The case against Jeffrey Ryan Holsinger, the man who allegedly shot three people on the Fourth of July, killing two in a lethal crime spree, was bound over to Highland County Grand Jury on Thursday.
Meanwhile, a letter Holsinger wrote to Highland County Common Pleas Judge Rocky Coss in 2014, while Holsinger was serving a term for aggravated robbery, promised he was a changed man and pledged he would “never even come remotely close to leading a lifestyle that will bring [me] back to a place like this.”
Security was high Thursday at Madison Township County Court in Greenfield, with several law enforcement officials present as Holsinger appeared for the second time before judge Robert Judkins. Holsinger was represented by defense attorney J.D. Wagoner.
Proceedings were brief and to the point, lasting less than five minutes, during which Holsinger gave no plea and waived his constitutional right to have a preliminary hearing within 10 days of his arrest.
Assistant county prosecutor Jim Roeder, representing the state, asked that Holsinger’s bond remain at $2 million, and Wagoner had no objection.
Wagoner told The Times-Gazette it was too early in the case to comment.
Holsinger seemed calm and emotionless during proceedings, and was quiet except for his responses to the judge.
Holsinger remains charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony, and faces up to 15 years in prison on that charge alone, although more charges are expected to be filed as the investigation continues.
Court records show Holsinger initially pled not guilty by reason of insanity after he was charged with aggravated robbery in fall of 2009, but was found competent to stand trial. Holsinger then pled guilty, and was sentenced to four years in prison for aggravated robbery and 10 months for a separate charge of receiving stolen property.
The Columbus Dispatch reported in March of 2010 that Holsinger escaped from the Ross Correctional Institution outside Chillicothe when he walked away from a work detail during his incarceration there.
According to the Dispatch, Holsinger, who was 24 at the time, was working on the prison’s farm when he fled, causing Ross-Union Scioto schools to go on lockdown.
Holsinger was apprehended by a deputy within a few hours on County Road 550 near Frankfort.
Ross County court records show Holsinger pled guilty to escape, a third-degree felony, and was sentenced to two years further in prison.
Court records show Holsinger filed for judicial release and was denied twice, once in Ross County for the escape case and once in Highland County for his initial sentence.
Following a denial of judicial release here in March 2012, Holsinger wrote a letter to the court in September 2014 asking judge Coss to give him a second chance. At the time, he had been incarcerated for about five years.
“Sir,” Holsinger wrote, “know that I write you today a very diffrent person then the very foolish kid that steped (sic) in your court room in 2009. Over these last five years I have grew and learned, ‘It has been a very long five years,’ but in all it was needed to help me grow into a better person.”
The letter said “change happens by choice,” adding that Holsinger’s first few years in prison “were not positive ones,” and he wanted to be home to see his family in time for the holidays.
“A lot of men dream of fortune and fame, but me these days with all the time I have had to reflect on life I dream of my daughter, and working hard every single day so I know she is provided for and protected,” Holsinger wrote. “The small things in any other mans (sic) life would be the fortune and fame in mine. I’m not cut out for this way of life, and plan to never even come remotely close to leading a lifestyle that will bring [me] back to a place like this.”
Coss did not grant the release. Holsinger was eventually released in August of last year after serving his terms, according to records, and was on five years’ post-release supervision.
Holsinger was transported to Highland County last Wednesday and questioned by Highland County Sheriff’s Detective Randy Sanders and Ross County detectives regarding the shooting deaths of Steven Mottie, Jr., Greenfield, and Paul Robertson, 79, Clarksburg. Another victim, Jesse Lytle, 23, was taken to the Greenfield Medical Center and later transferred to Columbus by medical helicopter late Tuesday.
Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera told The Times-Gazette that a female who was allegedly with Holsinger early in the evening on the Fourth of July is an integral part of the case, and has been questioned by detectives from Ross County.
Barrera said he’s not sure what her involvement was, although she was believed to be with Holsinger voluntarily, then escaped him later on. Barrera said she was briefly treated at Adena Greenfield Medical Center and released with no injuries.
Holsinger’s arrest came after Mottie was found shot to death in a bathroom in a home at Higginsville near Greenfield Tuesday, and two other shootings in Ross County, resulting in Robertson’s death in the 400 block of Browns Chapel Road and injuries from gunshot wounds to Jesse Lytle, 23, in the 8000 block of Rapid Forge Road.
Barrera told The Times-Gazette that Holsinger was apprehended in Hilliard, Ohio, after he was trapped after pursuit by a police helicopter.
The shootings happened just one day after the funeral of Holsinger’s father, who died in a freak accident June 28 after being struck by a wheel that flew off a homemade trailer near Greenfield.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.
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