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Published: Tuesday, 9/20/2011

Toledoan convicted in killing of shop owner

Defendant enters plea before start of trial

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Osley Osley
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No one saw Luis Osley pull the trigger that ended William Cars­well’s life, but video surveillance of the area surrounding the East Toledo resale shop where the shooting occurred showed no one else was there at the time, an assistant county prosecutor said Monday.

On the day he was to go to trial for murder, Osley, 27, of 4114 Fairview Drive, entered an Alford plea in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to involuntary manslaughter with a gun specification and aggravated burglary. He faces up to 23 years in prison when sentenced by Judge Ruth Ann Franks Friday.

“The significant factor leading to the plea is the fact that there is no one who saw what happened,” Assistant County Prosecutor Andy Lastra said after the hearing. He added that although the plea dropped the possible sentence from life in prison to 23 years behind bars, the family agreed to the resolution to avoid the “ordeal of having to go through a trial.”

Originally charged with alternate counts of aggravated murder, murder, and aggravated robbery, each with gun specifications, Osley was found guilty of the Dec. 11 shooting of Mr. Carswell, known as Lamar.

In an Alford plea, the defendant maintains his innocence or does not admit he committed a crime but acknowledges evidence is sufficient for a conviction. The court treats it as a guilty plea.

Mr. Carswell, 53, who was legally blind, was shot twice. He was found in the back room of Main Street Exchange, 134 Main St., his family’s resale shop. He died of a gunshot wound to the chest that pierced his heart, Mr. Lastra said.

Also charged in the crime is Osley’s cousin Alexander Osley.

Before the shooting, several people saw the cousins in the shop where Luis Osley and Mr. Carswell were negotiating over a television. Mr. Lastra said that just after 4 p.m., when the shooting occurred, only the cousins and Mr. Carswell remained.

Although the shop had no surveillance video cameras, an outside camera from another business shows Alexander Osley at the door of the shop at the time Mr. Carswell was killed.

That left his cousin as the only possible shooter, Mr. Lastra said.

Mr. Carswell’s body was found by a store employee.

Using a statement by Alexander Osley, police recovered two shell casings that matched the bullets found at the scene.

The gun was not recovered, Mr. Lastra said.

Judge Franks noted that the evidence was “overly sufficient” to find Osley guilty. She asked for an expedited presentence report so as to be able to sentence him Friday.

Alexander Osley, 26, of 402 Daniels Ave., is to go to trial Oct. 11 on alternate counts of aggravated murder, murder, and aggravated robbery, each with gun specifications.

He had previously negotiated and then withdrawn a plea to an amended count of robbery.

Contact Erica Blake at: eblake@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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