State moves to close 2021 teen shooting and robbery incidents


Prosecutor Brent Eaton said the robbery and shooting incident involving multiple county teenagers from October, 2021 should be wrapped within the next few weeks.

GREENFIELD — Two of the four teenagers involved in the shooting incident at a house on North Noble Street where another teen was wounded in October have had six of the seven charges against them dismissed. The original charges included an armed robbery the night before the shooting incident, something officials discovered during their investigation.

Two of the teenager’s cases were settled separately in Hancock County Superior Court 1 recently after plea agreements were reached.

Jesse Ray Ford, 16, 800 block of N. Noble Street, was sentenced to a two-year prison term during a change of plea hearing Friday. Ford admitted his guilt to a Level 6 felony count of assisting a criminal while six other charges, including four different Level 3 felony counts of armed robbery, were dismissed.

The two-year term calls for one year to be executed in prison and one year to be suspended to probation. Ford will get jail credit, 202 days, for time served and was ordered to be released from juvenile detention court documents state.

Ford joins his brother, Mason Scott Ford, 16, 800 block of N. Noble Street, who was facing the exact same charges and received the exact same plea agreement in late May, also in Superior Court 1. He was sentenced to a two-year term with one year suspended. He received jail credit for 358 days and was ordered to be released from juvenile detention, court records stated.

Prosecutor Brent Eaton noted the evidence in the case called for a plea agreement rather than sending the Fords to trial.

“It’s not uncommon in cases where there are multiple people where all of them get initially charged, but you find out what roles each of them played as things move along,” Eaton said. “The plea agreement is what the evidence supports.”

The charges against the teens came after a lengthy investigation by detectives from the Greenfield Police Department into the Oct. 7, 2021 shooting in which a 15-year-old boy was wounded in the arm. The teens were also accused of an armed robbery that occued on Oct. 6, 2021.

The shooting took place around 6:40 a.m. at a home in the 800 block of North Noble Street. Officials noted at the time of the shooting, the incident took place at the house where the Ford brothers lived. That’s where the 15-year-old boy was shot in the arm during a gathering of teenagers at the residence. The wounded teen has since recovered from the shooting, officials said.

Police said the Fords and two other teenagers, Ethan Emilio Melendez, 17, Greenfield, and Jayden Lewis Polston, 16, Fortville, were all involved and present at the shooting.

According to initial reports, the Fords and Polston were also involved in an incident the night before the shooting happened. They were accused of robbing at gunpoint a couple of area teens who were walking near the parking lot of the Greenfield Friends Church in the 300 block of West Park Avenue on Oct. 6, 2021, the night before the shooting.

One of the teens who was robbed was carrying a backpack with camping supplies, including a first aid kit and a hand-held chainsaw. The teen also had $300 to $500 in cash, the affidavit said.

In the affidavit, one of the victims identified Polston as the person with “a black handgun with a really big magazine.” The other two robbers were identified as Jesse Ray Ford and Mason Scott Ford.

During an investigation, police located a black Glock 19 pistol with an extended magazine, the affidavit said. The gun belonged to Polston, officials said, and had been altered to fire automatically.

Melendez, who was not involved in the robbery but was present the morning of the shooting, is scheduled to be sentenced in Hancock County Circuit Court on July 14.

The agreement states Melendez will enter a guilty plea to a Level 5 felony count of carrying a handgun without a license. Melendez is expected to receive a five-year term to be served at the Indiana Department of Corrections with one year to be executed. However, the judge in the case, Scott Sirk, can alter the agreement if he sees fit.

The other three charges against Melendez are expected to be dropped, including a Level 4 felony count of operating a loaded machine gun and two Level 6 felonies.

Polston is facing 11 charges in all, including four counts of armed robbery – Level 3 felonies; possession of a machine gun and carrying a handgun without a license, both Level 5 felonies; three Level 6 felonies; and two misdemeanor gun and theft charges.

Eaton noted Polston’s case should be wrapped up within the next month. Polston currently has a final pretrial conference slated for Thursday, June 16 in Superior Court 1, however a plea agreement might be signed before then.