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January 8, 2013

More arrests could be made
3 arrested in connection with Milan murder

Wanda English Burnett


Pictured left is Allison Moore, 22, of Cincinnati, who was arrested for the murder of Nancy Hershman, which took place December 30 in the early morning hours. Pictured at right is Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel speaking at a press conference held Monday, January 7 after arrests were made in the case on Saturday, January 5. Also pictured at left is Sgt. Noel Houze Jr. of the Indiana State Police, who is seated.

A press conference called by Ripley County Prosecutor Ric Hertel and the Indiana State Police on Monday, January 7 cleared up many questions people in the community have been asking about the tragic murder of Nancy Hershman, 68, Milan that happened on December 30.

Allison Moore, 22, from Colerain Township in Ohio, has been formally charged with the murder of Nancy Hershman. She has also been charged with Burglary of a Dwelling, a Class B felony, concerning the Hershman home, and another charge, Conspiracy to Commit Burglary, also a Class B felony.

According to Prosecutor Hertel, on December 29 the night began with juveniles and Moore driving from Colerain to Cross Plains. The carload made their way to the home of Ryan Jackson at 8879 S. Locust Street, Cross Plains, where he was robbed at gunpoint.

Court records indicate that Jackson told police he was awakened about 11:30 p.m. by a "bang", which he said was the assailants coming through his front door. They then kicked in his bedroom door brandishing a black handgun.

Jackson said they demanded he give them his money, which he did. The amount came to about $600, which was money from both Jackson and his girlfriend, who was also in the bedroom at the time of the robbery. A juvenile, described in the affidavit as D.H. took about an ounce of marijuana that Jackson was possessing illegally.

Jackson said he knew the armed robber, because the juveniles' father has a construction company and had done some work on the home Jackson was living in. He said D.H. was wearing a black sock-hat like a toboggan, a black neck warmer, black cloth gloves, and a pair of "Shaq" shoes.

Allison Moore was the owner and driver of the car that night. The group continued with their rampage of crime, telling police they went to four separate homes with the intent to take money or other valuables. Police only gave information on two homes, the Jackson residence, Cross Plains, and Hershman residence, Milan.

They then traveled to Milan, to 607 Ellis Street, the home of Nancy Hershman. This home was also a residence familiar to one of the juveniles who had ties to Ripley County. Moore admitted she went inside the Hershman home in an attempt to take money. She said that D.H. and another juvenile, S.N., were all three inside the Hershman home after they broke the door down.

A short confrontation with Hershman ended with her being shot with the .40 caliber handgun. The autopsy report would later reveal that Hershman indeed died from a single gunshot wound to the neck and/or facial area.

Investigators say nothing was missing from the Hershman home. Moore told police after Hershman was shot, that she ran. The group then traveled back to Colerain. When police questioned Moore, they said she showed little or no remorse for the shooting.

Another twist to the story is that the gun was purchased illegally just shortly after Christmas by a 15-year-old juvenile - the one who had ties to Ripley County. Police say that the juvenile, D.H. had been placed on probation in March of 2012, for a period of one year in Ripley County. However, just days before the murder on December 21, 2012, his probation was terminated by the judge. Law enforcement would not say what D.H. was on probation for.

Hertel noted that while at first it was reported that the home of Hershman was chosen at random, that is not exactly the case. While much of the case is under investigation and not everything was released at the press conference, the prosecutor said there were ties to the juveniles involved, the homes they went to and people they were connected with in the county.

Authorities believe Moore and the juveniles set out to commit robbery from the interviews obtained from those involved.

The prosecutor said Ripley County has every intention of having both of the 15-year-olds, D.H. and S.N., who are now in custody in Hamilton County, Ohio, brought to justice in Ripley County. He went on to say the prosecutor's office's intention is to request the juveniles be waived into adult court and tried as adults in the matter. In that case, they could face the same charges as Moore, which are Murder, Burglary, and Conspiracy to Commit Burglary.

While it is too early to say whether the death penalty would be considered, the question was raised by media at the press conference with authorities saying it's not off the table.

Hertel again expressed his remorse to the family of Hershman, saying she was a pillar of the community, and a leader in her church. "We're going to do what we can to prosecute," he assured those in attendance at the press conference. He went on to say the crimes "sends shivers down the spine" in a small sleepy community such as Milan.

The arrests of Moore and two juveniles came late Saturday, January 5 with police releasing information concerning the arrests on Sunday, January 6. Moore is being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center in Cincinnati. Ripley County prosecutors have requested she be extradited to Ripley County. Hertel said if she waives extradition, it could be a few days before she is in court. If she resists, it would take longer.

The two juveniles are being held in the juvenile detention center in Cincinnati. Requests for them to be waived into adult court and brought to Ripley County have been made.

Indiana State Police, along with the prosecutorial team had high praise for the Colerain and Fairfield township police departments for their cooperation in the matter. They have also worked with Milan Town Marshal Gary Skaggs, who was in attendance at the press conference. He said in his 17 years in law enforcement in the Milan area, he doesn't remember another murder inside the town limits.

Prosecutor Hertel expressed condolences to the Hershman family, many of whom were gathered at the courthouse annex building in Versailles on Monday.

With numerous news crews set up, the prosecutor continued by saying he has been involved with a number of cases over the past 14 years of his career, but never to the extent that he was with this case. He noted that watching the Indiana State Police do their jobs was not only interesting, but confirmed their professionalism and thorough approach.

The prosecutor thanked a number of people for their work on the case, including Indiana State Police Detectives Pete Tressler, Tracy Rohlfing, Tom Baxter, First Sgt. Anthony Scott, Steve Weigel and Vance Patton. He praised his team, which includes: Ryan King, Kurt Enneking, and Shane Tucker. A resident who played an intregal part in helping with getting witnesses to come forward is Versailles resident Ron Pollard. He was thanked from the prosecutor who said we need more people like him who are willing to get involved.

The investigation is ongoing with officials stating more arrests could be made in the case.

Hershman family responds

In a press conference held at the Milan First Baptist Church, also on Monday, January 7 Dawn Hershman, Nancy Hershman's only child, spoke with the media. Flanked by family friend, Randy Ashcraft, her soon to be ex-husband, Mike Evans, and children, Keegan and Coty, Dawn told the media she and those gathered with her appreciated all of the hard work law enforcement has done. "We also would like to thank our community for the support and encouragement," they noted.

In a prepared statement, it noted, "Nancy Hershman was a pillar of this community and with these arrests, our hope is that she will be at peace. We also hope that these arrests will bring closure to our community and all of the people that knew and loved Nancy."

"My mom was a wonderful lady," Dawn told those gathered at the church.

Ashcraft, who is the former Dearborn County Coroner, and close friend of Dawn's, told the media that there had been a lot of speculation in the community. These arrests have put that to rest. Dawn said she knew from the beginning she was a suspect, but also knew the truth. She said those who thought she would or even could do such a thing to her own mother don't know her. The group noted the speculations and rumors have been hurtful.

Grandson Coty noted, "This isn't like she just passed away." Hershman's other grandson, Keegan, resumed his classes on Monday, Jan. 7 at Milan Middle School, where he is in the eighth grade. They were both close to their grandmother.

The murder has people in Milan locking their doors at night and wondering how something so tragic could have happened to someone so wonderful.

Sue Greer, who heads up the local food pantry, has lost a dear friend in Nancy. She told the Osgood Journal that after Hershman would run her school bus route, she would stop at the pantry and see what needed to be done. "She would always help me with whatever I had," Greer noted.

Dawn said her mother would have given her last cent if someone was in need. She said if those who allegedly committed the crimes that night would just have asked, they would have gotten anything they wanted. "That's how mom was," she said. "She was an angel."

Shopping every single year on the day after Christmas with her mother was something Dawn said that took place in 2012 as usual. "We headed out in that nasty weather," Dawn noted, saying they wound up in Florence, KY, where her mother bought candles for the 2013 Christmas program at the church. It was a tradition.

Dawn said the woman who killed her mother will never know what she has done. Nancy was Dawn's maid of honor at her wedding many years ago, her best friend, confidant and more. The hurt of the loss of her mother will be something Dawn says will stay with her forever.

Editor's note: More will be reported on the case as it unfolds. As soon as the three are brought back to the county they will face the charges as outlined in the above story with bonds and trial dates being addressed.


Pictured at left, Dawn Hershman, seated, looks over family photos that include her mother, Nancy Hershman, who was shot to death in her own home in Milan on December 30. Also pictured is Sue Greer, left, and Rev. Harris Long, who have been there for the family during this difficult time. Dawn called the press conference on Monday at the First Baptist Church at Milan, because her mother was a long-time member there. Dawn, along with others, said they are grateful to police for finding the suspects and arresting them and putting many rumors to rest in the community.

Milan schools hear from student
regarding bus ride

Cindy Ward
Staff Writer

The Milan Board of School Trustees met in regular session at 7:00 p.m., Monday, December 17, in the school's administration building.

In attendance were board members Edward Amberger, Timothy Tuttle, Gregory Lewis, and Linda Baker. Superintendent Dr. Thomas Reale was also present. Randy Kirk was absent.

Tuttle called the meeting to order, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. A motion was made to approve November's meeting minutes, which was unanimously approved.

Dillon Davidson, a career center student, addressed the board regarding concerns he has about the bus that takes him and other students to the career center in the mornings. He expressed that the bus is cold and the driver is constantly wiping condensation off the windshield, leaving her with only one hand on the steering wheel to operate the bus.

Davidson said that he believes this is the result of the driver not being permitted to take the bus to her residence like the regular route drivers do, adding that he has concerns about the safety of this procedure. Tuttle told Davidson that the board would take his comments under advisement.

Board members voted on and unanimously approved new policy no. 6410, which governs student email accounts. Dr. Reale had said during November's meeting that this policy is the initiative of the high school principal since all students now have corporation email accounts.

Dr. Reale presented two calendars for the board to consider for the 2013-14 school year. One calendar offers students a two-week fall break and the other offers one week only. Dr. Reale pointed out that if a one-week fall calendar is adopted, fall break will move from the second week in October to the third week. Board members were asked to review the calendars and to see Dr. Reale with any questions. The board plans to vote on the calendar at the January meeting.

During the state board of accounts biennial visit, concern was raised over refunding money to eighth grade students who raised more money than necessary to pay for their trip to Washington, D.C. Dr. Reale presented board members with a revision to Policy No. 9250 - Fundraising, for a first reading, asking for approval at the next meeting. Dr. Reale said he revised the policy to standardize it so any money raised during a fundraiser stays with the organization. Any extra money raised will also remain within the organization to be used for the common good of that organization.

In new business, Dr. Reale presented board members with two new policies for a first reading, with approval at the meeting in January.

The first new policy introduced is No. 3550 - Corporation Credit Card Use. Dr. Reale told board members that the state board of accounts informed him that this was necessary. The policy states:

"Certain employees of the school corporation are required from time to time to expend funds in the performance of school corporation business when a purchase order is neither practical nor possible. The Board of School Trustees authorizes the administration to maintain a bank credit card under the following conditions:

1. The corporation treasurer shall serve as custodian of corporation credit cards.

2. The cards shall be used only for the purchase of items or services covered by the adopted school corporation budget. 3. The cards shall be returned to the treasurer as soon as the necessary business or purchase has been completed.

Detailed receipts for all charges should be submitted to the treasurer at the time of return, but no later than ten calendar days afterward. Failure to do so shall result in the cost of the undocumented charge being deducted from the employee's next paycheck.

4. The treasurer shall maintain a log for signing out credit cards. When signing out a card, the employee shall agree in writing to reimburse the corporation within ten calendar days for any personal charges made or official charges for which there is no documentation, and consent to payroll deduction for failure to reimburse or provide documentation.

5. Credit cards shall not be used to circumvent the normal purchase order accounting system."

Dr. Reale next presented new policy No. 4150 - Professional Dress. He noted the new teacher evaluation system has a section of professionalism and refers to the professional dress of teachers. He said this policy was drafted largely by the Milan Teachers' Association, based on existing policies at Batesville and Jac-Cen-Del. Reale noted the new policy "meets our needs and is fair to the teachers." The policy stresses that teachers are role models for their students and what they wear and how they carry themselves will have a strong impact on the children they teach. Board members plan to vote at next month's meeting.

Six teachers and two parents were approved to serve on the elementary Reading Adoption Committee. Serving will be: Melissa Sanders, Stephanie Siemer, Robbi Gray, Cinda Ahlrich, David Wall, Judy White, Heather Thomas and Monica Strzok. Amberger wanted to know if the adoption of the book program will affect the school's electronic technology. Dr. Reale explained that every classroom will still have books, along with the laptops.

In the superintendent's report, Dr. Reale updated board members on the gravel lot adjacent to the elementary school. He said that board attorney Larry Eaton has received permission to proceed with the transfer of property from the Town of Milan to the school corporation. There is no cost for the transfer, but the corporation will pay the legal and survey fees.

Dr. Reale informed the board the corporation car had been repaired and is now back in use. The final cost was $1,263.22.

Members were reminded by Dr. Reale that the January board meeting will be an organizational meeting on Monday, January 14. This is because reorganization must be done within the first 15 days of the year. He also announced the 1953 and 1954 banners are nearing completion and should be returned to the school before the end of basketball season.

Dr. Reale announced that the elementary PTO has been awarded a $20,000 grant from the Rising Sun Regional Foundation to be used to complete the library project. He congratulated the PTO and thanked the foundation for their support.

During the past two years, Dr. Reale has helped out by teaching a German class one period each day in order to allow the other German teacher to teach an additional algebra class at the high school. He said the high school principal is working on the 2013-14 schedule and asked board members their thoughts on him continuing to teach.

Tuttle said that it was admirable that Dr. Reale had stepped up to teach the class; however, he expressed concern over the long hours Dr. Reale puts in working throughout the week and on weekends, stressing that Dr. Reale does a good job. Tuttle said it would be nice if Dr. Reale only had to worry about his superintendent duties.

Amberger agreed that Dr. Reale does a good job teaching, but feels he should be a full time administrator, and not a teacher. He said the new RISE system will be time consuming and the corporation should hire someone to teach the German class.

Baker wanted to know what the additional cost would be if Dr. Reale did not teach the class. Lewis asked what other options they had. Dr. Reale explained that one option would be to find a math teacher willing to work one period a day. The other option, is to increase math class sizes to approximately 30 students. Dr. Reale stressed that raising the class size is an ECA concern, because math is the most commonly failed subject and class size affects achievement. Another option is to drop a higher level math class.

Tuttle said the corporation can't afford to give up a math class and the principal should look into hiring another teacher. Dr. Reale said he would ask the principal to build a schedule without him as a teacher and he will present it to the board once it is completed.

In employee news, the board approved Bethany Roberts as an elementary special needs instructional aide and Eric Hurst as a high school special needs instructional aide/job coach. The positions extend to the end of the 2012-13 school year. The cost will be reimbursed by ROD. Lisa Bradshaw was approved as the seventh grade girls basketball coach.

The claims and financial report was reviewed and approved.

The meeting came to an end with Dr. Reale thanking Baker for her six months of service on the board. He said it had been a pleasure working with her. He then wished everyone a Merry Christmas and safe holiday season with their families.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:26 p.m. The next regular meeting of the Milan Board of School Trustees will be an organizational meeting at 7 p.m., Monday, January 22, in the school administration building.

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