Two offers on the table in Halpern murder case

Aug. 22—LIMA — Khyrese Garner, one of six Lima teenagers charged with murder in the June 2022 shooting death of 17-year-old Lima resident Jaden Halpern, has two plea offers on the table as potential resolutions to his legal woes.

Garner was transported from a state juvenile detention center to Allen County Common Pleas Court on Tuesday for a pre-trial hearing, during which Assistant County Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Thines placed two plea deals on the official record.

One offer was identical to one made by the state in June. That potential resolution calls for Garner to plead guilty to a single count of murder in exchange for the dismissal of two aggravated burglary counts and all specifications. In exchange for that plea, prosecutors have agreed to recommend a prison sentence of 23 years.

A new proposal extended by Thines on Tuesday calls for Garner to plead no contest to the murder charge in exchange for an automatic prison sentence of 15 years to life, with the state department of corrections to determine his ultimate release date. All other counts and specifications would be dismissed.

Garner, now 18, was a juvenile at the time of Halpern's death. He has until Aug. 31 to accept or decline the state's offers. A third option is taking his case before a jury, with a trial already scheduled to begin Sept. 18.

Bryanna Houston, Brianna Patrick and Roselyn Thomas-Lewis, also minors at the time of the shooting, were charged in connection with Halpern's death. Houston and Garner had their cases bound over from juvenile court to stand trial as adults.

Co-defendants Keion Darden and Jaquan Glenn were 18 years old at the time of the incident and were charged as adults with murder following indictments handed down by the grand jury.

Patrick and Thomas-Lewis were designated as serious youthful offenders and their cases remained in the juvenile court system.

Houston, now 18, was sentenced to 23 years in prison on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. She was described by prosecutors as the "link" between the victim and the other defendants who intended to rob Halpern. When attempts to lure Halpern outside his home failed, a male from the group pushed his way inside "and that's when a shot rang out," prosecutors said at Houston's sentencing.

Lima Police Department detective Steve Stechschulte previously testified that when David Halpern, Jaden's father, saw what he believed to be an assault rifle he fired one shot. His son stepped in front of the bullet and was struck in the back.

Darden, 19, pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and aggravated robbery. He was sentenced to at least 23 years behind bars.

Glenn is slated to stand trial starting Sept. 25.