The Journal Gazette
Thursday, November 25, 2021 1:00 am

Insanity plea in Ohio turnpike stabbings

Associated Press

FREMONT, Ohio – A Wisconsin man is now pleading not guilty by reason of insanity in a stabbing attack that left one man dead and another injured at a service plaza on the Ohio Turnpike.

Thomas Conner, 51, of Beloit, Wisconsin, earlier this month pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated murder, attempted murder and felonious assault. His lawyer amended the plea.

Conner will be evaluated at a court treatment center and remain held until a competency hearing.

He is accused of attacking patrons with a knife at the Erie Islands Service Plaza on Oct. 19.

David Diederich, 66, of LaPorte, Indiana, was killed, and Alan Austin, 53, of Delavan, Wisconsin, was injured in the attack, authorities said.

Conner was shot and wounded by a Sandusky County sheriff’s deputy when authorities said he charged at the deputy with the knife after repeated commands to drop the weapon.

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