Murder charges unsealed in Niles shooting

Niles Burglary Indictments

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Two people involved in the planned home invasion in Niles that left one of the suspected burglars dead from the resident’s shotgun blast were indicted Thursday on murder charges.

Michael Burns, 33, and Mindy Sierra, 32, both of Mineral Ridge, were charged Thursday via a secret indictment with murder and a less serious option of involuntary manslaughter, and attempted aggravated burglary.

They are being held in the Trumbull County Jail on $500,000 bond after they pleaded not guilty to the charges in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

Authorities asked for two others believed to be involved in the plot— Nicole Allen, 32, and Scott Crislip 18— to turn themselves in on charges.

Crislip turned himself in to authorities Thursday afternoon.

Both were charged with burglary in Niles Municipal Court and released after posting bond. Secret indictments typically remained sealed until those charged are in custody.

Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins on Wednesday decided against pursuing charges against homeowner Roy Hahn, of 1539 Niles Cortland Road. Hahn fatally shot Terry D. Allen, 36, of Mineral Ridge while he and the other four conspired and tried to break into his home to steal copper, according to Watkins.

Watkins, in a written opinion, said Hahn followed the Castle Doctrine, which allows for the use of deadly force to “repel an ongoing violent use of force.”

That law also allows for those conspiring with someone who was killed during the crime to be charged with murder.

Investigators found Allen dead with a crowbar in his latex-gloved hand wearing camouflage.

Hahn, Watkins’ opinion says, fired a shotgun through the door. The bullet ripped through Allen’s chest and struck Burns in the arm, investigators found.

The five, investigators believe, conspired to break into several homes July 12 and steal copper. They drove that night from the Days Inn on Youngstown-Warren Road in Niles after meeting to discuss plans, according to Watkins.

Burns told investigators they first went to 1543 Niles Cortland Road, used a crowbar to break into the home and realized someone already had stripped the building of copper.

Burns said they went to Hahn’s home and Allen tried to pry the side door open. Hahn, who fell asleep at about 9:30 p.m., awoke to sounds of people breaking into his home about three hours later.

He told investigators he heard at least three people trying to break into his home, grabbed his 16-gauge single-shot shotgun still loaded from last deer hunting season and heard someone prying at his door. He then heard the group go to his front door.

Hahn, investigators said, fired the single shot through the front door that struck Allen and Burns. Hahn called 911, told dispatchers he thought he shot intruders, cooperated with investigators and consented to them searching his home, Watkins said.

Burns and Crislip fled. Nicole Allen, Terry Allen’s wife, told detectives she dropped her husband and Burns off in the area to steal copper, according to Watkins.

Sierra told police she was at the meeting where they discussed stealing copper, Watkins wrote in his opinion. She said they dropped the two off and went for coffee while waiting for them to call for a ride after they were done stealing copper.

The Allens left their four minor children home alone while they left to steal copper, the opinion says.

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