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Published: Friday, 1/17/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago

Erie County prosecutor will not seek charges in death of Napoleon man, which was ruled a homicide


SANDUSKY -- Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter will not seek charges in the death of a Napoleon man whose death was ruled a homicide due to a seizure disorder triggered by an assault that occurred more than two years before he died.

Austin Carr, 22, of Napoleon died July 20, 2013, at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. The Lucas County Coroner’s Office ruled his death a homicide in December, saying he developed a seizure disorder after he suffered blunt force trauma to the head.

Jesse Likes, 24, of Sandusky pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault in 2012 after he was charged for attacking Mr. Carr in March, 2011.

Mr. Baxter this week researched the case and today said double jeopardy protects Likes from being brought up on a higher charge such as manslaughter.

He said the Ohio Supreme Court in a 1993 case found that in such cases the state must have reserved the right to bring higher charges as part of the negotiated plea deal. He said the deal with Likes contained no such language because “there was no indication” at that time that Mr. Carr would die from the injuries sustained.

Mr. Baxter said prosecutors agreed to the assault deal because they could not locate Mr. Carr to testify.

Witnesses of the assault told police Mr. Carr struck Likes first, which also could pose a problem for prosecutors if they brought another charge since Mr. Carr is not alive to testify, Mr. Baxter said.

“I don’t anticipate us moving forward on this case,” he said.

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