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Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

Inmate makes break for it

By Margie Wuebker
Screams shattered the otherwise quiet rotunda of the Mercer County Courthouse on Monday afternoon as a shackled prisoner broke loose from authorities and lunged toward the third-floor railing.
Adam M. Hanna, 24, 8716 Hellwarth Road, Celina, created mayhem just outside Mercer County Common Pleas Court.
Witnesses stared incredulously as Mercer County Sheriff's deputies Dan Adams and Lance Crum pulled Hanna from the railing and wrestled him to the floor.
"I thought for sure he was going to jump," said Daniel Dirksen of Celina. "That's a long way to fall."
An unidentified courthouse employee shook her head and commented about the unusual activity. "Nothing like this has happened in the last decade," the woman added.
Hanna, who faces one count of domestic violence, had been escorted from the Mercer County Jail earlier for a scheduled pretrial hearing. He bided his time between by talking with a brother and resting his head on the polished defense table.
He looked up and raised his eyebrows as the courtroom door opened and sheriff's detectives Pat Elking and Chris Hamberg entered.
"Are you here for me?" Hanna asked suspiciously. He muttered when told they had come for other cases on the court docket.
No action was taken following the closed-door session between Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox and Hanna's court-appointed attorney Donna Post. He continued to mutter while being led from the courtroom.
The detectives assisted deputies in carrying Hanna to the elevator after he refused to get up and walk to the conveyance. He ultimately was carried from the courthouse and across Livingston Street to the jail, where he continued to cause problems, according to chief deputy Gery Thobe.
He initially pounded his head on the cement floor as corrections officers prepared a restraint chair set up in the sallyport or garage area.
Later, Hanna attempted to pull a staple from a forehead wound suffered over the weekend. He reportedly told authorities he passed out and struck his head resulting in a laceration.
Following emergency treatment at Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater, he returned to the jail and the restraint chair. In addition to belts across the chest and legs, officers added cuff restraints to keep him from pulling at the wound as well as cuts about the wrists.
Although his movements are limited, the inmate continues to be quite vocal, according to Thobe.
Hanna allegedly cut his wrists using a razor blade peeled from a razor prior to another court appearance. Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey explained inmates are permitted to shave in preparation for their trip before the judge.
A corrections officer detected the missing blade while retrieving the razor. Hanna told authorities he had flushed the blade down the toilet and the court appearance was cancelled for security reasons even though a thorough search of the cell turned up nothing.
The Celina man received hospital treatment three times during a period of June 30 through July 1. Wrist cuts were treated initially with glue and later staples after he allegedly peeled away the adhesive.
Each time authorities searched the cell without success. During the third visit on July 1, authorities armed with a search warrant explained the procedure for checking body cavities.
Grey said Hanna pulled the blade from his mouth at that point. He had apparently hidden it in a recess between the cheek and lower gumline.
Hanna, who continues to receive counseling from Foundations Behavorial Health Care personnel, has a history of causing problems at the jail since his May 5 arrest. There have been fights, repeated outcries, pounding on cell doors and an alleged suicide attempt by hanging.
His actions apparently bother other inmates who have offered to settle the problem through one-on-one interaction with Hanna.
The Celina man is scheduled to return to court July 21 for another pretrial hearing.
Hanna, who has prior convictions for domestic violence faces the possibility of up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
The Mercer County Prosecutor's Office is also reviewing the possibility of additional charges stemming from his conduct.
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In a surprise move, Coldwater's fire department will relocate to the village's industrial park rather than undergo a proposed 2,000-square-foot expansion and renovation at the present firehouse on West Main Street. [More]
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