Justin Pennington

Justin Pennington. Image provided by the Athens County Sheriff’s Office.

Justin Pennington, 35, of Guysville, was ordered to be held in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail under a $1 million bond Wednesday in Athens County Common Pleas Court after being indicted Monday for murder and several other felonies.

Pennington is accused in the June 13 death of Blaine Sharpe, 59, of Guysville, and was indicted on charges of murder; involuntary manslaughter, a first-degree felony; four counts of felonious assault, second-degree felonies; and breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony.

Pennington pleaded not guilty to each count.

The murder, involuntary manslaughter, burglary, breaking and entering, and one of the felonious assault charges alleges that on the evening of June 13, Pennington reportedly went to Sharpe’s residence near Shade in Lodi Twp. and assaulted him on the front porch.

Sharpe was reportedly unresponsive when paramedics arrived and died a few hours later from a medical issue stemming from Pennington’s alleged actions, according to a release by the Athens County Prosecutor's Office.

A report from the Athens County Sheriff’s Office states that Pennington then walked to Sharpe’s daughter’s home and informed her that he “just beat the pulp out of her father, he is laying on the porch and she better go check on him."

Two other felonious assault charges allege that less than an hour later, Athens County 911 received a call from Fossil Rock Road that alleged Pennington assaulted two women, Heather Irwin and Nia Robinson, with an aluminum baseball bat and that Pennington fled into the woods, the press release stated.

Law enforcement with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Athens Police Department and Athens County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene. Within minutes of learning of Sharpe’s death, law enforcement located Pennington and took him into custody.

The final felonious assault charge alleges Pennington attacked Larry Paul Robinson in August 2018. At the time, Robinson refused to cooperate with the investigation.

The Prosecutor’s Office has also filed a notice of violation of community control against Pennington. He faces an underlying sentence of 59 months in prison from convictions that include multiple charges of receiving stolen property and identity fraud, according to a press release.

During the June 23 court hearing, First Assistant Prosecutor Meg Saunders asserted that Pennington is a public safety risk and flight risk as he already fled from law enforcement after the incidents. She argued that "Pennington has shown no remorse of the events and that prosecution has strong evidence for a conviction in arguing for the high bond," the press release stated.

Judge Patrick Lang ordered the $1 million bond without 10 percent posting allowed. He also ordered Pennington have no contact with the victim’s family nor the other reported victims in the case.

Pennington is being held in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail, the Prosecutor's Office stated.

A pretrial has been set for July 29 and a jury trial is scheduled for Sept. 21.

Pennington was previously charged with impersonating a police officer, among other charges, in 2018 at the Athens Walmart after allegedly impersonating a police officer while carrying a BB gun.

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