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All four people authorities believe were involved in a planned home invasion in Niles that left a fifth person dead from the resident’s shotgun blast have now been indicted on murder charges.
Nicole Allen, 32, turned herself in to authorities on Friday to face charges of murder and a less serious option of involuntary manslaughter, and attempted aggravated burglary.
Allen’s husband, Terry D. Allen, 36, was fatally shot by the resident whose home he and four others conspired to break into to steal copper.
Another man, Scott Crislip, 18, turned himself in late Thursday on the same charges. Both pleaded not guilty to charges and were jailed on $500,000 bond at their arraignment Friday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.
Defense attorneys asked for a lower bond arguing that Crislip had no prior criminal history and Nicole Allen was concerned about leaving her four children at home.
The judge denied the request.
“Obviously she didn’t feel too concerned about her children when she was out at 12:30 in the morning with her and her husband committing burglaries and breaking into homes,” said assistant Trumbull County prosecutor Chris Becker. “She had no concern about them that night. The only reason she has concern about them now is she faces the prospect of jail in lieu of bond.”
Crislip’s father, Eric Crislip, said his son was trying to leave the group when the burglary took place.
“He said when they came up to the house, he said ‘Look this house does not look abandoned,’” Eric Crislip said of his son. “He said, ‘I’m leaving,’ and started to leave. I don’t know what took place after that but Scotty said he heard a shot go off and he took off. So that’s as much as I know.”
The other two allegedly involved— Michael Burns, 33, and Mindy Sierra, 32— are being held in the Trumbull County Jail on $500,000 bond after they pleaded not guilty to identical charges.
Trumbull County Prosecutor Dennis Watkins on Wednesday decided against pursuing charges against homeowner Roy Hahn, of 1539 Niles Cortland Road.
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.