Woman indicted for alleged role in Norwalk riot

Cary Ashby • Updated Jan 7, 2019 at 8:20 PM

A teenager has been indicted by a Huron County grand jury for her role in a riot that took place in Norwalk.

Janelle N. Martinez, 19, of Sandusky, was charged with aggravated riot, a fourth-degree felony, and one count each of riot and inciting to violence, both misdemeanors. The charges are in connection with a July 29 incident.

About 12:30 a.m., five Norwalk police officers and members of the Huron County Sheriff’s Office responded to Charlie’s Bar in Norwalk for reports of disorderly conduct and fighting.

“When officers arrived, they estimated there was about 30 to 40 people involved in fights and altercations,” police Capt. Eric Hipp said after the incident. “They were all over the road, inside the building, outside the building (and) in the parking lot. A lot of the people (who) were fighting fled when officers arrived.”

Charlie’s Bar personnel requested Martinez and a 24-year-old Sandusky man leave. However, Hipp said about 15 minutes later, while officers were assisting staff, the duo returned to the Benedict Avenue property.

“Then they started arguing and causing problems again,” Hipp said.

Martinez was charged with persistent disorderly conduct and underage consumption at the scene and transported to the Huron County Jail.

On Friday, grand jurors determined there was no indictment to be found for Martinez on inciting to violence, a third-degree felony.

In a separate indictment Friday, a Willard man is accused of being an impaired driver when causing serious harm to a male victim during an accident.

Brandon S. Hanson, 31, most recently of 113 Keefer St., was charged with one count each of aggravated vehicular assault, operating a vehicle under the influence and possession of heroin. All the charges are in connection with an Oct. 30 incident.

Hanson was driving a 1996 Chevrolet Trailblazer at the time, according to his indictment, which was filed Friday. If convicted of aggravated vehicular assault, he faces two to eight years in prison.

The defendant has been to prison for a weapons-related conviction through Huron County Common Pleas Court.

In May 2015, Judge Jim Conway sentenced Hanson to one year behind bars for receiving stolen property. Prosecutors agreed to dismiss one count each of burglary, theft of a firearm and receiving stolen property during an earlier plea hearing.

Hanson told the judge he didn’t know the guns that he and Willard resident Forrest J. Osborne Jr. sold to an undercover police officer were stolen. In April 2015, a jury convicted Osborne of one count each of theft of a firearm and possession of weapons while under disability plus two charges of receiving stolen property after about 75 minutes of deliberations. He received a five-year prison prison term.

“I am sorry for what happened. I didn’t know the guns were stolen. Maybe we should have called police,” said Hanson, was eligible for a prison sentence because he was on probation in various cases at the time.

The Willard Police Department investigation began July 25, 2014 when a burglary victim’s neighbor reported cigarette butts and the plastic lens from a flashlight were in his yard. A detective traced footsteps in matted-down grass to the victim’s home and determined there was forced entry through a window. The homeowner later reported the theft of several firearms.

Agents with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation processed the crime scene.

Other defendants who were indicted Friday are:

• Devon L. Payton, 27, most recently of 26 Spring St., Apt. C-8, Willard, on trafficking in marijuana and tampering with evidence, both in connection with a Nov. 30 incident. The marijuana-trafficking indictment indicates that if Payton is convicted, he might have to forfeit an Alcatel cell phone, “a cell phone in a black case,” a scale and $120 to the state.

• Jessica N. Pelfree, 24, most recently of 410 E. Walton St., Lot 63, Willard, on tampering with evidence and possession of cocaine, both in connection with a Dec. 3 incident.

• Sherrie L. Sullivan, 54, of Tiffin, on one count each of tampering with evidence, possession of cocaine and failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, all in connection with a Dec. 3 incident.

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