Sep. 26—LIMA — A sentence doled out Tuesday in Allen County Juvenile Court to a 16-year-old Lima girl marked the final chapter in a saga that scarred at least seven local families and left an entire community grasping for answers.
For the second time in as many weeks a young female who played a relatively minor role in the June 2022 shooting death of 17-year-old Lima resident Jaden Halpern learned her fate when Roselyn Thomas-Lewis was handed a minimum four-year commitment to the Ohio Department of Youth Services by Judge Todd Kohlrieser.
Brianna Patrick, who like Thomas-Lewis was 15 at the time of the incident, received an identical sentence in juvenile court last week.
Thomas-Lewis was the last of six defendants in the case to learn their fate. She admitted her role in the incident, then choked back tears and faced Halpern's family as they addressed the court prior to sentencing. That fact did not go unnoticed by Halpern's mother.
"Thank you for looking at us. That's very respectful. You have our respect," Halpern's mother told the young defendant.
"I wish you'd never have met (Bryanna) Houston," the woman said of the alleged ringleader in a series of events that landed six Lima teenagers at the family's door on the night of June 10, 2022.
Thomas-Lewis was one of the six teens who traveled to the West Lane Avenue residence with the intention of robbing Jaden Halpern of drugs, money or weapons. Two males in the group were carrying replica weapons and got to the threshold of the home when they were engaged by Halpern. David Halpern, Jaden's father, saw what he believed to be an assault rifle when he fired one shot. His son stepped in front of the bullet and was killed.
"I want you to be safe in there (DYS)," Jaden's mother told Thomas-Lewis. "I hope something good comes of Jaden's passing. We want you to grow strong, get married, have children. Take care of yourself, okay?"
Jaden Halpern's sister, Jenna, also voiced compassion toward the young girl.
"When I think of the people responsible for Jaden's death, I don't think of you," Jenna said."You were in the wrong place and you shouldn't have been there. I hope you can put this behind you and grow and become a better person."
Speaking to the family and the judge through tears, Thomas-Lewis offered her apologies.
"But an apology is not enough; it never will be. It will never bring back the life of Jaden. I take full responsibility for what I did. Jaden didn't deserve this. I should have had the voice to say what we were doing that night was wrong, but I didn't," the young girl said.
Last week Jaquan Glenn was the fourth of four teenagers who were tried as adults in connection with Halpern's death to be sentenced, receiving a minimum of 14 years in prison for his role in the incident after pleading guilty to an amended count of involuntary manslaughter.
Keion Darden, 19, was sentenced in June to a minimum of 23 years in prison. Houston, 18, will likewise spend 23 to 28 years in prison without the chance of early release. Khyrese Garner, 17, was sentenced earlier this month to 15 years to life in prison.
Houston and Garner have filed appeals in their cases.