East Palestine man charged in murder plot

EAST PALESTINE — A police investigation launched earlier this month thwarted an alleged murder plan hatched by a local resident against two people.

According to a press release issued by Chief Jim Brown on Monday, police arrested Ronald Barson, 53, Bacon Avenue, on Saturday on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder, a first-degree felony.

Brown said in the release that Det. Dan Haueter received information that Barson had formulated a plan to have two people murdered in the village.

Subsequent investigation revealed that Barson engaged in the planning of the deaths of the two individuals between April 1 and April 19.

Those individuals were identified in a police affidavit filed with the Columbiana County Municipal Court as Joseph Altenburg and Rosey Faulkner.

Brown said in the press release that on April 19 Barson committed “an overt act” by taking an individual to the home of the intended victims indicating where the plan was to be carried out.

That individual was not identified in the police affidavit filed with the court, although it was stated that the person was someone Barson allegedly wanted to commit the murders.

Brown said in the press release that on Saturday East Palestine police and members of the Columbiana County Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at Barson’s home at 1190 Bacon Ave.

Several items were seized, including firearms, numerous rounds of ammunition and potential weapons, Brown said.

According to the affidavit, police claimed that Barson purchased a 12-gauge Salvage shotgun to use in the murder.

An April 29 preliminary hearing was set for Barson in municipal court on the charge. His bond is set at $500,000 cash or surety.

“I’d like to thank the Columbiana County Drug Task Force and the Prosecutor’s Office for assistance in this case. I commend Det. Haueter and the officers involved for their hard work and dedication in bringing this case to a close. If not for their efforts this case would have had a much different and tragic ending,” Brown said.

Additional details were not immediately available as the case remains under investigation.

Brown said further information will be released after the conclusion of the criminal proceedings.