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Published: Friday, 1/27/2006

5 are indicted after death of alleged crime partner

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Five men whose alleged accomplice was shot and killed when they exchanged gunfire with the occupants of a home they were allegedly attempting to rob of drugs and money were charged yesterday in the man's death, authorities said.

A Lucas County grand jury handed up indictments in the Jan. 20 fatal shooting of John Reece, Jr., 29, and the break-in and robbery at a residence in Springfield Township where Reece and another man were shot.

Jose J. Hernandez, 24, of 453 1/2 Walden Ave.; Brandon Klein, 24, of 1021 Ontario St.; Michael Madrid, 24, of 6500 Cornwall Court, Sylvania; Brian Hartford, 31, of 452 Walden; and William Klink, 25, of 1950 Ashcroft Drive, were indicted on one count each of involuntary manslaughter, aggravated robbery, and aggravated burglary.

Reece, of 871 Colburn St., and Mr. Klein were shot when they and the four other defendants entered a house at 8965 Old Airport Hwy. with the intention, authorities said, of robbing the occupants of drugs and money.

County sheriff's detectives said the intruders confronted Josh Bennett, 21, and his girlfriend, Jody Lnu, pointing a gun and firing two shots, one of which went through the front window.

Detectives said Mr. Bennett grabbed a 357-caliber handgun and returned fire, hitting Reece in the back and Mr. Klein, who was struck in the buttocks and thigh.

They and the others fled the home, and one of them took Reece to the Medical University of Ohio Medical Center, where he died seven hours later. Mr. Klein went to a business at 8825 Old Airport, and was later taken to MUO Medical Center after one of his friends called 911.

John Weglian, head of the special units division of the county prosecutor's office, said the involuntary manslaughter charges stem from defendants' culpability in entering the home to commit a crime and the likelihood one of them could get shot.

Investigators followed a trail of blood from 8825 Old Airport to the house where the shooting occurred and later obtained a search warrant to enter the residence. They seized more than 100 marijuana plants, lights and power supplies, and three firearms.

Mr. Weglian said evidence will likely be presented to a grand jury seeking an indictment for the drug cultivation.

He said a decision hasn't been made whether to seek charges against Mr. Bennett for the shootings.

"I think it is highly unlikely that a grand jury would indict someone for shooting someone in their own house, especially after someone shoots at them," Mr. Weglian said.

However, Reece's father, John Reece, said he believes the person responsible for firing the gun that killed his son should be charged.

"In my opinion, he was in the wrong, too," he said.

Mr. Hernandez was being held last night in the county jail in lieu of $350,000 bond. Mr. Klein and Mr. Madrid were each being held in lieu of $250,000.

Mr. Hartford and Mr. Klink were not in custody.

Reece, the father of two girls - ages 7 and 9, was sentenced in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to three years in prison in 2001 on a conviction for failure to comply with the signal of a police officer.

Contact Mark Reiter at:

markreiter@theblade.com

or 419-213-2134.



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