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Charges dismissed for two Hocking students, Cincinnati man

Charges against two Hocking College students and one Cincinnati man were dismissed in court yesterday due to lack of probable cause.

Rachon D. Lewis, 22, Daniel J. Lewis, 21, and Jason Flint, 21, were charged with aggravated robbery and kidnapping, but Athens County Municipal Court Judge William Grimm dismissed both of the charges after hearing witness testimony at a preliminary hearing.

Daniel Lewis and Flint are Hocking College students and Rachon Lewis is from Cincinnati.

Three Nelsonville Police officers and a 17-year-old witness were called by the state — officer Christopher Hawk testified that on the night of the alleged incident, Flint told him there was a dispute over a cellphone.

The cellphone belonged to Rachon, who lost it earlier in the night, Hawk said, adding the victim and the witness were trying to sell him the phone back for $25.

Hawk testified that he was told the three men offered to pay money or drugs for the phone. He also said the three men searched the victim and witness’s pockets and that Rachon pointed his gun at them for 30 to 40 seconds.

According to court documents, Daniel and Flint allegedly restrained the victim while Rachon allegedly brandished a .25-caliber handgun and threatened to use it against the victim. Daniel also allegedly wielded a knife.

The only weapon recovered from the three men was the handgun, which Rachon had a concealed carry permit for, Officer Mark Van Curen said.

The witness’s testimony contradicted Hawk’s, which was mostly a retelling of the victim’s account of what happened.

The witness said he and the victim found the phone on the sidewalk and agreed to meet the men on Franklin Street and that the phone was not taken forcefully.

There was no mention of drugs and he felt unthreatened and free to leave at anytime, he said, adding that he saw “something shiny” but was not certain if it was a gun.

The victim was not called as a witness because his current location is unknown, according to the state.

Christopher Cooper, the Lewis’ lawyer, said in his closing statement that none of the officers saw the alleged incident occur and the witness’s testimony created a lack of probable cause.

Grimm dismissed all three cases because of a lack of probable cause and insufficient current evidence.

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