A Columbus woman was sentenced in Fayette County Common Pleas Court to 11 years in prison Thursday morning for her involvement in an Oct. 14 gunfire exchange that killed a man and injured a deputy.
At her trial on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, Elissia Garrison, 22, was found guilty of two counts of complicity to felonious assault on an officer, first-degree felonies, and one count of obstructing official business, a felony of the fifth degree.
Garrison’s conviction stems from the Oct. 14 incident when Fayette County Sheriff’s Office deputies Todd Oesterle and Jason Havens were called to the Quality Inn in Jeffersonville in reference to a noise complaint. After dealing with the lengthy noise complaint, the deputies decided they were going to arrest Eric Stromer, 22, of Columbus.
While attempting to arrest Stromer, Garrison — believed to be his girlfriend — would not leave his side and actively interfered in the arrest, according to FCSO Sheriff Vernon Stanforth. At that point, deputies prepared to deploy a taser to Garrison, which allowed Stromer to remove a firearm from his clothing, which he discharged in the hallway of the hotel at point blank range, striking Sgt. Oesterle.
Stromer then attempted to flee, and Oesterle and Havens returned fire — fatally wounding Stromer.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and requested by Stanforth to conduct the investigation. The case was presented to the Fayette County grand jury March 15. In addition to the indictment of Garrison, the grand jury found that Oesterle and Havens “acted appropriately under the circumstances, followed use of force protocols in place by the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, and cleared them of any violations of law at that time,” according to a joint press release from Sheriff Stanforth and Fayette County Prosecutor Jess Weade.
On Wednesday, Oesterle, who had to endure a recovery process from his gunshot wound, reflected on his Facebook page concerning the incident and his struggles.
A portion of his post read: “I haven’t spoken much of my emotional and physical struggles revolving around this incident. I can tell you this journey has been the toughest test for me yet. This past year has been filled with everything imaginable both tragic and triumphant. I want to thank each and every person that has reached out to me to provide me support, a friendship, a conversation or just a listening ear and heart. You have no idea what all that has meant to me, or just how grateful I am.”
Oesterle, Havens and Sgt. Bill Duffer of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office testified during Garrison’s trial.
Following the trial, Weade said, “We are pleased with the jury verdict and the sentence in this case. We are also grateful that the officers involved were here to testify. Special thanks to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for investigating this incident.”
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352.