Judge: Mistakes made in Kirkersville killer's release

Licking County Municipal Court Judge Michael Higgins on Tuesday said mistakes were made in how Tommy Hartless was released from jail early, allowing him to be in Kirkersville last week and kill three people.

Higgins made the admission to The Advocate's news partner 10TV.

He said when he realized that he had signed the judicial release for Hartless, he said out loud, "How could this have happened?"

After being found guilty of three misdemeanor charges of domestic violence in March, Higgins sentenced Hartless to 90 days in jail. Less than three weeks later, Higgins signed an order suspending the remainder of Hartless' sentence and releasing him from police custody on April 11.

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No explanation is provided in court records as to why Hartless had his sentence suspended. Medrano did plead for leniency, according to a March letter.

The Advocate reported on Monday that Higgins will conduct an internal investigation into how Hartless was released.

He told 10TV the results of the investigation into the case will be made public.

He promises it won't be a whitewash - he said, "Mistakes were made over here," and "it's important for the families and the public to understand what happened."

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