Newark, OH - Thomas Hartness should have been in jail on May 12th. If he had been, Kirkersville Police Chief Eric Disario and Marlino Medrano along with Cindy Krantz, would not have been murdered.
Three probation officers and possibly the director of Adult Probation face discipline and possible termination after review of a scathing report by Administrative Judge Michael Higgins, according to ABC6.
In his report, Judge Higgins said "if the old probation system were to have been followed correctly," then Hartness would never have gotten out of jail early in April.
Kirkersville Police Chief Eric Disario, age 36, was murdered on Friday, May 12 after responding to a report of a man with a gun. According to ABC News, Chief Disario had responded to the Pine Kirk nursing home, and notified dispatch upon arrival that he had the suspect, later identified as Thomas Hartness, in sight.
Chief Disario made contact with Hartness in front of the nursing home, and was shot and murdered by Hartness, who then went inside the nursing home and murdered his ex-girlfriend Marlina Medrano, who worked there. A second employee, Cindy Krantz, who was a nurse's aide, was also murdered by Hartness.
Hartness was found dead inside the nursing home, apparently from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He has a violent criminal history including civil protection orders taken out against him from the nurse that he murdered. He also served time in prison for a 2009 abduction of a woman
Chief Desario had been the town's police chief for about three weeks. He is survived by his pregnant wife and six children.
Judge Higgins told Lisa Rantalla with ABC6 that Hartness was a "psychopath with a shotgun." He said that he could not remember signing off on his domestic violence case when he signed off on his early release in April. He said that was something that he would "take to his grave."
He said that "the municipal court and its probation officers became complacent" with how Hartness was handled.
According to Judge Higgins, the probation officer that was assigned to Hartness 'did not review his court files before recommending him for early release, and did not do any home visits to check for guns after he was released.
He said that he knows that he "has a target on him" and has been offered security.
The judge has already revised probation officers' policy to put a new three-tiered system of checks-and-balance system in place for domestic violence cases.
Over a hundred cases have already been pulled by the probation office for review, and to comply with the new rules. These reviews will include checks of offenders' homes to check for guns.
When government agencies have the job of protecting the public, and they lose sight of that in the routine of their work, it can result in innocent people getting killed. Hopefully the failures of the probation system here will be an example to others in the country.