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Published: Wednesday, 10/2/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

LUCAS COUNTY COMMON PLEAS COURT

Murder trial of Toledo man heads to jury

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A jury in Lucas County Common Pleas Court today is to begin deliberating the fate of a Toledo man charged with shooting another man to death at the Ravine Park Village housing complex last fall.

Jonathon Johnson, 23, of 1657 Vance St. is charged with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault, and carrying a concealed weapon stemming from the Oct. 5, 2012, shooting death of Jonathan Morris, 22.

The jury of nine women and three men listened to three days of testimony before hearing closing arguments Wednesday afternoon. Jurors agreed to return at 9 a.m. today to begin deliberations in the case.

In his closing argument, defense attorney Dave Klucas told the jury that much of the state’s case hinged on the testimony of two men who also are charged in the aggravated murder but who were given “extraordinary” plea deals. Andrew Goetz, 29, of 614 Earl St. and Chaz Jackson, 28, of 1158 Clark St. agreed to plead guilty to robbery in exchange for their testimony against Mr. Johnson.

Both Goetz and Mr. Jackson took the stand during the trial to say they saw Mr. Johnson shoot Mr. Morris. They said they went to Ravine Park Village to take back some money and drugs that Goetz believed Mr. Morris had stolen from him earlier that night at the Bottom Line bar. Goetz said he struck Mr. Morris in the head with a revolver loaned to him by Mr. Johnson and that Mr. Jackson removed Mr. Morris’ pants to get back Goetz’s property.

Mr. Klucas told the jury the two men simply cannot be believed and the state’s evidence doesn’t support what they said if the jury did believe them.

“They don’t have any evidence that backs these guys up,” he said.

Andy Lastra, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, refuted Mr. Klucas’ claims, saying the state’s case was not built on the testimony of Goetz and Mr. Jackson, but on physical evidence from the scene.

He lined up the 10 22-caliber bullets found in Mr. Johnson’s possession after police chased him down and arrested him the night of the homicide. He said it was Mr. Johnson’s DNA found on the grip of the gun. And, while the gun itself was never recovered, the grip was found at the scene and the bullet taken from the victim’s body matched the 22-caliber bullets Mr. Johnson had.

“Sure, they’re getting a heckuva deal,” Mr. Lastra said of Goetz and Mr. Jackson. “But this case wasn’t put together solely because of Andrew Goetz and Chaz Jackson.”

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



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