealed weapon, a fourth-degree felony. The felonious assault charge also labeled Hardy as a repeat violent offender.

Following extensive negotiations Friday morning he agreed to an offer from prosecutors to plead guilty to felonious assault with a three-year firearm specification, having weapons under disability and tampering with evidence. The remaining counts were dismissed, along with the RVO and other specifications.

According to court records, officers with the Lima Police Department were dispatched on the afternoon of July 1 to the intersection of Delphos and Hazel avenues in reference to a fight in progress.

Witnesses in front of a tattoo shop at 925 N. Jameson Ave. told police 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 found 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 while firing the weapon.

The witnesses said a Black male with a gun got into a van and fled the scene. A license plate number was provided to officers and that plate was traced to a vehicle owned by Heather Hardy, Jesse Hardy’s wife.