Attempted murder accomplice gets new trial date

Three area residents are charged in connection with the April 21 crowbar-related attack of a 19-year-old man.
Cary Ashby
Sep 17, 2013

At least two attempted murder accomplices want to have separate trials.

Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway said one of the co-defendants has indicated he doesn't want to have the cases consolidated and try them together.

Three Bellevue residents are charged in connection with the April 21 crowbar-related attack of 19-year-old Dayton-area resident Austin D. Thornton.

Connor C.D. Holbrook, 19, of 840 Kilbourne St., faces one count each of conspiracy, attempted murder and obstructing justice plus two charges of felonious assault. Holbrook earlier posted 10 percent of a $100,000 bond.

Holbrook's girlfriend, Brianna M. Boonie, 19, of 154 Hamilton St., Apt. 212, is charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit aggravated murder or murder and obstructing justice. Her new trial date is Dec. 3 with pre-trial hearings set for Sept. 24 and Nov. 26.

Boonie posted a $75,000 bond May 23 -- about four days after her arrest in court.

Tyler G. Smith, 19, is charged with one count each of conspiracy, attempted murder and tampering with evidence plus two charges of felonious assault. He remains in the Huron County Jail, unable to post a $500,000 bond.

Conway said the current plan is to have Smith and Holbrook tried together. The suspects' trial date is Oct. 8. The judge told Holbrook's defense attorney, Ed Rhode, to let the court know as soon as possible if he and his client decide to have a separate trial.

"It will last four days," Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said.

When asked Monday if there have been any plea negotiations with Smith's defense attorney, Tom Nicholson, Leffler said there were a couple of discussions earlier that day. Nicholson said he plans to file a motion about including "lesser included charges," but he added he doubted the judge could rule on it until the trial.

The victim, Thornton, first went to Willard Mercy Hospital. He then was transported to the neuro-intensive care unit of Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, where he was in critical condition for a period of time,

Thornton later went to a Dayton rehabilitation facility, but has since been released. He has had multiple brain surgeries. Huron County Prosecutor Russell Leffler said earlier that Willard Mercy officials gave Thornton an "80-percent chance ... of dying."

Smith's defense attorney has called the set of suspected circumstances a "mistake" and a "crime of passion." He equated the situation with a late 1950s prime-time soap opera.

Boonie "was present at the time of the beating" and reportedly came in contact with the crowbar as it was being discarded out a window of a vehicle that fled the scene, authorities said.

The suspects reportedly left the Peru Township crime scene and went southbound in a Ford Ranger. The pickup truck is being held as evidence at the Huron County Sheriff's Office. Leffler said it's possible the state might have jurors view the truck and the crime scene before the trials start.

Smith reportedly admitted throwing the crowbar "out of the window of his vehicle following the assault," Detective Bill Duncan wrote in the warrant.

About two hours after the assault, the trio of suspects were arrested at Boonie's apartment.