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Dayton shooting: Magistrate mulls request to release friend of killer from detention

Published: Monday, August 12, 2019 @ 11:08 AM
Updated: Thursday, August 15, 2019 @ 5:39 AM

Federal authorities have arrested a man who acknowledged purchasing body armor, AR-15 parts and a 100-round double drum magazine for the Dayton shooter.

UPDATE @ 3:44 p.m.: The attorneys for Ethan Kollie are pleased the magistrate in the case against their client is considering their request to allow Kollie’s release from detention while the case continues through the court system.

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“Hopefully our client will be released tomorrow,” said one of the attorneys, Nick Gounaris. 

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Pretrial services has recommended Kollie be released. Prosecutors said they would abide by the recommendation. 

Attorney for Ethan Kollie comments on client

Kollie’s landlord said he wouldn’t allow Kollie to be released to his apartment. The magistrate, Michael Newman, didn’t like that idea.

Newman also didn’t like the idea of releasing Kollie to his parent’s home, which is near the Ohio-West Virginia border, because of the distance from Montgomery County. 

Newman also wondered if Kollie was a danger to himself and others, citing Kollie’s history of drug abuse.

Gounaris said he and law partner Tony Abboud have a viable place in Montgomery County where Kollie could stay while on home detention -- someplace that is not local.

>> Dayton shooter hid gun, ammo from parents, new documents allege

Gounaris said he and Abboud have no concern about Kollie’s mental health.

“He has lived a law-abiding life,” Gounaris said. “He played no part in what the shooter did, which was senseless.”

The hearing has been continued to Thursday at 3:30 p.m.

EARLIER REPORT

The man federal authorities arrested for purchasing body armor, AR-15 parts and a 100-round double drum magazine for the Dayton shooter is scheduled to be in federal court today.

>> INVESTIGATION: Dayton shooter left decade of red flags

Ethan Kollie, 24, of Kettering, was arrested Friday night in Beavercreek on suspicion of a firearms violation unrelated to the Oregon District shooting, according to Montgomery County Jail records and an unsealed complaint signed by a federal agent.

U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman held a press conference Monday to discuss the complaint.

Kollie told federal authorities he purchased the items for shooter Connor Betts, then hid them in his apartment to assist Betts in hiding them from his parents, the complaint says. 

Kollie said that, about 10 weeks ago, he helped Betts assemble the weapon used in the Oregon district shooting, the complaint says. The drum magazine arrived about six to eight weeks ago.

>> Dayton gunman discussed shooting up UD bar

Glassman said Kollie was charged with possession of a firearm by an unlawful user of any controlled substance and making false statements or representations. He faces up to 15 years in prison, Glassman said.

Glassman added there’s no indication Kollie knew he was assisting Betts in the Oregon District shooting.

Kollie’s attorney said Kollie provided three separate interviews to federal authorities “to provide helpful information to aid investigators.”

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“He does not deny his friendship with Connor Betts and he was as shocked and surprised as everyone else that Mr. Betts committed the violent and senseless massacre in the Oregon District,” said Nick Gounaris, the attorney. 

“We appreciate the United States Attorney stating that there was no indication that Mr. Kollie knew that he was assisting Betts in the shooting,” Gounaris said.

Betts opened fire in the Oregon District, resulting in the deaths of nine people on Aug. 4 before police shot and killed him. He injured dozens, either through gunfire or in the ensuing chaos near Ned Peppers bar.

Betts wielded a semi-automatic pistol that police say was modified to act like a rifle, with an attached drum magazine that could hold up to 100 .223-caliber rounds. Police say he may have had up to 250 rounds of ammunition on him, and they found a shotgun in his car. 

>>A 30-second reign of terror: How the Oregon District mass shooting unfolded

The unsealed complaint says Kollie was interviewed at his house by the FBI and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in the shooting’s aftermath. 

“While inside, the agents smelled marijuana and observed, in plain sight, paraphernalia consistent with smoking marijuana, including what appeared to be a ‘bong,’” the agent said in the complaint. Agents also observed a pistol, the complaint says.

Agents went to Kollie’s work Thursday, where he told the agents he and Betts had done “hard drugs,” marijuana and acid together several times a week in 2014 and 2015, the complaint says. 

Kollie also told the agents he still used marijuana. The agent’s complaint said that Kollie had checked “no” on the ATF form that must be completed to purchase a firearm from a local dealer.

“Kollie stated that he answered ‘no’ to the question regarding drug use,” the complaint says. “When asked why he lied, Kollie stated he knew that if he told the truth about his drug use, he would not be allowed to purchase a firearm, so he lied and answered ‘no.”