A continuing dispute over child custody is believed to have been a factor in Whitehall’s third homicide of 2019, in which a woman fatally shot the father of her juvenile son last week.

Whitehall police charged 38-year-old Crystal J. Lanier, of East Mound Street in Whitehall, with murder Nov. 7 in connection with the shooting death of Thomas Battle, 53, at his apartment at 4450 Josephus Lane.

Lanier was arraigned Nov. 9 in Franklin County Municipal Court, where she was ordered held without bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 18, according to court records.

While police have not identified a clear motive, Battle and Lanier “have years of history with disputes among each other,” said Whitehall police Lt. Chad Wilder.

There have been “dozens of previous calls,” with each filing complaints against the other, usually revolving around disputes over custody of their juvenile son, Wilder said.

No one else was inside the apartment when the shooting occurred, but there were witnesses at the scene, Wilder said.

Police responded at 6:44 p.m. Nov. 7 to the residence at 4450 Josephus Lane on a report of a shooting, Whitehall police Chief Mike Crispen said, where police discovered Battle suffering from gunshot injuries.

Battle was transported to Mount Carmel East Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, said Whitehall detective John Grebb.

The investigation “quickly led to the arrest” of Lanier, Grebb said.

It’s the third homicide of 2019 in Whitehall.

On Sept. 5, 29-year-old Trevel Robertson of Canal Winchester was fatally shot outside an apartment building at 768 S. Hamilton Road.

Police arrested 21-year-old Treyrek Deshawn Hairston of Whitehall after he ran into the restroom of an adjacent business.

The victim and the suspects were acquainted and argued immediately prior to the shooting, police said.

On June 25, police responded to a report of a car that struck a fire hydrant in front of a residence at McAllister and Pierce avenues.

Michael A Hogan, 20, of South James Road in Columbus was driving the car and died at the scene, police said.

A witness reported seeing a male passenger run away from the vehicle, police said.

No arrests have been made in the June 25 homicide, Deputy Chief Dan Kelso said.

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