One-time mayoral candidate appears in court

LIMA — Joshua Hayes, a former candidate for mayor in Lima, on Friday admitted that marijuana found inside a Breese Road residence in June of 2022 belonged to him. He declined to say the same about psilocybin mushrooms also discovered in the home.

The admission came during a hearing in Allen County Common Pleas Court surrounding evidence in a case in which the Shawnee Township man is currently embroiled. Hayes, 39, was indicted by a grand jury in October on two counts each of possession of hashish, aggravated possession of drugs and possession of marijuana. All are third-degree felony charges and three of the counts include specifications for the forfeiture of money in a drug case.

The indictment alleges that Hayes possessed hashish in a liquid and solid form in an amount that exceeds the bulk amount. He is also alleged to have possessed psilocybin, a schedule I drug, and marijuana in excess of the bulk amount.

Prior to the start of Friday’s suppression hearing, Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Kyle Thines placed on the record a proposed plea deal that had been offered to Hayes. Thines said an opportunity for Hayes to plead guilty to three felonies of the third degree had been rejected and would expire at the end of the day.

Search is questioned

A hearing was held following defense motions to suppress much of the state’s evidence in the case. At issue, in part, is the discovery of suspected contraband substances at a Breese Road residence owned by Hayes. On June 14, 2022, Shawnee Township police were called when suspected drugs were found in the home occupied by Angela Hayes, the ex-wife of Josh Hayes.

Josh Hayes testified he and Angela had divorced several years earlier but were temporarily sharing the home, an arrangement that ended with his arrest on domestic violence charges for an incident involving his daughter. Hayes said he was barred by a court order from returning to the home as that case wound its way through the legal system.

According to testimony at Friday’s hearing, Angela Hayes was residing at the Breese Road residence in June of 2022 but was preparing to move. While packing up her belongings Hayes’ aunt discovered suspected drugs found in a floor compartment in a converted garage that was identified as the temporary living quarters of Josh Hayes. Shawnee Township police were alerted and subsequently turned the investigation over to the West Central Ohio Crime Task Force.

Lima attorney Kenneth Rexford, representing Joshua Hayes, argued in court Friday that Angela Hayes had no legal standing to authorize police to enter an area of the home that was owned by her ex-husband, specifically an area which had been clearly identified as his private living space.

Hayes was called to the witness stand and under cross-examination by Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Kyle Thines was asked if all the items in the garage/bedroom belonged to him. Hayes answered yes.

“Does that include the marijuana (found in the room by investigators)?

“Yes,” Hayes said after a brief hesitation.

“What about the psilocybin mushrooms?” Thines asked.

Hayes said he could not recall.

A separate motion for suppression was filed by Hayes’ attorney seeking to have statements he made to police inadmissible at trial. The motion alleges that Hayes’ constitutional rights were violated when investigators failed to halt their interrogation after Hayes asked to speak to his lawyer.

Prosecutors admit that Hayes was questioned as part of a custodial interview but maintain the Lima man was vague and ambiguous about his desire to have an attorney present.

Judge Terri Kohlrieser said she would take both motions under advisement.

The latest arrest by Hayes was not his first brush with the law. He was arrested in Minnesota in 2017 on a felony charge of possession of marijuana.

Ohio State Chiropractic Board in February of 2021 suspended Hayes’ license for one year and fined him $5,000 on nine counts, six of which were related to treatment of patients.

Hayes finished third in a four-candidate special run-off election for the mayoral seat in Lima in May of 2021.