Daurin Patton of Toledo, right, and his attorney, Merle Dech, listen to court proceedings on the third day of Patton’s murder trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. He is accused in the shooting deaths of Veronica Serrano and her son Timothy Blair, 14.
The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Gary Blair said that when he and a friend were approached by a dark figure dressed in black, he began “cussing” at him, believing it was his brother. Instead, they were looking at the end of a sawed-off shotgun.
That was the first Mr. Blair said he saw of the man later arrested and charged in the Nov. 25, 2011, shooting deaths of his mother and 14-year-old brother.
Mr. Blair testified Wednesday on the third day of Daurin Patton’s murder trial in Lucas County Common Pleas Court. Patton, 27, of 1202 Champlain St. is charged with two counts of aggravated murder with a gun specification and one count of aggravated robbery. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Mr. Blair, 18, said once he realized he wasn’t talking to his brother, he tried to apologize but was instead struck in the head by the gun. He ran to his nearby home on Page Street and told his family what happened.
“I told my mom I got hit in the head. … They ran outside,” he said of his mother, Veronica Serrano, and brother, Timothy Blair. “They were looking for a fight, but they didn’t know he had a gun.”
Mr. Blair said he was inside when he heard his younger brother trying to calm down someone whom the teen called “Thirty Eight,” what others have testified was Patton’s street name. He was also inside when he heard several gunshots.
Timothy Blair died on the porch. Ms. Serrano was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
During opening statements Tuesday, Assistant Prosecutor Michael Bahner told jurors Patton was a member of a gang known as the “Baghdad Boys,” who are active in the North Toledo neighborhood where the shooting occurred.
He outlined the encounter between the shooter and Mr. Blair’s family, saying Ms. Serrano and her son were killed last year “for nothing.”
He then asked jurors to label Patton “a murderer times two.”
Defense attorney Merle Dech told jurors it is unclear who pulled the trigger. He asked jurors to consider the inconsistencies in the stories of those who testify.
Among those who testified Tuesday was Lawrence Elliot, who was with Mr. Blair when they were initially approached by the man with a gun. Elliot pointed to Patton in the courtroom and said he was the one who robbed him of a bottle of liquor on the night of Nov. 25, 2011, then returned to kill Ms. Serrano and Timothy Blair.
“He pulled out a gun and shot both of them right there on the porch,” Elliot testified. “Timmy got shot twice and Veronica got shot once. He died right there looking at me on the porch. He was 14 years old.”
Before witness testimony began Tuesday, the eight women and four men on the jury were driven to Page Street in North Toledo, where they viewed the porch where the shooting took place. They were asked to take note of four other houses and two vacant lots in the 1300 block of Page Street.
Several law enforcement officers testified over the two days, including both of those who responded to the call about the shooting and experts who analyzed the scene and the evidence. Toledo police Detective William Goetz testified that bullet holes left at the scene and found in the victims’ clothing indicated the murder weapon was a high-powered rifle.
An SKS semiautomatic rifle was found several blocks away from the scene in March, months after the crime. A state firearms expert testified Wednesday that the casings and bullet fragments found at the murder scene were consistent with the weapon but that no positive identification could be made.
Testimony is to continue today. Judge Dean Mandros is presiding over the trial.
Contact Erica Blake at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.