Lynch was to be represented by lawyer Jack Thompson,
claiming that he was 'obsessed' with GTA III. Lynch was 15 at the time
of the crime and 16 by the time his case came to trial. Thompson, who
had advised the Mishne family had wanted to represent Lynch but would,
according to Medina County Prosecutor Dean Holman, be faced with
deeply conflicting interests if he were to represent Dustin Lynch.
Lynch himself eventually rejected Thompson’s offer,
withdrawing his insanity plea. Lynch’s mother, Jerrilyn Thomas, who
previously demanded that judge Christopher Collier appoint Thompson to
defend her son, said she changed her mind after visiting with her boy
in jail, saying, "It has nothing to do with video games or Paxil, and
my son’s no murderer".
Dustin Lynch allegedly stabbed JoLynn Mishne in the
side with a kitchen knife after bashing her with a bedpost. Her father,
Mickey, found her in a pool of blood on her bed with a pile of clothes
heaped on top of her.
The then-15-year-old Lynch, a runaway, had been
staying with the Mishnes in Medina, Ohio, for about a week after
JoLynn, a high-school junior, begged her father to let him stay with
the family, the Cleveland Scene weekly reports.
During his week's stay with the Mishnes in the fall
of 2002, Lynch reportedly played the video game GTA III for hours at a
time. It is a violent crime fantasy in which players earn rewards for
assaults, carjackings, and murder, the Scene reports. The game has
been highly successful, winning numerous game-of-the-year honors and
becoming the best-selling game of 2001.
The violent nature of the game and critics'
contention that youthful players act out what they see has fingered
GTA III in the Lynch case.
In October, attorney and activist Jack Thompson
filed a $246 million lawsuit against Sony Computer Entertainment
America Inc., GTA III designers Take-Two Interactive Software and
Rockstar Games, and Wal-Mart, in connection with a Tennessee case in
which two teenage stepbrothers killed one person and injured another
by shooting rifles at passing motorists, the Scene reported. The teens
claimed GTA III as inspiration.
"I think the video game industry is about as evil
as any entity in America is," Thompson told the paper. "I'm out to
take their money from them – and it's blood money, in some of these
instances – and give it to the people who have been harmed by them."
Thompson contacted JoLynn's father, Mickey Mishne,
upon hearing about the girl's murder. After learning about the game
and recalling Lynch's behavior, Mishne became convinced the boy was
inspired by GTA III. Lynch's favorite GTA III murder weapon reportedly
was the baseball bat.
Mishne likely will be a part of a civil suit
targeting GTA III.
"We are on a crusade," he told the paper. "We'd
like to see everybody who has one of the [games] turn them in, like
they do with rifles and pistols. We want to put them out of business."
Dustin Lynch, sitting in jail awaiting his murder
trial, recently responded to several written questions from the Scene.
When asked why he killed JoLynn, Lynch responded,
"I killed JoLynn for my own personal satisfaction. I yearn to see
blood, it's a need or an addiction and also a fetish. I'm just
obsessed with it all."
Though Lynch could possibly benefit from claiming
he was a victim of the video game, he is denying that's the case.
"Old man Mishne and whomever else believes that GTA
III influenced me to brutaly [sic] kill JoLynn ... they are all idiots!"
Lynch wrote to the Scene. "I killed JoLynn Mishne for my own personal
satisfaction, not because of a video game," adding that he "did her a
favor and satisfied all my needs while doing it!"
Lynch, now 17, claims to have begun thinking about
murder at an early age: "Ever since I was 6 years old, I've wanted to
kill someone," he wrote. The teen claims to have killed 35 people,
though there is no evidence backing up his assertion.
The alleged killer is scheduled to face trial as an
adult on Jan. 12 and faces up to 30 years in prison without the
possibility of parole.
"The only people I care about is Adolf Hitler and
myself! Heil the fuehrer! Hitler is God!" he wrote to the paper.
The young man says he's not afraid of prison,
hoping to get his high-school diploma and write a book while there.
"I might be small, but I know how to handle my
business," he writes. "I'm a 'Lynch,' it runs through [our] blood.
Just like jail!"
Lynch claims he'd like to be executed eventually.
"When my book is complete and I'm ready, I'm going
to kill someone else so that I can get the death penalty. I took so
many lives and I'm just curious to know what it's like to be dead. Is
there an 'after life'? etc. I want to die by lethal injection. I think
that is better than any other method (ex. – killing myself, or by some
horrible death). …"
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Lynch's mother,
Jerrilyn Thomas, says in the past two months, her son has attempted
suicide at the jail, refused to cooperate with his attorney, wrote
incriminating letters to Mickey Mishne and stopped communicating with
Asked if he was disturbed, Lynch wrote to the Scene:
"I AM NOT DISTURBED AT ALL! Like I said, I have certain needs, desires
and a fetish. Cutting myself is a fetish. I feel so powerful when I do
it, kind of like I'm on coke. Each slice I take is like hooting
another line! I'm fascinated by the sight of blood, and when I'm
locked up the way I am the only blood I can get is my own."
IN RE DUSTIN J. LYNCH, ALLEGED DELINQUENT CHILD.
Case No. 2003 01 DQ 0067
STATE OF OHIO, COURT OF COMMON PLEAS, MEDINA COUNTY, JUVENILE
123 Ohio Misc. 2d 81; 2003 Ohio 2690; 789 N.E.2d 1206; 2003 Ohio
Misc. LEXIS 9
May 12, 2003, Decided
[*1] Bindover ordered.
COUNSEL: Anne Eisenhower, Medina County Assistant
Prosecuting Attorney, for the state.
John J. Dolatowski, for the juvenile.
JUDGES: JUDGE JOHN J. LOHN.
OPINION BY: JOHN J. LOHN
JOURNAL ENTRY AND ORDER
JOHN J. LOHN, Judge.
On May 8 and May 9, 2003, this matter came on for
hearing before John J. Lohn, Judge of the Medina County Court of
Common Pleas, Juvenile Division. The purpose of the hearing was to
determine whether the juvenile is amenable to treatment pursuant to
Present in court were Dustin J. Lynch, the juvenile,
Jerrilyn Thomas, the juvenile's mother and David Lynch, the juvenile's
father. Attorney John J. Dolatowski of Medina appeared on behalf of
the juvenile. Anne Eisenhower, Medina County Assistant Prosecuting
Attorney, appeared on behalf of the state of Ohio.
The juvenile is charged with delinquency by virtue
of committing the following felonies: aggravated murder by aggravated
robbery (with specification), in violation of R.C. 2903.01(B);
aggravated murder (with specification), in violation of R.C.
2903.02(A); aggravated robbery in violation [*2] of R.C.
2911.01(A)(1); aggravated robbery in violation of R.C.
2911.01(A)(3); felonious assault in violation of R.C.
2903.11(A)(2); and theft in violation of R.C. 2913.02(A)(1).
The offenses allegedly occurred on November 2,
2002. The juvenile's birthday is December 3, 1986.
On January 31, 2003, the state filed a motion to
transfer this case to the general division of the court of common
pleas. On March 6, 2003, the juvenile waived his right to a
preliminary hearing. The court found that the juvenile was fifteen
years of age at the time of the offense and that there was probable
cause to believe that the juvenile committed the acts described in the
This hearing is the second of the two-step process
required under R.C. 2152.12. There are two issues the court
must decide: (1) whether the juvenile is amenable to care or
rehabilitation within the juvenile system and (2) whether public
safety requires that the juvenile be subject to adult sanctions.
In deciding whether to transfer a juvenile's case
to the general division, [*3] the court must consider any relevant
factors that weigh in favor of transfer and any relevant factors that
weigh in favor of keeping the case in the juvenile system.
Jolynn Mishne was a high schooler who lived with
her father on Poe Road in Montville Township. She was a sweet,
guileless girl. A week before her death, she met Dustin Lynch and took
him home. Jolynn's father permitted Dustin to stay at the house and to
spend each night with his daughter in her bedroom.
On November 2, 2002, Jolynn was in bed asleep. She
was struck senseless and then bludgeoned to death and stabbed to death.
The killer left a taunting note to the police and a gruesome crime
scene. At the time of the murder, Dustin Lynch was a DYS parolee--a
runaway one month shy of his sixteenth birthday. He had insinuated
himself into the Mishne home as a false friend. After allegedly
killing poor Jolynn, he allegedly stole her car.
The juvenile has had a long, unsuccessful history
with the juvenile justice system. His father has been absent most of
his life. His mother is an ineffective parent. The male influences in
the juvenile's life were his mother's many husbands and boyfriends.
These men, [*4] with the exception of the current husband, were
abusive and demeaning.
The juvenile is intellectually and emotionally
capable of overcoming his poor upbringing. He has never shown the
slightest inclination to do so.
The court finds the following factors in favor of a
transfer pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Sec. 2152.12(D):
The victim of the act charged suffered physical or
psychological harm, or serious economic harm, as a result of the
alleged act. Jolynn Mishne was beaten to death and stabbed to death.
Her car was stolen. She suffered severe economic and physical harm.
The child's relationship with the victim
facilitated the act charged. Jolynn Mishne had an affectionate and
trusting relationship with the Juvenile. She was emotionally attached
to him. She was physically close to him. This relationship made it
easier for the juvenile allegedly to kill her and to rob her. She was
beaten with a bedpost from her own bed. She was stabbed with a knife
from her own kitchen. A stranger did not kill Jolynn Mishne. Someone
in her own household killed her, someone she trusted.
At the time of the act charged, the child was
[*5] awaiting adjudication or disposition as a delinquent child, was
under a community control sanction, or was on parole for a prior
delinquent child adjudication or conviction. On November 2, 2002 the
Juvenile was on parole with the Ohio Department of Youth Services for
a prior delinquent child adjudication.
The results of any previous juvenile sanctions and
programs indicate that rehabilitation of the child will not occur in
the juvenile system.
The juvenile has had the following adjudications
[*6] Between the Juvenile Detention Center, New
Horizons Youth Shelter, Lincoln Place, and the Department of Youth
Services, the juvenile had been placed outside the home for more than
400 days since his first unruly violation. He failed in outpatient-treatment
programs and drug-and-alcohol counseling programs.
No juvenile sanction has deterred this boy. His
behavior has progressed from being wayward and truant to committing
misdemeanors, committing felony thefts, and now the alleged murder and
robbery of a helpless girl.
In this case, no treatment has been successful.
Probation Officer Smith testified that services and treatment can only
begin when the child is out of detention and compliant with court
orders. But the boy immediately violates orders and reoffends. He does
not cooperate with treatment.
The child is emotionally, physically, or
psychologically mature enough for the transfer. Dr. Lawrence
Spoljaric's physical examination indicates that the juvenile presents
as a normal sixteen year old with no physical infirmities. The
witnesses from Indian River School--Jana Stump, Christine White, and
Laurie Adkins--described the juvenile as average [*7] in stature and
socially interactive. The juvenile is emotionally and psychologically
capable of handling transfer to the adult system. Dr. Thomas Evans
testified that the juvenile has an intelligent and correct
understanding of the adult criminal process. He is "system savvy."
There is not sufficient time to rehabilitate the
child within the juvenile system. Dr. Evans testified that the
juvenile is one of the most complex individuals he has encountered in
his long experience with disturbed and delinquent youths. The doctor
testified that the juvenile could be rehabilitated in the juvenile
system but only if he were greatly motivated and under optimum
conditions at the Ohio Department of Youth Services.
There is nothing in this juvenile's past pointing
to a sincere desire to turn his life around.
Dustin Lynch is defiant and hostile. He engages in
precocious and unhealthy sexual relationships--without shame. He
abuses drugs and alcohol without regret. He commits crimes and
violates court orders--without fear of consequences. His bootless
father has been missing in action for much of the boy's life. He has
just lately shown an interest in Dustin now that [*8] he is charged
with murder. His ineffectual mother has been distracted by her
complicated love life. She never provided the boy with a stable home.
Dustin Lynch is happy when he is having sex, using
drugs, or breaking the law. He shows some progress only when he is
locked up. He is not well. He is profoundly disordered.
Four and one-half years is not enough time to fix
what is wrong with Dustin Lynch.
The court finds the following factor against
transfer under R.C. 2152.12(E):
The child has a mental illness or is a mentally
retarded person. The juvenile is diagnosed with a conduct disorder,
adolescent onset. Dr. Evans explained that the condition is
technically a mental illness, but it does not involve psychosis or
If the murder and robbery had occurred just one
month later--December 3, 2002--the Juvenile would have been sixteen at
the time of the offense. Because of the severity of the charges,
transfer to adult court would have been mandatory upon a showing of
WHEREFORE, after considering all of the
testimony, the exhibits, and the arguments of counsel, [*9] the
court finds that the statutory and other relevant factors favoring
transfer of this case to the general division of the court are obvious
and overwhelming and outweigh, by a great preponderance, those factors
against transfer. The evidence favoring transfer is sufficient, strong,
and compelling. The evidence favoring retention is speculative, scant,
This is not a close case.
Dustin Lynch is angry, asocial, brutal, and self-absorbed.
He will be a threat to the community long after his twenty-first
Thus, the court finds that the juvenile is not
amenable to care or rehabilitation within the juvenile system, and the
safety of the community may require that the child be subject to adult
IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that
jurisdiction of this case be and hereby is transferred to the General
Division of the Court of Common Pleas. The original case file and all
documents, pleadings, exhibits, and other papers shall be delivered to
the clerk of courts, pending further action and proceedings by the
grand jurors of this county and the judges of the general division of
this court. The judges are herewith invested [*10] by me--through
this order and in accordance with the laws of this state--with the
authority to assume and to exercise jurisdiction over this child as if
he were an adult.
IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that in
accordance with R.C. 2152.26(F), the Sheriff of Medina County
shall take charge and take custody of Dustin J. Lynch from the
Superintendent of the Medina County Juvenile Detention Center. The
sheriff shall transfer Dustin J. Lynch to the Medina County Jail in
accordance with the laws governing the detention of persons charged
with crime. The boy shall be confined in a manner that keeps him
beyond the range of touch of all adult detainees. He shall be
supervised at all times during the detention.
IT IS ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that
bail in this matter is hereby set at $ 1,000,000, cash or surety.