Martin Cheno was “running the show” when he and three others headed out on a July night to commit a robbery, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor said Thursday.
And when a Toledo police officer in a marked patrol car came across them driving that night, it was Mr. Cheno who leaned out the window and fired a plethora of shots, he added.
“The car was struck at least four times, clearly two shots went through the windshield,” Assistant County Prosecutor Andy Lastra said. “… By the grace of God, [Officer] George Shaughnessy was able to come into this courthouse and into this courtroom and tell you what happened to him.”
Mr. Cheno, 21, of 1715 Parkdale Ave., is charged with alternate counts of attempted aggravated murder and felonious assault, each with gun and gang specifications. A jury of seven women and five men began deliberations Thursday after hearing eight witnesses over three days of testimony. Jurors were released Thursday night, with instructions to return Friday morning to continue deliberating.
Officer Shaughnessy testified on the first day of the trial that he was dispatched to an anonymous call of shots fired in the area near the former Southwyck Mall on the night of July 18, 2010. Once there, he came across a suspicious vehicle that he began to follow.
At one point, the pickup truck began making a slow, wide turn and the officer testified that all of a sudden, he was taking fire.
Two of the people in the truck that night with Mr. Cheno testified that it was Mr. Cheno who put his hand out the passenger side window and began firing a 9 mm handgun.
Several investigators testified, including crime scene investigators, that a total of 11 shots were fired. Of those, five hit the patrol vehicle, including one bullet that lodged in the driver’s side headrest.
Attorney Ronnie Wingate questioned the reliability of Mr. Cheno’s accomplices and noted that in a police interview, Mr. Cheno acknowledged that he was in the vehicle but said he was the driver. He pointed out that many of the state’s witnesses acknowledged on the witness stand that they initially lied to police when first questioned about the incident.
Assistant County Prosecutor Jeff Lingo countered that Mr. Cheno, too, lied when talking to police. He then asked jurors to consider all the evidence when trying to figure out who pulled the trigger.
The prosecutors further emphasized that although their belief was that Mr. Cheno was the shooter, under the law, he can still be guilty of the crimes as a complicitor even if he was the driver.