Pre-trial hearing held in Malone case


A pretrial hearing in a reckless homicide case against former Highland County Sheriff’s deputy Jonathan “Dustin” Malone was held on Tuesday, April 25, via Zoom at the Highland County Court of Common Pleas with Judge Rocky A. Coss presiding.

Malone had submitted a motion to dismiss the case against him for shooting and killing Richard Poulin in mid-July after Highland County Coroner Jeff Beery ruled the death a suicide, but the motion was denied by Coss on the day of the pretrial hearing.

Another pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for May 31 with the trial scheduled for Aug. 7.

In late March, Malone pled 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.

Beery wrote that Poulin “planned to go out in a big way with a final confrontation with law enforcement personnel.”

Poulin died after being shot by Malone after a pursuit on U.S. 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, killing Poulin.

The coroner listed suicide as the manner of death, and that ruling is the reason used for the request to dismiss the case.

Poulin’s alcohol level was more than double the legal driving limit when he died and Beery said his intoxication was partially to blame for his actions that day.

Beery 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.

In all other cases of deaths by shootings that Beery has reviewed, he has ruled them to be homicides.

Beery 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.

Beery also 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.

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