Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Ohio man charged in cornfield killing

By M.R. Kropko
The Associated Press

HOLMESVILLE, Ohio - A man charged with murder Tuesday in the shooting of someone who was throwing tomatoes at passing vehicles - a traditional Amish prank - was close friends with the victim's family, the suspect's neighbor said.

Holmes County Sheriff Timothy Zimmerly said Marion D. Weaver, 58, of Millersburg was arrested after his release from Timken Mercy Medical Center earlier in the day.

The hospital would not say why he was hospitalized. But neighbor Jonas Miller said Weaver was hospitalized with a heart attack the day after the shooting. Weaver, who delivered ice to Amish families, was identified as a suspect shortly after the Sept. 1 shooting.

Miller, 44, who is Amish, said Weaver knew the victim, Steve Keim, and his family, from Orrville in neighboring Wayne County. Keim's family was Amish when he was born, but they left the church.

"The 23-year-old boy, Steve Keim, that got shot - his father, Reuben, and Marion were close friends. They went together on hunting and fishing trips," Miller said. "I think he didn't know who he was shooting at when he shot. ... He knew Steve personally. I think that could have been what caused his heart attack - when he found out who the guy was."

Police found several shotguns at Weaver's house and a Cadillac belonging to him that matched witnesses' descriptions, said Steve Knowling, Holmes County assistant prosecutor. Four 12-gauge shotgun shells found at the cornfield were fired from one of those guns, he said.

Weaver was being held at the Holmes County jail in lieu of $250,000 bail. If convicted, he faces 15 years to life in prison.

Keim had been hiding in the cornfield with about 10 others, who told authorities they were throwing tomatoes and firing paintball guns at passing vehicles.

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