Former Highland County Sheriff’s deputy Jonathan “Dustin” Malone has submitted a motion to dismiss a case against him for shooting and killing Richard Poulin in mid-July after Highland County Coroner Jeff Beery ruled the death a suicide.
In late March, Malone pleaded not guilty to reckless homicide in the death.
According to correspondence from Beery to a special agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, it is Beery’s belief that Poulin wished to be killed in a suicide-by-cop scenario.
Berry wrote that Poulin “planned to go out in a big way with a final confrontation with law enforcement personnel.”
Poulin died after allegedly being shot by Malone after a pursuit on U.S. Route 62 that ended with Poulin’s vehicle stopped near the intersection of U.S. 62 and Ervin Road.
As Malone tried to smash the window of the vehicle with a baton to get Poulin out of the car, the gun in Malone’s left hand fired, striking Poulin in the neck and killing him.
The coroner listed suicide as the manner of death, and that ruling is the reason used for the request by Malone to dismiss the case.
Poulin’s alcohol level was more than double the legal driving limit when he was killed, and Berry said his intoxication was partially to blame for his actions that day.
Berry based his determination of the manner of death as suicide in the case on the alleged victim’s level of intoxication and a statement made by Poulin’s ex-wife that Poulin told her he wanted to have a final confrontation with law enforcement.
It is uncertain how long it will take for the judge to make a decision on the motion to dismiss the case, and prosecutors could appeal the decision if it is dismissed.
In all other cases of deaths by shootings that Berry has reviewed, he has ruled them to be homicides.
Berry was elected coroner of Highland County in 2012 after serving as deputy corner. He has 25 years of experience in the office and has been a practicing internist in Hillsboro since 1992.
Berry said he is not personally connected to Malone. He said he has come across him on occasion because of their shared work in law enforcement, but he does not know him personally.
Malone resigned from his position with the Highland County Sheriff’s Office on March 30 and is currently on house arrest.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.