Former deputy not guilty of reckless homicide


Former Highland County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Malone, who was charged in the fatal shooting death of a Hillsboro man last summer, was found not guilty of reckless homicide on Wednesday by a jury in Highland County Common Pleas Court.

Malone had previously submitted a motion to dismiss the case against him for shooting and killing Richard Poulin, 58, in mid-July of 2022 after Highland County Coroner Jeff Beery ruled the death a suicide. The state objected to that theory and judge Rocky Coss denied the dismissal.

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 was 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 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. Poulin did not get out of the vehicle after being commanded to do so by law enforcement several times. The vehicle’s windows were illegally tinted, so deputies were unable to tell if Poulin was armed.

As Malone tried to smash the driver’s side window of the vehicle with a baton to get Poulin out of the car, the gun in Malone’s left hand fired, killing Poulin. Malone said Poulin was reaching forward toward the floorboards, and he thought he was reaching for a gun.

Although Special Prosecutor Chris Kinser of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office said it was reckless for Malone to have two weapons, one in each hand, and that it was improper to hold his gun in his left hand, Malone’s lawyer stated that the sheriff’s office had no policy about which hand to use to hold a gun and that deputies are required to be qualified to shoot with each hand.

Malone testified that he followed his training and sheriff’s office procedures during the incident.

Poulin’s alcohol level was more than double the legal driving limit when he died, according to Beery.

Malone resigned from his position with the Highland County Sheriff’s and has been working at a package delivery company.

“There has not been a day since then that I had not thought about this incident,” Malone said. “I was actually in counseling for about three months and I’m still dealing with it.”

Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.

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