A Highland County grand jury handed down indictments against 28 individuals in their Tuesday, Dec. 1 session.

• Charles L. Lancaster, 31, of Hillsboro was charged in two separate indictments. In one indictment, Lancaster was charged with aggravated trafficking in methamphetamine, a third-degree felony; aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a third-degree felony; possession of heroin, a fifth-degree felony; having weapons while under disability, a third-degree felony; and a forfeiture specification.

The charges in this indictment all stem from alleged incidents on or about May 15. On that date, it is alleged that “Lancaster did knowingly prepare for shipment, ship, transport, deliver, prepare for distribution or distribute methamphetamine, a schedule II controlled substance, in an amount equal to or exceeding bulk amount but less than five times bulk amount.” In addition, he is charged with “knowingly obtaining, possessing or using” the same amount of methamphetamine, as well as “obtaining, possessing or using” heroin. It is further alleged that Lancaster “did knowingly acquire, have, carry or use” two different handguns despite “not having been relieved from disability,” and both handguns are subject to forfeiture.

In the other case, Lancaster was indicted on a fifth-degree felony charge of aggravated possession of a fentanyl-related compound, as he was accused of knowingly “obtaining, possessing or using” the fentanyl-related compound on or about June 24.

• In a joint indictment, Ashleigh P. Myers, 33, and Matthew T. Murphy, 36, both of Wilmington, were charged with four drug-related offenses: aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a third-degree felony; two counts of possession of drugs, both fifth-degree felonies; and aggravated possession of drugs, also a fifth-degree felony.

It is alleged that on or about July 4, Myers and Murphy “did knowingly obtain, possess or use” methamphetamine “in an amount equal to or exceeding bulk amount but less than five times bulk amount.” They are also accused of “obtaining, possessing or using” clonazepam, alprazolam and oxycodone on the same date.

• A revised joint indictment was filed on Alicia M. Ralston, 32, of Chillicothe and Amber L. Ward, 28, of Hillsboro, both of whom were indicted last month on charges of complicity to escape (a third-degree felony) and obstructing justice (a fifth-degree felony).

As previously reported, a grand jury in November charged the women in connection with the escape case of Nickolaus Garrison, 34, of Hillsboro. Garrison was indicted in the Oct. 6 grand jury session, after video footage showed him escaping from the Highland County Common Pleas courtroom after a sentencing hearing Sept. 22.

On Sept. 25 at approximately 4:30 a.m., law enforcement took Garrison into custody, without incident, at a motel in Clinton County.

According to assistant prosecutor Adam King, there was an issue with the wording in the original indictment for Ralston and Ward, leading to the grand jury considering the case again this month. He said that there was no change in the actual charges.

• Krishna L. Crow, 28, of Chillicothe was charged with illegal conveyance of drugs of abuse onto the grounds of a specified governmental facility, a third-degree felony; and possession of drugs, a first-degree misdemeanor. Crow is accused of “obtaining, possessing or using” buprenorphine on or about March 8 and allegedly “knowingly conveying, or attempting to convey,” the drug on the grounds of the Greenfield Jail.

• Timothy M. Jackson, 34, of Greenfield was charged with failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony; and a forfeiture specification. It is alleged that on or about Nov. 6, Jackson “did operate a motor vehicle … so as willfully to elude or flee a police officer.” A 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche allegedly used “in the commission or facilitation of the offense” is subject to forfeiture.

• Roger D. Shepherd, 41, of Hillsboro was charged with breaking and entering, a fifth-degree felony, and theft, a first-degree misdemeanor. It is alleged that on or about Sept. 3, Shepherd “did by force, stealth or deception trespass in a building” in Highland County “with purpose to commit therein, theft.” It is further alleged that he took a Milwaukee cordless Sawzall, an outdoor/indoor smart camera and “other miscellaneous items” from a Highland County resident on the same date.

• Bradley Badgley, 43, of Greenfield was charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a third-degree felony. It is alleged that during an approximate one-month span in 2020, Badgley “engaged in sexual conduct” with a teenage victim.

• Melanie N. Ballein, 38, of Hillsboro was charged with grand theft of a firearm, a third-degree felony. It is alleged that on or about Sept. 11, Ballein stole a 9mm handgun from a male victim.

• Joseph Bender, 37, of Hillsboro was charged with one count of failure to comply with the order or signal of a police officer, a third-degree felony. Bender is accused of “operating a motor vehicle … so as willfully to elude or flee a police officer after receiving a visible or audible signal from a police officer to bring [his] motor vehicle to a stop.” It is alleged that the incident occurred on or about Aug. 18.

• Zachary J. Hoffer, 20, of Hillsboro was charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony. The indictment alleges that last month, Hoffer “did knowingly engage in sexual conduct” with a teenage victim.

• Shane M. Rhoads, 33, of Chillicothe was charged with receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony. On or about Oct. 31, Rhoads allegedly “did receive, retain or dispose of certain property, being a motor vehicle,” owned by a Highland County township.

• Tabitha Throckmorton, 25, of Hillsboro was charged with receiving stolen property, a fourth-degree felony. It is alleged that on or about Oct. 14, Throckmorton “did receive, retain or dispose of certain property, being a motor vehicle,” owned by another individual.

• Seth Wilks, 32, of Lynchburg was charged with one count each of aggravated possession of methamphetamine and possession of drugs, both fifth-degree felonies.

• Jason T. Jenkins, 49, of Greenfield was charged with aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a third-degree felony.

• Liam G. Souders, 24, of Greenfield was charged with aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a third-degree felony.

• Branton R. Schrader, 30, of Greenfield was charged with failure to appear, a fourth-degree felony.

• Gary Seitz, 29, of Sabina was charged with counterfeiting, a fourth-degree felony.

• Jayson A. Vilvens, 26, of Washington Court House was charged with failure to appear, a fourth-degree felony.

• Jonathan Birkhimer, 47, of Greenfield was charged with aggravated possession of a fentanyl-related compound, a fifth-degree felony.

• Brittany R. Kessler, 30, of Greenfield was charged with aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony.

• Ethan L. Lightle, 31, of Greenfield was charged with possession of heroin, a fifth-degree felony.

• Derek W. Myers, 39, of Greenfield was charged with aggravated possession of a fentanyl-related compound, a fifth-degree felony.

• Eric P. Taber, 38, of Columbus was charged with aggravated possession of a fentanyl-related compound, a fifth-degree felony.

• James R. Willey, 35, of Hillsboro was charged with aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony.

• Sydney M. Yoakem, 23, of Bourneville was charged with aggravated possession of methamphetamine, a fifth-degree felony.

• Stacey N. Irvin, 19, of Latham was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, a first-degree misdemeanor.

An indictment is merely a charge and is not evidence of guilt.