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Toledo man goes on trial for 2 killings


Traquawn Gibson, 19, confers with his attorney, Meira Zucker, as his jury trial begins for two deaths: the Oct. 18 murder of Deontae Allen of Toledo and the Nov. 18 aggravated murder of his longtime girlfriend, CreJonnia ‘C.J.’ Bell, also of Toledo.

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Though they had each other’s name tattooed on their chests, Traquawn Gibson shot his longtime girlfriend, C.J. Bell, to death because of what she knew about another homicide, prosecutors alleged in court Monday.

“While the state has no burden to prove a person’s motive, the evidence will establish that the defendant killed C.J. because of what she knew about the murder of another man, Deontae Allen,” Brad Smith, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, told a jury in opening statements. “You see, the defendant is a gang member — a Blood, more specifically, a Moody Manor Blood or Manor Boy.”

Mr. Gibson, 19, of 2720 Elm St. went on trial Monday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for aggravated murder in the Nov. 18 shooting death of CreJonnia “C.J.” Bell, 19, and for murder, felonious assault, aggravated robbery, and participating in a criminal gang for an Oct. 18 incident in which Mr. Allen, 19, was robbed and shot to death and his friend, Limmie Reynolds III, 20, was shot but survived.

Defense attorney Meira Zucker told the jury it would hear a confusing set of facts and theories about what happened in the two homicides from prosecutors.

“This is a complex situation to unravel,” she said. “The state has its theory, which you’ve heard about the how and why, but as the evidence unfolds, as the motivation and discussions are explained to you, you’re going to be a bit confused. The prosecution’s theory is not going to make sense. It is not going to fit the facts.”

The guns used in the two shootings were of a different caliber, she said.

And Ms. Bell was shot in the middle of the street, with the opportunity for many witnesses to see and hear it.

“The prosecution’s contention that these two shootings are all part of one carefully created scheme created by then-18-year-old Tra-quawn Gibson — you’ll have doubts,” Ms. Zucker said.

Mr. Smith said Mr. Allen and Mr. Reynolds were sitting in a parked car, smoking marijuana on Fernwood Avenue, when Mr. Gibson and two fellow gang members approached the car and pulled out a gun to rob them.

Both got out of the car and ran. Both were shot.

A month later, according to Mr. Smith, Mr. Gibson fired about 10 bullets at Ms. Bell in the middle of Weber Street, five of which struck her.

Mr. Gibson sustained a gunshot wound to his right leg that night, Mr. Smith said.

The trial, which is to last a week, resumes today.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: or 419-213-2134.

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