Judge begins internal investigation into early release of Kirkersville shooter

(Licking County Sheriff's Office)

LICKING COUNTY, OH (WCMH) – Tonight NBC4 is getting answers from a judge who let Thomas Hartless out of jail after serving less than three weeks of a 90-day jail sentence.

About a month after getting out of jail, Hartless killed his girlfriend Marlina Medrano and two others.

NBC4 pressed Licking county municipal judge Michael Higgins for answers.  Judge Higgins said there is an internal investigation happening, and he won’t go on camera until the internal investigation is over.

Authorities said Thomas Hartless shot and killed his girlfriend Marlina Medrano, Kirkersville police chief Eric Disario, and Cindy Krantz May 12th.

Roughly a month earlier to this happening, Judge Michael Higgins signed an order to get Hartless out of jail earlier than his original sentence, despite his very violent criminal history.

This recent news is disheartening to Kim Miles and others who live throughout licking county.

“I don’t know all the facts or the details but obviously it wasn’t a good decision.  Look at, look at the end result,” Miles said.

NBC4 went to the licking county municipal courthouse for answers.

Judge Higgins told NBC4 off camera “Once we were aware of what went down (the shooting) we immediately started to investigate why this guy was let out.”

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