Tuesday, November 6th, 2007
Details released on shooting death in Auglaize County
By Shelley Grieshop
The body of a 23-year-old Lima man shot and killed early Friday morning at a farmhouse near Kossuth was found in the backseat of a car with a bullet wound to the head.
Auglaize County Coroner Dr. Thomas Freytag described the scene as "dark and cold" after being summoned to the 85-acre property along state Route 197, following the deadly shooting of Daniel R. King at 4:20 a.m.
"He died from a single gunshot wound to the head," Freytag said, after reviewing preliminary autopsy information received this week.
Freytag said the car's doors were open and King was lying inside when law enforcement arrived. He said it would be at least a month before investigators would know whether King was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of his death.
Matthew D. Pennington, 21, of Spencerville, has been charged with King's death. He reportedly was arrested at the scene and charged with involuntary manslaughter, a third-degree felony, and aggravated menacing, a first-degree misdemeanor. He is being held in the Auglaize County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
Pennington appeared in Auglaize County Municipal Court on Monday with court-appointed attorney Mark Weller and waived his right to a preliminary hearing set for Friday in the lower court. His case has been bound over to common pleas court due to the serious nature of the charges. No other hearings have been set.
The case likely will be presented to a grand jury for indictment.
Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon said a group of young adults had congregated on the rural property when another group of young adults arrived and an altercation occurred. Detectives refuse to say how many people were at the home when the shooting took place.
Louise C. Zimmerman is listed as trustee of the rental property at 4166 state Route 197, north of state Route 66. Richard Zimmerman of Spencerville is named as owner, according to the Auglaize County Auditor's Office. The name of the current renter(s) was not released by law enforcement.
Although some residents in the northwest region of Auglaize County referred to the home as a drug house, the incident currently is not being investigated as a "drug deal gone wrong," according to Detective Sgt. Jerry Sawmiller of the sheriff's department.
Investigators remain tight-lipped about the case and will not discuss why Pennington was not charged with murder, a more serious first-degree felony.
Sawmiller said the current charges against Pennington are based on information obtained so far and statements made by witnesses.
"Those charges could change as more information is gathered," he added.