A courtroom disturbance exploded into what an official described as a riot after six people reacted to a teenager’s sentence on a rape conviction Wednesday in the Lucas County Common Pleas courthouse.
All six people were charged with varying counts of aggravated rioting, menacing, petty theft, and resisting arrest, and one woman was additionally charged with assaulting a police officer. They were all being held in the Lucas County jail Wednesday night.
The suspects were described by court officials as family members and supporters of Anthony Mitchell, 16, sentenced to 21 years in prison by Judge Linda Jennings.
● Antoine Pernell, 35, of 812 Walbridge Ave., one count of aggravated menacing;
● Myesha Newton, 19, 6365 Glenridge Dr., one count each of aggravated rioting, menacing, and resisting arrest;
● Anthony Mitchell, 39, 828 Magnolia St., one count each of aggravated rioting, aggravated menacing, and resisting arrest;
● Sonia Nieto, 24, 230½ Weber St., one count each of aggravated rioting, assault on a police officer, and resisting arrest;
● Angel Bowman, 25, 230½ Weber St., and Markella Lawrence, 30, 420 Elizabeth St., both charged with one count each of aggravated rioting, petty theft, menacing, and resisting arrest.
Aggravated rioting and aggravated menacing are felonies; resisting arrest, menacing, and petty theft are misdemeanor charges.
The incident began after Mitchell was sentenced in Judge Jennings’ courtroom. Several of Mitchell’s family members, including his father, became upset after the sentence was announced and “began to cause a disturbance,” police wrote in an incident report. It was unclear which suspect charged was Mitchell’s father.
Court security escorted the group from the third floor of the courthouse to the grounds outside, where the suspects became more agitated and were placed under arrest, police said. Before being escorted out, some of the suspects yelled profanities and made physical threats to the 23-year-old victim in the case, police Sgt. Joe Heffernan said.
The victim was escorted out of the courtroom.
The suspects also are accused of cursing at and making threats to Toledo police officers and Lucas County sheriff’s deputies, Sergeant Heffernan said.
“It turned into a little bit of a riot,” he said.
Police Detective Shelli Kilburn was physically assaulted during the skirmish. Ms. Nieto is accused of jumping on her back. The detective did not appear to be seriously injured shortly after the incident, as she stood on Adams Street outside the courthouse.
Officials said that, during the assault, one or more of the suspects grabbed Detective Kilburn’s keys and ran off with them. Authorities said they were thrown into a bush, resulting in the petty-theft charges.
Jury members in a double-murder trial in Judge Dean Mandros’ courtroom were placed under a brief lockdown while deputies and officers cleared out the agitators.
Mitchell, 16, of 5364 Glenridge Dr. previously had entered a plea to aggravated robbery with a gun specification and to rape. He and co-defendant Kenneth Moore, 19, of 801 Magnolia were convicted of raping a woman at gunpoint after going to her apartment and asking that she buy candles for a fund-raiser.
Authorities said the two teens would go to residences and businesses to sell candles.
The victim saw the two at the door of her Ryan Road apartment on July 16, where she declined to buy any candles. Authorities said the victim was asked by Moore to use her bathroom and “against her better judgment,” she allowed him inside.
The victim was forced at gunpoint to strip out of her clothing and, after being threatened that they were going to have sex with her, was forced to perform oral sex on both defendants.
Moore was sentenced Nov. 7 to 23 years in prison.
Mitchell was sentenced to 10 years in prison for both rape and aggravated burglary plus an additional one year for a gun specification. The sentences were ordered to be served consecutively.
Both men were labeled sex offenders and will be required once released from prison to register their addresses with the sheriff every 90 days for life.
Contact Taylor Dungjen at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @tdungjen_blade.