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Austin Curtis Formally Charged With Murder
Updated March 4, 2014 6:59 PM | Filed under: Crime
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(BEDFORD) - Austin Curtis, dressed in an orange jumpsuit and shackled, appeared before Superior Court II Judge William Sleva Tuesday moring for his initial hearing.

Judge Sleva read the charges:

Count I Murder - that Curtis did knowingly kill 43-year-old Rodney Allender.

If found guilty 18-year-old Curtis could serve an advisory sentence of 55 years, a minimum sentence of 45 years and a maximum sentence of 65 years in prison and fined up to $10,000.

Count 2: Robbery causing serious bodily injury. That Curtis did knowingly rob and seriously injured Allender. If found guilty, Curtis could face an advisory sentence of 30 years, a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 50 years and fined up to $10,000.

Judge Sleva asked Curtis if he was going to hire an attorney and Curtis responded "yes". Sleva advised him to do that within the next 20 days. If for some reason Curtis cannot hire an attorney one will be appointed to represent him.

While tears rolled down Curtis' parents face, Judge Sleva entered a not guilty plea for Curtis.

Prosecutor Michelle Woodward asked that Curtis be held without bond. Judge Sleva agreed.

Curtis was then taken from the courtroom, but not before his father yelled "love you son."

Also charged in the crime are 19-year-old Taylor Flynn and 16-year-old Dillon Hicks, both of Bedford. They are currently being held in the Lawrence County, Ohio Jail and an Ohio juvenile detention center waiting extradition back to Bedford.

According to a probable cause affidavit, on Thursday February, 27 officer of the Lawrence County Police Department were called to a home at 1758 Dutch Ridge Road after Clinton Allender and his girlfriend arrived at the home to find Rodney Allender murdered.

Rodney was found in his garage lying on his side with a severe head injury. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to detectives, the scene showed signs of a struggle. Allender's hands and feet were bound with duct tape and string. Police also found a large amount of blood away from Allender's body just inside the garage door and another large pool of blood with shoe prints in it, with distinctive sole patterns.

Officers found Allender's home in disarray. The home had been ransacked, with furniture overturned, a door ripped off the hinges, a desk emptied and papers thrown around. Police found two safes open and emptied.

Police noted there was blood throughout the home.

An autopsy was performed on Friday, February, 28. According to the probable cause affidavit, Allender suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and suffered multiple injuries to his head, chest, stomach and left arm. Dr. James Jacobi determined Allender died of blunt force trauma.

On Friday afternoon, officers received information from a juvenile that he and another juvenile had lunch with Dillon Hicks in the lunch room at Bedford North Lawrence High School. During a discussion, Hicks had asked the two juveniles if they knew anything about Rodney Allender's son. The two juveniles thought that was "odd" because Hicks was not friends with Allender's son.

Officers then questioned several other juveniles at the high school and learned that Hicks had asked several of the teens about Allender's son. Several of the teens also reported that Hicks, Curtis and Flynn had been hanging out together.

Another juvenile reported that a week before the murder, Hicks had tried to recruit them to "go rob a guy that lives off Ind. 446." Hicks told the teen "the man was old, lived alone and had no neighbors."

The same teen talked to Hicks on the phone on Thursday night and Hicks told the teen that he "prayed to God the guy's not dead" and that Taylor Flynn allegedly "shot the guy in the leg and that they had beat him and got away with guns and cash."

Detective Troy Lobosky located Austin Curtis and asked him to come to the police station for questioning. Curtis agreed. Curtis was advised of his rights and then turned over his cell phone. Curtis consented to allow officers to search his phone. There they saw several missed calls from Dillon Hicks.

Curtis admitted to being with Hicks and Flynn on Wednesday, February, 26 and then on Thursday, February, 27 and that they were "cruising for hours," but denied being in the Heltonville area.

In the meantime, Detective Phil Wigley was interviewing other witnesses. A juvenile told police that Flynn, Hicks and a third person had came to his home Thursday around 6:30 a.m. The three told the juvenile that they "had robbed some big guy who lived out in the middle of nowhere." Flynn told the juvenile that he had dressed up like a girl and walked up to the house and asked to use the phone, while Curtis and Hicks waited outside. Both Curtis and Hicks had wore masks.

Flynn then told the juvenile that "he shot the man in the upper leg with a gun and then used a taser on the guy." Hicks told the juvenile that Curtis then hit the guy in the head about 10 times with a composite baseball bat. Flynn and Hicks then told the juvenile that they along with Curtis beat Allender until he gave them the combination to his gun safe. Flynn told the juvenile they then took the money and guns from the safe.

In the meantime, Detective Lobosky requested Austin's permission to examine the bottom of his shoes. Those shoes matched the prints left at the crime scene. Lobosky requested a warrant and then took the shoes into evidence. Officers also found blood on the soles and laces of the shoes.

Curtis was placed under arrest and read his rights.

Curtis told police that someone had told the teen that Allender had a large sum of money at his home and that he, Flynn and Hicks had checked out the home several times. He told police that on that Thursday morning Flynn had dressed up as a girl and had knocked on Allender's door and when he answered requested to use the phone. Then Flynn shot Allender in the leg. That is when he and Hicks came from around the corner and entered the home. Curtis told police he had grabbed a broom stick and there was a struggle. Curtis told police he hit Allender in the leg with a bat and that Hicks had hit Allender in the face with an air soft gun. Curtis told police that he held Allender's arms back while Hicks tied him up with duct tape.

Curtis says Allender eventually gave the teens the combination to the safe. The teens took the money and gun and fled.

Curtis told police that all three had wore gloves and had thrown them along Ind. 446. Officers recovered those gloves. Officers also found the purple and black bandanna that Curtis wore and the black ski mask that Hicks wore during the attack in the woods near Allender's home.

Flynn and Dillon Hicks were captured Saturday afternoon in Ironton, Ohio after vehicle and foot pursuit.

Ironton is located in Lawrence County, Ohio, along the Ohio River near the intersection of the Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia state boarders.

According to Ironton Police Chief Dan Johnson, an officer remembered seeing the white 1995 Chevrolet Beretta during his patrols.

Chief Johnson says Flynn and Hicks fled, leading police on a car chase through parts of the city and into a residential area, where officers stopped the pursuit after the Barretta almost hit several children.

Officers lost sight of the vehicle, but soon found it again. The teens stopped the car and then fled on foot and police found them hiding in the back of a van.



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