PHOTOS AWASH IN WARRANTS
This project examines the millions of open arrest warrants, many for violent crimes, that allow suspects to go free as law enforcement officers are forced to move onto to new crimes with fresher leads.
A clerk searches for a criminal case file at the Franklin County Municipal Clerk of Courts in Columbus, Ohio. Among the many case files the court handles are tens of thousands of open arrest warrants in Franklin County.
Columbus Police fficer James Walker calls in information on a wanted person over the radio after filing an arrest warrant for Jonovan Meek, who was wanted on a charge of domestic violence Walker hadhoped to arrest Meek that night, but couldn't find another officer to provide back-up before his shift ended.
A U.S. deputy marshal draws his firearm as he takes position outside a suspect's residence while serving an arrest warrant in Columbus. Marshals often assist local law enforcement with serving felony arrest warrants.
U.S. deputy marshals question Andrew Green after he answered the door at another suspect's home in Columbus. After questioning, the marshals discovered that Green was wanted on a felony escape warrant after leaving a halfway house in June. He was arrested.
Franklin County sheriff's SWAT deputy David Pollock knocks on the door of an apartment building while serving an arrest warrant for Hussein Hassan, who was wanted on a charge of aggravated burglary.
Franklin County sheriff's SWAT deputy Nate Chalfant peers through a small window in a door to see if anyone if home while serving an arrest warrant with SWAT deputy Kevin Christie, left.
Franklin County sheriff's SWAT deputies question a resident at a home while serving an arrest warrant. After talking with the resident, deputies searched the home. The suspect wasn't there.
Columbus Police SWAT and Franklin County Sheriff's SWAT officers arrest individuals on charges of running a theft ring after executing a warrant at Trinity Square Apartments in Columbus,.
Franklin County sheriff's SWAT deputy Gary Bourquin takes Amanda Fields into custody on a failure to appear warrant related to drug charges.
A U.S. deputy marshal holds a mug shot of Hassan Hassan, wanted on suspicion of aggravated burglary along with his brother, Hussein, as they brief before serving an arrest warrant.
U.S. deputy marshals search Hassan Hassan after he was arrested on a charge of aggravated burglary.
A U.S. deputy marshal places a shirt on Hassan Hassan, center, after his arrest. Agents woke him up while serving the warrant and brought clothes and water to him after he was detained.
A U.S. deputy marshal moves Hassan Hassan, arrested on a charge of aggravated burglary, to a Columbus Police cruiser.
A small Lego police officer figurine hangs from the body armor of a deputy marshal as he works. He wears it so that children he encounters while working notice the toy and are less intimidated.
A man picked up on a temporary detention order after family members expressed concern for his safety peers out the back of a Franklin County sheriff's transport vehicle as he is taken to a mental-health facility. Franklin County Sheriffs serve hundreds of these orders each year, taking time away from pursuing people for criminal warrants.
Franklin County sheriff's SWAT deputy Kevin Christie carries drug evidence back to his vehicle after an arrest.
Bail agent Woody Fox stands in the doorway of a home as agents search the residence for Sheldon Curry, who skipped bail on a drug charge. If a client skips bail and fails to show up in court, Fox and his employees track the person down and return him or her to jail. Then they notify the court that the person is back in custody.
Bail agent Larry Garrett talks with a woman outside her residence as they search for Sheldon Curry, who skipped bond on a drug charge. Curry was spotted about an hour earlier at the woman's house but wasn't there when agents attempted to apprehend him.
Bail agent Woody Fox pounds on a door while searching for a woman who skipped bond on a drug charge.
From left, deputy clerks Candice Morgan, Carla Tomlin and Morgan Erler prepare case files, which include copies of the arrest warrant, before hearings start at the Franklin County Municipal Clerk of Courts.
Hassan Hassan, left, consults with his attorney during his initial appearance after his arrest on suspicion of aggravated burglary at Franklin County Municipal Court. During an initial appearance, charges are formally read to a defendant and they enter a plea.
As lawyers look on, Hakeem Johnston, 25, right, of Franklinton, listens as Windolyn Young, left, a family member of Laquam Grasty, reads a victim impact statement from Grasty's mother, Maria Alvarez, during a sentencing hearing Sept. 19 in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Johnston was given a life sentence for the January 2017 murder of Grasty during a robbery in Columbus.
The victim impact statement from Maria Alvarez read during the sentencing hearing for Hakeem O. Johnston, 25, of Franklinton, at Franklin County Common Pleas Court. Johnston was given a life sentence for the January 2017 murder of Laquam Grasty at a known drug house in Columbus.
Bill Hedrick, chief prosecutor in the Columbus city attorney's office, fills out a form to dismiss a minor charge. Hedrick has cleared nearly 3,000 old warrants this year, mostly involving traffic cases, although a judge has to approve. “I don’t want to see anybody in jail for these offenses, and I don’t think anyone else in the system does either,” Hedrick said.
Dante Williams spent three days in jail after a nonfunctioning headlight on his car resulted in his arrest in September on three outstanding warrants for minor traffic violations. His jail stint almost cost him his livelihood.
Crisha Wallace begins to cry as she reads from a worksheet that she completed about her arrest during a meeting with her probation officer. Wallace went to jai after an arrest warrant accused her of forgery. She was released, but failed to show up for court hearings. Another warrant was issued for her arrest.
Mariam El-Shamaa was a graduate student at Ohio State University when she was attacked by a man with a knife in 2002. Until The Dispatch contacted her this year, she wasn't aware that Weicheng Yen, who had been indicted on a felonious assault charge in her case, still had not faced justice.
Steeg and Diane Hertz of Springfield, Ohio, parents of, David, 37, who was killed in a 2014 wreck. The other driver, Juan Ruiz, was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, but he posted bail and became a fugitive. There's a warrant for his arrest. If he's ever located, “I would tell him he ripped a hole into our family,” said Steeg Hertz, 76.
An angel keeps watch over Jenny Blake's grave at Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Pataskala. In 2011, Blake, a 28-year-old mother of three, was killed by her husband, Jack Blake Jr., 32, while there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest. Jack Blake then killed himself.