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Published: Friday, 5/25/2012

Toledoan guilty for role in fatal shooting

Assistant county prosecutor says Arnold helped plan November incident

Kevin Arnold pleaded no contest to aggravated robbery and a one-year gun specification. He will cooperate in other cases. Kevin Arnold pleaded no contest to aggravated robbery and a one-year gun specification. He will cooperate in other cases.

The string of events that resulted in the shooting death of an East Toledo man in his home began when Kevin Arnold suggested a robbery, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor said.

"Kevin Arnold directed [a co-defendant] specifically to the home of the victim. At the time, some were in possession of masks and some were in possession of handguns," Assistant Prosecutor Andy Lastra said. "The evidence would suggest that Kevin Arnold clearly knew the purpose of going to Raynail Gaiter's home."

Arnold, 23, of 55 Poplar St. pleaded no contest and was found guilty Thursday of aggravated robbery and a one-year gun specification. As part of the plea, Arnold agreed to cooperate with authorities in the prosecution of co-defendants and additional charges will be dismissed.

Mr. Gaiter, 31, was shot to death Nov. 10 and another man was injured during the robbery.

Authorities said Arnold was in the car when co-defendants Quandre Willingham, Reynard Lewis, and Samojay Edwards went to the door of Mr. Gaiter's Ravine Park Village apartment, where they forced their way inside. Willingham struck Mr. Gaiter in the head with a handgun and in doing so, a shot was discharged into the wall.

The men demanded property of Mr. Gaiter and another man, Sotero Thompson, inside, Mr. Lastra said. During the robbery, Mr. Lewis shot Mr. Thompson in the abdomen and Mr. Gaiter in the head, the prosecutor said.

The men left with drugs, cash, and a gun, he added.

Arnold is the fourth man to enter a plea for his involvement in the death.

In March, Kurt Finley, 19, of 220 E. Pearl St. pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and aggravated robbery, both with a one-year gun specification.

A month later, Willingham, 22, of 1016 Baker St. was found guilty after pleading no contest to one count each of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, felonious assault with a gun specification, and having a weapon as a felon. Also in April, Samojay Edwards, 19, of 1123 Noble St. pleaded no contest and was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter with a gun specification.

The men are to be sentenced June 26 by Judge Frederick McDonald.

Authorities said the four men as well as Mr. Lewis, 20, of 3815 Revere Dr. and Darrick E. Newsome, 18, of 911 Alvison Rd. were involved in Mr. Gaiter's death. Willingham, Mr. Lewis, and Mr. Newsome were also charged in a second homicide, the Nov. 7 death of Darnell Townsend-Tall, who was robbed of cash and shot twice in the head in front of his North Toledo home.

Mr. Newsome and Mr. Lewis have cases pending before Judge Gene Zmuda.

During Arnold's plea, Judge McDonald questioned Arnold's involvement and noted he was not present for the shooting but was involved in the planning. He also said the plea was acceptable to the victim's family and the investigating officer.

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

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