Ohio siblings face felony charges after 250-year-old walnut tree is chopped down

Two Ohio siblings had been charged with prison robbery once they organized to chop down a tree estimated to be over 250 years previous that was once situated on town assets, officers stated Friday.

An illegally felled black walnut tree estimated to be over two centuries previous.Cleveland Metroparks PD

Todd Jones, 56, and Laurel Hoffman, 54 allegedly illegally felled the centuries previous black walnut within the Cleveland suburb of Strongsville on Sept. 2021 to be able to promote it for lumber, in line with a file from Cleveland Metroparks Police.

Jones’ and Hoffman’s partner’s mother, Debra Jones, lives in the home close to the place the tree was once chopped down, on the border of Mill Circulate Run Reservation, the place an adjoining assets was once lately received through Cleveland Metroparks.

Debra Jones is the widow of the siblings’ father, Robert A. Jones, and was once no longer charged with a criminal offense.

In remarks to police, Jones to start with denied having the rest to do with the tree’s destruction, and stated his sister can have been accountable.

Jones reportedly become “defensive” after an officer instructed him that their information indicated that his partner’s mother had already proven them the tree stump and admitted that he and his sister had organized to have it logged and bought for lumber.

The circle of relatives stated they believed the tree was once situated on their assets, however charging paperwork stated a police investigation discovered that the middle of the stump of the Five.Five-foot-wide tree was once 7.Five ft out of doors in their assets.

Additional investigation discovered the tree was once value $28,814.74, and its substitute would price $102,909.77.

Hoffman and Jones had been charged on Dec. 29 with one rely every of robbery through deception and falsification, in line with courtroom paperwork.

Hoffman, in remarks to Cleveland.com, stated, “It’s ours. I simply don’t perceive any of this.”

“That is so ridiculous that they’re doing this,” Jones instructed the inside track website online. “That is insane. There was once no in poor health intent.”

The tree was once situated within the nature maintain and its trunk was once just about six ft in diameter, making it one of the most oldest within the Buckeye State, in accordance Metroparks spokesperson Jacqueline Gerling.

“We suspect the tree was once in all probability over 250 years previous. Given our city atmosphere and the threats to wholesome tree enlargement, it is rather unusual to discover a black walnut of this dimension,” Gerling wrote in an electronic mail to NBC Information.

Todd Jones and Laurel Hoffman allegedly felled the black walnut tree in Sept. 2021.Cleveland Metroparks PD

Cleveland Metroparks Police Division oversees greater than 24,000 acres of land — together with the reserve adjoining to the Jones house.

The U.S. Division of Agriculture says black walnut timber are “one of the most scarcest and maximum coveted local hardwoods” and feature been closely logged.

Hoffman’s lawyer, Christina Brueck, didn’t in an instant reply to a NBC Information request for remark. Jones didn’t in an instant reply to a request for remark.

The siblings are because of be arraigned in courtroom Jan. 20.

In July, a California couple confronted an $18,000 tremendous for destroying 36 Joshua Timber, safe as a candidate for the California Endangered Species Act.

Previous closing yr, an Arkansas guy pleaded in charge to felling 27 timber in Mark Twain Nationwide Wooded area.

An NBC Information investigation in July discovered that the arena’s biggest house furnishing store, Ikea, is prone to have bought kids’s furnishings product of illegally-logged Russian pine.

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