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Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Local cocaine dealer linked to quadruple fatality sent to prison

By Margie Wuebker
Staush Homan sat with bowed head as Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Jeffrey Ingraham sentenced him to nine years in prison for his role in a March 2008 traffic accident that claimed the lives of four Marion Local High School graduates. Others in the courtroom wept during the Wednesday morning proceeding.
The parents of Jordan Moeller, Jordan Diller, Jordan Goettemoeller and Bradley Roeckner requested a sentence that would send a clear message to other drug dealers - such activity will not be tolerated in Mercer County.
The 23-year-old Homan, who formerly resided at 582 N. Eastern Ave., St. Henry, pleaded no contest Feb. 18 to four counts of reckless homicide, all third-degree felonies, and two counts of trafficking in drugs, both fourth-degree felonies. He reportedly sold cocaine to Nicholas Schwieterman, who is now serving time in prison, the night Schwieterman ran a stop sign and hit the car carrying the four teens who were killed at the scene.
Homan also sold cocaine to an undercover officer two weeks later. Both drug transactions took place in Coldwater within 1,000 feet of a school.
The judge ordered a two-year prison sentence on each of the four reckless homicide charges, to be served consecutively, and one year for selling cocaine to Schwieterman, to run concurrently. The additional one-year sentence stemming from the second drug transaction will be served after completion of the other terms for a total of nine years. Homan received credit for the 344 days already served in the Mercer County Jail. His operator's license was suspended for three years on each of the trafficking charges with the suspensions running concurrently.
Prior to the sentencing, many of the victims parents spoke.
"From what I see in the papers and at the courthouse, it doesn't look like you have gotten the point across to the drug users/sellers that Mercer County is not going to stand for this kind of action," Sue Roeckner told Ingraham. "So just maybe you need to use this case as an example. It is time you put as much pressure on the drug sellers/users as you have and continue to do to the drivers who are drinking alcohol."
Lisa Goettemoeller issued a similar plea.
"Staush Homan is a big part of the loss of our son and the grief that we have experienced this past year," she said. "I'm sure that when he was selling drugs he never thought about the damage it would cause or the tragic loss of lives that have affected so many people."
Goettemoeller paused briefly to regain composure before adding, "Please send a message to the people who use, abuse and sell drugs that Mercer County will prosecute them to the maximum allowed by law starting with Staush Homan."
Homan faced the grieving families, who marked the first anniversary of their sons' deaths on Sunday with a Mass and a balloon launch at the accident site, and read from a hand-written page.
"Lives have been changed forever ... there are not enough apologies to change that," he said. "There is not a day I have not thought about the lives of those four boys. I have found faith in the Lord. I am a good person who made bad decisions."
Defense attorney William Kluge said Homan has accepted full responsibility for his actions and made a complete admission to authorities regarding his involvement.
Kluge then mentioned numerous inquiries from people wondering why no one has been charged for selling alcohol and marijuana to Schwieterman. Blood and urine tests indicated the former Chickasaw man was under the influence of alcohol, cocaine and marijuana when he ran a stop sign at the intersection of Brockman Road and County Road 716A.
Kluge alluded to the possible filing of a writ of mandamus that would force the prosecutor's office to look into the matter.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecutor Matt Fox called the tactic "a red herring," stating authorities had put together cases resulting in the indictments of Homan and Schwieterman. He welcomed the threatened filing, saying the office also would prosecute the person who supplied cocaine to Homan if that was possible.
As part of a negotiated agreement, the state dismissed four counts of involuntary manslaughter, all first-degree felonies, and agreed not to argue for more than 10 years in prison. The parents of the four victims reportedly agreed to the action.
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