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Published: Sunday, 3/17/2013

Sylvania Township man gets 14 years for June shooting death of man found in field

Also ordered to pay $4,347 in restitution to family for victim’s funeral expenses.

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

 

Pictures of La’Sean Robinson, Jr., worn in court on his family members’ T-shirts haunted Charles McCuin, a Sylvania Township man convicted in his death.

McCuin was so disturbed by the images he had nightmares, his attorney Ronnie Wingate told the court today before Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda sentenced McCuin to 14 years in prison.

“He doesn’t care what people think of him or how they perceive him, this was his friend, and as he indicated in the [pre-sentence] report, ‘I wish it didn’t happen. I wish I didn’t use drugs. I wish I could do it over,’” Mr. Wingate said.

McCuin, 21, of 4130 Isadore Lane, entered an Alford plea last month to a reduced charge of involuntary manslaughter with a firearms specification and tampering with evidence in the death of Mr. Robinson, 29, who was found June 10 naked and face down in a field in the 2900 block of Buckeye Street. An autopsy revealed he had been shot in the back of the head before his body was discarded in the field.

Mike Loisel, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, told the court that McCuin has maintained he fired the gun by mistake, that he was playing with it when it accidentally fired. The physical evidence, though, does not support that contention, he said.

“The physical evidence would’ve shown that the gun was placed to the victim’s head and the trigger was pulled,” Mr. Loisel said. “Whether that was a mistake or not, no one knows except the people involved.”

Judge Zmuda told Robinson he didn’t buy his explanation, saying it was “impossible” that he was just playing with the gun when it discharged.

“You can try to explain away a lot of things, but you can’t explain away physical evidence,” the judge said.

Prosecutors said McCuin, Mr. Robinson, and two others -- Xavier Tate, 29, and Michael Fizer, 28 -- had been together celebrating Mr. Robinson and Mr. Fizer’s birthdays. They were in a car after having left an after-hours club when Mr. Robinson, the front-seat passenger, was shot by McCuin who was in the back seat.

McCuin and Mr. Tate allegedly stripped Mr. Robinson’s body and left it in the field. They got rid of his clothing, cleaned out the car, and got rid of other evidence, including the gun.

Charges of tampering with evidence are pending against Mr. Tate, of 161 Austin St., and Mr. Fizer, of 2361 Hollywood Ave. Mr. Tate also is charged with obstruction of justice.

Mr. Robinson’s cousin, Latoya Robinson, told the court her family dearly missed the man they called Cheezy.

“La’Sean was the one who spread laughter and happiness to everyone he met,” she said, adding that the family consented to the plea agreement for McCuin “with some hesitation, however we wanted to ease this horrible pain.”

For his part, McCuin apologized to Mr. Robinson’s family members, who filled the front row of the courtroom. He said he’d grown up without a father, without the guidance he needed to keep him on the right path.

“It’s really because of my bad decision-making,” he said. “I wish I could change it.”

In addition to the 14-year prison sentence, Judge Zmuda ordered McCuin to pay $4,347 in restitution to the family for Mr. Robinson’s funeral expenses.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.

 



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