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Murder suspect's mom arrested

Scott Seitz • Jul 31, 2015 at 9:43 PM

WILLARD — A second person was arrested in the case involving the shooting death of a Willard woman Tuesday night.

Linda Ciotto, 62, of 4340 Kirkwood Drive, was shot in the head, allegedly by her neighbor, James H. Blair, 50, of 4328 Kirkwood Drive, while she was mowing the lawn about 9 p.m.

Blair was arrested by Huron County sheriff’s deputies about 5 a.m. Wednesday after refusing to come out of his home for about six hours. Blair was ultimately forced from the house when officers fired tear gas into the residence.

Blair has been charged with murder and is in custody at the county jail. His bond has been set at $1 million.

On Thursday, Sheriff Dane Howard arrested Blair’s mother, Billie Hinkle, 73, on the charge of tampering with evidence.

“Billie Hinkle was charged with tampering with evidence for carrying the murder weapon away from the scene and placing it at another location,” Huron County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ted Patrick said.

Patrick said the weapon Hinkle allegedly hid was a .38 revolver.

“There was a .38 caliber bullet found in the victim’s body,” Patrick said. “All indications are this is the murder weapon and she had it with her.”

Hinkle is in custody at the Huron County Jail.

“Sheriff Howard arrested her, himself,” Patrick said.

The sheriff explained what led to the arrest of Hinkle.

“We had analyzed her initial statements and they just didn’t make sense,” Howard said.

Howard then sent Detective Kayla Zander and agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigation to a Church Street location in Willard where Hinkle was staying.

“During the conversation, Detective Zander was able to determine the weapon was in a bag she carried from the scene and then she lied about it,” Howard said.

“She said she didn’t know how the gun got into the bag, but that was untruthful,” the sheriff said.

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