Saturday, October 9th, 2021

Knapke pleads guilty to voluntary manslaughter

Sentencing set Nov. 17; 2 others already convicted

By Sydney Albert
PORTLAND, Ind. - A Fort Recovery native charged in connection with the death of 31-year-old Shea Briar of Portland, Indiana, has pleaded guilty to an amended charge of voluntary manslaughter, a second-degree felony.
Hannah Knapke, 20, originally had pleaded not guilty to unclassified felony murder for her role in Briar's death on Jan. 12, 2020, a case in which two other women have already been convicted.
Knapke agreed to change her plea to guilty to the lesser charge as part of a negotiated plea agreement.
Jay County Prosecutor Wes Schemenaur said Knapke's defense attorney approached his office to discuss a possible plea bargain and Schemenaur said he felt obligated to share the proposal with Briar's family.
Schemenaur said after the second jury trial, he thought the family felt ready to put the events of the day when Briar was killed behind them and were willing to support a lesser charge.
Former Fort Recovery Local Schools girls softball coach Esther Stephen and assistant coach Shelby Hiestand both were sentenced to 55 years in prison earlier this year after juries found them guilty of Briar's murder.
Knapke is a former Fort Recovery High School student and softball player who'd known both Hiestand and Knapke.
Both Hiestand and Stephen had reported using Knapke's vehicle to transport Briar to the bridge on which he was killed because their own vehicles would have been too noticeable. Knapke reportedly was in the vehicle with them when Briar was shot.
A motorist found Briar shot but alive on County Road 125 West at about 2 a.m. Jan. 12. Hours later, he was pronounced dead at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne. The cause of death was a gunshot wound made by a bullet that reportedly entered his right mid-back and penetrated his heart.
Knapke is scheduled to be sentenced at 9:30 a.m. Nov. 17 in Jay County Circuit Court.
Additional online story on this date
Flyers win a high-scoring MAC battle over the Cardinals
NEW BREMEN - As the week began, the Marion Local-New Bremen game had the makings of which team could battle through the opponent's defense.
Instead, the game turned into a shootout. [More]
Subscriber and paid stories on this date
Harvest begins; armyworm damage reported in alfalfa
Recent rains may have put some farmers slightly behind schedule in their harvest, but experts say that overall the area is seeing excellent yields.
CELINA - A Dayton couple has purchased the iconic, white-pillared home at 680 North Main Street with the aim of restoring it to its past grandeur.
The dwelling is believed to be one of the city's oldest original homes.
CELINA - Defiance controlled the ball for nearly 10 minutes of the third quarter, ran 19 plays from scrimmage to seven by Celina, and scored two touchdowns, which proved to be the difference in the 28-19 Defiance victory Friday night at Celina Stadium.
COLDWATER - From the opening drive, the Coldwater Cavaliers overwhelmed the Minster Wildcats in all phases of the game to compile a 42-0 victory.
FORT RECOVERY - Lightning delayed the opening kickoff by an hour and 52 minutes, but Fort Recovery wasted no time after that.
The Indians scored on
Compiled by Gary R. Rasberry
Owen Lefeld rushed for 211 yards and two touchdowns and St. Henry won its fourth straight game with a 26-7 win over Anna on Friday at Booster Field in Anna. The loss was the fourth straight for the Rockets.