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Published: 7/23/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Parents of murdered Springfield Township woman testify in trials

BY ERICA BLAKE AND JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITERS
Mary Beth Straub with the cell phone which had been her daughter Lisa's at the time of her death. Mary Beth Straub with the cell phone which had been her daughter Lisa's at the time of her death.
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Jeff and Mary Beth Straub had rules for their daughter and her boyfriend — both of whom lived with them in their Springfield Township home — that including no smoking in the house.

The couple testified individually in Lucas County Common Pleas Court today during the first day of testimony on the simultaneous trials of Samuel Williams, 24, and Cameo Pettaway, 23. The men are charged with the Jan. 31, 2011, asphyxiation deaths of Lisa Straub, 20, and Johnny Clarke, 21.

The Straubs were among the first witnesses called to testify. Both men are charged with two counts each of aggravated murder and kidnapping and one count of aggravated burglary. Williams, of 1626 Kelsey Ave., faces the death penalty if convicted but death specifications were removed for Mr. Pettaway, of 133 Essex St., after a judge found him developmentally disabled.

Ms. Straub’s parents each testified that their daughter and her boyfriend lived with them in their Longacre Lane home.

During opening statements Friday for Williams’ trial, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor pointed to a Newport cigarette butt and said it provided “the untold story of who committed” the slayings of the couple.

Jeff Straub, father of Lisa Straub, with a non-functioning garage opener from the house. Jeff Straub, father of Lisa Straub, with a non-functioning garage opener from the house.
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That cigarette butt contained the DNA of both Williams and Cameo Pettaway.

The young couple were found on a floor in her parents’ home with plastic bags tied tightly around their necks with duct tape.

“The murderers in the case made a mistake — a mistake that only time and science can tell you,” prosecutor Rob Miller said on Friday. “You will hear testimony that in the corner of the doorway leading from the kitchen to the garage … police recovered a smoked Newport cigarette butt.”

In the weeks and months after the slayings, Mr. Miller said, investigators collected and analyzed numerous fingerprints, handprints, palm prints, and DNA samples from the ransacked house, but none matched any persons of interest — until last September.

Mr. Straub testified during Williams’ trial today that he did not keep large amounts of cash or valuable jewerly in the home but that he did have about $4,500 in Iraqi currency in the home. He further testified that cigarette butts found in the garbage can of a three-season room were there because of cleanup around the family pool from the summer season.

Also testifying in both trials today was Clarke’s friend Michael Dominguez, who said that he knew that his friend sold marijuana and that he took illegal pills.

The trials for both men are expected to last all week. Judge Dean Mandros is presiding over Williams’ case and Mr. Pettaway’s trial is being held before Judge James Bates.



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