Man sent to prison for fatal Hamilton shooting last summer

A Ross Twp. man has been sentenced to prison for a May fatal shooting on the porch of a Hamilton home.

Nicholas Lorenz, 41, was charged with murder and felonious assault, both with a gun specification; having weapons under disability and tampering with evidence for the shooting death of 47-year-old Jason Simpson on the morning of May 20 on Madison Avenue.

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After a couple delays, Lorenz was scheduled to go to trial Feb. 28, but instead has entered an Alford plea to reduced charges.

On Feb. 10, Lorenz entered the pleas to involuntary manslaughter and having weapons under disability in Butler County Common Pleas Court.

In an Alford plea. the defendant continues to maintain his innocence while acknowledging there is enough evidence to convict him.

Judge Keith Spaeth sentenced Lorenz to 17 to 22.5 years in prison. He will served at least 17 years, but could serve the max if he gets in trouble in prison.

Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said, “as far as the law is concerned on appeal an Alford plea is the same as a guilty plea.”

The plea deal was agreed to because of some difficulties with a prosecution witness, he said.

“The problem I had was the material witness in this case was going to be very difficult to work with because I had recently prosecuted her son,” Gmoser said. “I don’t reduce murder cases because of convenience, I reduce them because there are going to be issues of proof, and in this case there was definitely going to be an issue.”

The men knew each other. There was a confrontation, and Simpson was shot while sitting on a porch, according to Hamilton police.

A 911 caller named the suspect Lorenz as others tried to help the wounded Simpson. Lorenz fled a short distance before being arrested by Hamilton police.

In May, a female caller cried and screamed as she told the 911 dispatcher, “A man has been shot. Please hurry, please hurry. He is bleeding bad.”

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The woman screams, “Jason, stay with me buddy,” while others are heard attempting CPR and applying pressure to his wounds as instructed by the dispatcher.

When asked if she knew who shot the victim, the caller said, “Yes I do, it was Nick Lorenz.”

Witnesses also were able to provide a part of a license number and the make of the vehicle the suspect was driving.

Lorenz has been held in the Butler County Jail in lieu of $ 1.1 million set at arraignment.

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