A 17-year-old Toledoan charged in a May shooting that killed one man and wounded another will face murder and assault charges as an adult, a judge in Lucas County Juvenile Court ordered Wednesday.
Damar Smith was certified to stand trial as an adult after an hour-long hearing. He is accused of injuring Terrance Cohen, 37, and killing Vicktron Moore, 30, both of Toledo, during a shooting in the 900 block of Tecumseh Street.
Judge Denise Navarre Cubbon said evidence presented in court, including testimony from Cohen and Toledo police Detective Deb Hahn, was sufficient to find probable cause that the teen committed the crime.
Cohen testified Wednesday that he was with Moore in a car on a rainy night when Moore was trying to meet up with someone. He said Moore pulled the car up to a person with whom it appeared Moore just had been speaking on a cell phone. That man, Cohen testified, came up to the car and, after a brief conversation, pulled out a gun and fired. Moore was shot in the head and Cohen was shot in the shoulder.
Because the gunman was wearing a dark sweatshirt with the hood pulled up, Cohen said he could not identify the suspect.
Detective Hahn next testified that the investigation focused on the Smith youth after phone numbers in the victim's phone led to an unregistered phone that witnesses tied to the teen. Specifically, she testified that the cell phone's records included numbers for young Smith's grandmother and girlfriend, as well as the victim.
The detective further testified that when questioned, the teen made incriminating statements.
"He said that he thought that they were going to kill him," she said. "He stated that he didn't mean for it to happen that way. He said he didn't mean to do it, and that God knows he didn't mean to do it."
When questioned by attorney Ken Phillips, Detective Hahn acknowledged that the area was frequented by gang members who traditionally wore all black, and others had used the unregistered phone. She also agreed that the Smith youth had other phones registered in his name.
Judge Cubbon noted that while the murder charge was a mandatory certification if probable cause is shown, the lower charge of felonious assault is discretionary.
The judge then made the finding that the Smith youth should face that charge in adult court for several reasons, including his criminal record and services already offered him in juvenile court; the use of a gun in the crime, and that because he turns 18 in August, the juvenile system would only have jurisdiction for three more years. She ordered the Smith youth held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $275,000 bond.
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