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Judge acquits Pettaway on charges in Springfield Twp. slayings

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    Cameo Pettaway, left, hugs Merle Dech, one of his defense attorneys, after Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge James Bates dismisses all murder charges.

    <The Blade/Jetta Fraser
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CTY-pettaway27p-1

Cameo Pettaway, left, hugs Merle Dech, one of his defense attorneys, after Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge James Bates dismisses all murder charges.

The Blade/Jetta Fraser
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Citing insufficient evidence, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge James Bates today acquitted one of two East Toledo men charged in a double homicide in Springfield Township.

Cameo Pettaway, 23, has been on trial this week for the deaths of Lisa Straub, 20, and Johnny Clarke, 21, who were found asphyxiated with plastic bags over their heads in January, 2011.

After prosecutors rested their case about 2 p.m. today, defense attorney Mark Geudtner made a motion for acquittal on the charges. He contended the state had failed to prove its case, presenting just one piece of incriminating evidence: a Newport cigarette butt with Mr. Pettaway’s DNA on it.

Judge Bates took a 10-minute break to consider the motion before returning with his decision to acquit the defendant on two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of kidnapping, and one count of aggravated burglary.

Security was heavy in the courtroom as the decision was announced.

Members of Mr. Pettaway's family left the courtroom shortly after the judge announced his decision. They were headed to the Lucas County jail where Mr. Pettaway was expected to be released.

"God gave us a victory," said Mr. Pettaway's mother, Kenyatta Baker.

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