When Demeko McDaniel left a North Toledo house where Junior Francous was found shot to death last spring, he left behind a bloody footprint and a mask containing his DNA.
McDaniel pleaded guilty Monday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to murder with a gun specification for the May 22 shooting death of Francous, known as “Pinchy,” as well as aggravated robbery with a gun specification for carjacking a getaway vehicle.
“You went there armed with a firearm? A handgun?” Assistant County Prosecutor J. Christopher Anderson asked during the plea.
“Yes,” McDaniel said.
“While you were there, you shot and killed Junior Francous?”
McDaniel, 21, of 209 Courtland Ave., was arrested two days after the shooting at Mercy Memorial Hospital in Monroe, where he had gone for treatment for a gunshot wound to the leg. He was extradited to Lucas County, where he was charged with aggravated murder, aggravated burglary, and two counts each of felonious assault and aggravated robbery.
Under the plea agreement Mr. Anderson described, McDaniel pleaded guilty to murder and aggravated robbery, while the other counts were dismissed. McDaniel also entered an Alford plea to one count of burglary for an unrelated case in which he broke into an unoccupied home and stole a television.
In an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit to committing a crime, but acknowledges evidence is sufficient for a conviction. The court treats it as a guilty plea.
Judge Myron Duhart found McDaniel guilty of the three charges and set a Feb. 12 sentencing date. McDaniel faces life in prison, with up to 35 years before parole eligibility depending on whether the judge orders his three sentences to be concurrent or consecutive.
Francous, 39, was found dead inside 1018 Bricker Ave. just before 3 p.m. when Toledo’s SWAT unit entered the home, two hours after a shots-fired call there. The victim was shot once in the chest and once in the face at close range.
Within minutes of the shooting, a woman who was reportedly picking up a friend for school in the 1100 block of Homer Avenue, several blocks away from the Bricker address, was carjacked by a man who put a gun to her head and told her to get out of her car, Mr. Anderson said. The car was later recovered about two blocks from McDaniel’s home, with McDaniel’s blood inside.
The victim’s grandmother attended the plea hearing but declined to comment until sentencing. Attorney Don Cameron, who represents McDaniel, also declined to comment.
Just prior to being led from the courtroom, McDaniel asked to speak to Judge Duhart.
“I just want to say that it was an accident,” he said. “I didn’t do it on purpose.”
The judge told McDaniel that his comments were more appropriate for his sentencing hearing.
Contact Erica Blake at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-213-2134.