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Published: Saturday, 2/23/2013

Man enters Alford pleas in June death of friend

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Charles McCuin Charles McCuin
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Somewhere between an after-hours club where a group of friends had been and one of their homes, Lesean Robinson, Jr., was shot in the back of the head inside a car.

On Friday, the backseat passenger in that car, Charles McCuin, 21, of 4130 Isadore Lane entered Alford pleas to involuntary manslaughter with a firearms specification and tampering with evidence. He faces up to 17 years in prison when he is sentenced March 15 by Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda.

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.

Mike Loisel, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, told the court that McCuin was in a car with Mr. Robinson, 29, Xavier Tate, and Michael Fizer on June 10 when McCuin “produced a handgun and killed Mr. Robinson with a gunshot in the back of his head.”

Mr. Loisel said that while McCuin claims the gun discharged accidentally, the evidence would have shown McCuin and Mr. Tate dumped Mr. Robinson’s naked body in a north Toledo field and got rid of other evidence, including the victim’s clothing and the gun.

A passerby found the victim’s naked body, lying face down, in a field in the 2900 block of Buckeye Street.

Relatives of Mr. Robinson cried as the account of events was given.

Sitting in for Judge Zmuda, Judge Frederick McDonald asked Mr. Loisel whether the investigating officers and victim’s family supported the plea agreement, which calls for the dismissal of the more serious charge of murder.

“They are not exactly thrilled but they understand the reason behind it, and there is no objection,” he replied.

McCuin had been scheduled to go to trial Monday.

Defense attorney Ronnie Wingate said afterward that his client and the victim were friends. “It was very unfortunate,” he said.

Charges of tampering with evidence are pending against Mr. Tate and Mr. Fizer. Mr. Tate also is charged with obstruction of justice.



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