‘Lapses in Protocol and Judgment” Lead To Release of Kirkersville Shooter

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NEWARK, Ohio (AP) – An Ohio court says lapses in protocol and judgment led to a domestic violence suspect being released early from jail weeks before he killed his alleged assault victim, a police chief and a third person.

Forty-three-year-old Thomas Hartless killed himself after the fatal shootings last week at a nursing home in Kirkersville, about 25 miles east of Columbus.

Hartless was freed in April after his latest domestic violence case. Licking County Municipal Court’s probation department reviewed how his case was handled and is changing procedures after finding errors were made. Those included a lack of checks and balances in the early-release process.

The Advocate in Newark reports Hartless wasn’t supposed to have weapons, but a probation officer never checked his home, where authorities later found over 60 guns.