Lynch is granted an early release

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — One of the men convicted in a fatal November 2015 shooting at the Jaycee Manor Apartments in Martins Ferry was granted early release Monday.

Jacob Aaron Lynch, 28, of McMechen, appeared before Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato on Monday. He had received his three-year sentence in November 2016 for a burglary charge in connection with the shooting death of 21-year-old Gregg Thompson.

During Monday’s hearing, Lynch expressed remorse for the crime, adding that his experience in prison was one he would not forget. During his

sentencing last year, his defense attorney pointed out Lynch’s largely clean record. Lynch also had said he was unaware that a gun was present prior to the

confrontation that led to Thompson’s death.

Lynch will be transferred to the Eastern Ohio Correction Center for six months before his release.

Thompson was at his girlfriend’s residence in Martins Ferry when the six co-defendants drove there to confront Thompson. The dispute began when one of the defendants took offense to a social media post by Thompson.

Co-defendant Tyler Duffy was granted early release in March, having been convicted of burglary and involuntary manslaughter.

Fregiato said one factor that weighed heavily in his decision to release Lynch was input from the victim’s family.

“It’s my understanding that the family of the victim does not feel that this individual was involved in the (shooting) at all. That’s the crucial determining factor with me. It’s not the sole factor, but it’s absolutely crucial that the family members believe that this defendant was not involved, which makes this similar to the Tyler Duffy case.

Until that position of the family members was set forth, it was not at all similar to the Duffy case in this court’s opinion,” Fregiato said.

The judge also commended the presence of and support shown by Lynch’s family.

“You’ve got a full family’s support. You let them down big-time,” Fregiato told Lynch. “Now’s the time to make amends to them.”

Darrondres Dunn, 19, of Wheeling, the man who fired the fatal shot, was sentenced to a 20-year term for voluntary manslaughter.

Brothers Antonio Jones, 28, of Martins Ferry and Roderick Lee Jones, 23, of Benwood each pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. Antonio Jones was sentenced to 10 years in prison, while Roderick Jones received the maximum sentence of 11 years with one year for a gun specification, for a total of 12 years.

The sixth co-defendant was a juvenile.