ELYRIA — Two Lorain men have been indicted on charges of attempted aggravated murder in connection to the January shooting of a woman on Bender Road in North Ridgeville.
Christian Martinez, 20, of 22nd Street, and Jonathan Barnette, 21, of 19th Street, each were indicted on a count of attempted aggravated murder, attempted murder and two counts of felonious assault, according to a grand jury indictment released Friday.
Police said Martinez shot Jacqueline Dienes, 54, of Avon, at least five times, including one shot that struck her in the throat, on Jan. 4. Dienes was on her lunch break from her temporary job at Invacare and was smoking a cigarette in her vehicle at the time of the shooting, police have said.
Police don’t believe there was a connection between Dienes and Martinez, and that the shooting was random.
Martinez and Barnette were on their lunch break from Multilink, with Barnette driving an SUV borrowed from a coworker with a plan to smoke marijuana, police said. The two didn’t have a lighter, so Martinez told Barnette to pull over so he could ask Dienes for one.
Barnette told police he wasn’t paying attention to what Martinez was doing, heard some sounds that sounded like “crunching snow” and then Martinez returned to the Jeep about 20 seconds later stating, “I just shot them.”
When Barnette asked why, Martinez said, “I don’t know,” police have said.
Barnette told police he didn’t know Martinez had a gun on him until after the shooting occurred.
Lorain County Prosecutor Dennis Will said both Martinez and Barnette were indicted on the same charges, but Burnette will considered to be complicit or a conspirator.
“In the state of Ohio, if you are the primary offender, you can be charged with the underlying offense, which in this case is attempted murder and felonious assault,” Will said. “If you are a complicitor or a conspirator, or acted in concert with that person, you could either be charged with complicity to attempted murder and complicity to felonious assault or you can just be charged with the underlying crime and then it’s portrayed to the jury that you’re a complicitor or a conspirator.
“It really doesn’t make a difference, but when you argue this in court, and when you give jury instructions, the jury instructions have to be specific that you’re considering him a complicitor — that he acted in concert with, aided or abetted — or that he is a conspirator — that he engaged in conspiracy to commit the offense.”
Will said his office doesn’t believe Barnette’s story that he wasn’t aware Martinez was going to shoot Dienes.
“Mere presence is not enough to charge someone with complicity,” Will said. “There has to be evidence that indicates that he was part of the common scheme or plan — that he knew he was going to shoot them when he drove them there. He can be saying one thing, but obviously there must be evidence to the contrary or we wouldn’t be where we’re at right now.”