Ethan Kollie, 24, of Kettering. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

Only person arrested in Oregon District massacre to remain jailed

For a second time, a federal court has denied a release bid for the only person to be jailed so far in the investigation of the August Oregon District mass shooting.

Ethan Kollie, 24, faces charges of making a false statement regarding firearms and possession of a firearm by an unlawful user or addict.

The charges against Kollie, formerly of Kettering, do not involve the weapon Conner Betts used to kill nine people on East Fifth Street early on Aug. 4.

However, a federal complaint alleges that Kollie bought the body armor, the double-barrel drum-style magazine and the upper receiver to the AR-style pistol that Betts used in the shootings. Prosecutors say Kollie was not aware of Betts’ plans.

A federal magistrate denied Kollie bail and home detention after a two-day court hearing last month.

On Friday, in response to a more recent defense motion for Kollie’s release, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Rose ruled that Kollie must remain in jail

“Combined with the allegations and circumstances surrounding the charges against the defendant, including the possession of numerous firearms, his admitted regular drug use of marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms which he grew in his residence as well as concerns as to the defendant’s mental health, this court finds that the defendant is a danger to himself and others,” Rose wrote in a two-page order.

“The court also finds that the proposed alternatives to detention do not, as proposed, adequately address and mitigate said danger,” Rose added.

Kollie’s attorney, Nick Gounaris, had argued that neither of the charges his client faces requires a mandatory prison sentence with a conviction.

A September 2018 Government Accountability Office report showed that of more than 12,700 U.S. Justice Dept. Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) investigations into people thought to have lied on the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System in fiscal year 2017 — people whose gun purchases were denied for that reason — only 12 of those cases resulted in prosecutions.

But Vipal Patel, first assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Ohio, said he and his colleagues take seriously background check falsifications and “straw purchases” — attempts to buy firearms for someone who is prohibited from buying one.

“As this case shows, lying can have dramatic and serious consequences,” Patel told the Dayton Daily News in August.

In last month’s court hearing, Magistrate Michael Newman had expressed concerns about Kollie’s past use of drugs and what he called mental health issues raised in a pre-trial assessment of Kollie. Newman did not elaborate on those concerns in open court.

Messages seeking comment were left for Gounaris and Patel Monday.

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