PDT Staff Writer
Scioto County Prosecutor Mark Kuhn said autopsy reports on shooting victim Steve Holsinger and an interview with Holsinger’s wife are going to be the catalyst for a decision as to when to take the evidence from Thursday’s shooting to a Scioto County grand jury.
Scioto County Sheriff Marty V. Donini said 33-year-old Steve Holsinger, of 9550 Old Gallia Pike, Wheelersburg, died from a gunshot wound. The shooter has been identified as Tyler Staker, age 22, of Portsmouth. Donini said his detectives were told Staker and his father, Robert Staker, went to Holsinger’s residence to repossess a piece of equipment that was purchased from their business that had not been fully paid for. According to Donini, detectives determined that Staker and his father had been at this location for over an hour knocking on the door in attempts to return the equipment.
Kuhn said no date has been set for making a decision in the case, “but certainly we are going to. I want to talk to Mrs. Holsinger about that tomorrow (Wednesday). We’re going to meet with her and tell her where we are now and find out if she has heard anything else since she has talked with Detective Conkel yesterday (Monday),” Kuhn told the Portsmouth Daily Times Tuesday afternoon. “We’ll wrap up these last couple of items then see when we can put this in front of a grand jury.”
Donini said the witnesses told him Holsinger came out onto the porch at approximately 10:20 p.m. with a gun in his hand and very upset. A witness told detectives that he did put the gun into his pocket for a short time, then got upset and pulled out the gun telling Staker and his father that they had three seconds to get off his property, then Holsinger raised the weapon pointing it at Staker’s face. That is when Tyler reportedly shot the deceased several times, Donini said. Holsinger’s body was sent to the Montgomery County Morgue for an autopsy, and evidence is being sent to BCI&I in London, Ohio.
Kuhn still had not heard from the coroner’s office by Tuesday afternoon.
“We’re still waiting on the preliminary autopsy report,” he said. “Although that won’t tell us a whole lot, it will tell us a little more than we know now. Then I’m going to go through the witness statements that we have. The sheriff’s office has done some more detailed interviews. They did several that night. They’ve done some more with the detectives since then, and I’m going to meet with Mrs. Holsinger (Steve Holsinger’s widow) tomorrow (today). And then, once I take a look at the preliminary autopsy report, the question will be do we wait on a full autopsy report.”
The attorney for the Staker family, Rick Faulkner, says he has talked with Kuhn and is under the understanding that the matter in the shooting is being looked into. Beyond that, he said he is not aware of any official case.
“On behalf of the (Staker) family we don’t have any comment on it,” Faulkner said. “I just lost my father and I think these kinds of things happen, and the family just needs to back up and re-group. I feel for that boy. I have talked to too many people that have done this in self defense or otherwise, and they carry that forever. I am very sad for the Holsinger family.”
Faulkner said there are no actual charges to respond to at this time, though he is prepared to do so if it becomes necessary.
“Right now, as I understand it, there are no charges filed,” Faulkner said. “My conversation with the County Prosecutor is that the matter was being looked into by the Sheriff’s Department. (Detective) Jodi Conkel and (Captain) Dave Hall both gave preliminary indications that they thought it was a justifiable shoot.”
Faulkner said until more information comes out of the Prosecutor’s office, he is not actively involved in treating it as an actual case.
“As far as I understand there are no filings yet. We’re all waiting and I think the Prosecutor’s Office is waiting on information back from the autopsy. They had done all of the appropriate things, the gunshot residue and all,” Faulkner said.
Kuhn indicated that in most homicide cases he prefers to wait on the full autopsy to make sure he is able to take all evidence to grand jury if the case goes before the grand jury.
“There’s some things, even though we’re going to know what the cause of death is in this kind of case, there are some things that are going to tell us things as far as distance of the gun from the body, and orientation of the entry wound, the direction that the bullet was traveling,” Kuhn said. “Some of that is open to interpretation too.”
“The sheriff’s office brought me most of their investigation this morning,” Kuhn said Tuesday afternoon. “I had gone over yesterday (Monday) afternoon and took a look at what they had to date and then I’ll do more tomorrow (today). This morning there’s a few items they (Sheriff’s Office) are doing some follow-up on.”
Family and friends of Holsinger gathered Monday morning on the steps of the Scioto County Courthouse to protest the fact that no arrest had been made in the shooting. Donini said his investigators followed the protocol used in all homicide cases by immediately contacting Kuhn who made the decision not to have deputies arrest Staker pending further information.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.