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Published: Saturday, 5/31/2014 - Updated: 2 months ago

Half-brothers plead guilty in 2013 slaying

2 face life for complicity to murder

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

On the eve of their trial for the murder and robbery of a Waterville Township man, half-brothers James and Phillip Allen, Jr., pleaded guilty Friday to their roles in the crime.

James Allen, 19, of 1732 E. Westland Gardens Rd. and Phillip Allen, 23, of 321 O’Connell St. each entered guilty pleas to complicity to aggravated murder before Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart for the May 18, 2013, shooting death of James Safadi, 34, at his home at 8940 S. River Rd.

While the charge carried a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole, Michael Loisel, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said that as part of a plea agreement, he will ask the court to impose an agreed-upon sentence of life in prison with parole eligibility after 25 years for both men.

He said additional charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, and three firearms specifications are to be dismissed as part of the agreement, and prosecutors will recommend concurrent sentences for the two men if they are convicted in two unrelated cases now pending before the court — a felonious assault charge against James and a charge of carrying a concealed weapon against Phillip.

The two defendants, who talked and laughed together before the hearing, said little when the proceeding got under way. Their attorneys — Merle Dech for James and Joseph Urenovitch for Phillip — asked their clients the same four questions about that night.

“On May 18, 2013, did you enter 8940 S. River Rd. located in Waterville Township, Lucas County, Ohio?”

“Did you enter that residence without permission but with force, stealth, and/​or deception?”

“At that time were you armed with a loaded firearm for the purpose to rob one James Safadi of money?”

“And Mr. Safadi, during that robbery, sustained three gunshot wounds resulting in his death?”

Both James and Phillip answered “yeah” or “yes” to each question.

On May 19, two co-defendants in the case also admitted their roles in the fatal home invasion.

Ronald Rooker, 33, of 8930 S. River Rd. said he did not enter his neighbor’s house but recruited the three men to rob him, believing Mr. Safadi kept a large amount of cash at home. Rooker pleaded guilty to complicity to involuntary manslaughter, complicity to aggravated robbery, and complicity to aggravated burglary. He faces an agreed-upon sentence of 25 years when he is sentenced June 24.

Adam Anderson, 20, of 2436 Fulton St. pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and aggravated burglary after admitting he broke into the house with the Allen brothers by prying open a basement window and confronting Mr. Safadi and his girlfriend in their bedroom with guns drawn. He faces up to 22 years at his sentencing June 25.

Mr. Loisel said an autopsy showed that Mr. Safadi sustained three gunshot wounds, including a fatal shot to the chest. He said investigators for the Lucas County Sheriff’s Office and members of the Safadi family were informed of the plea agreements.

“While they believe that no sentence is sufficient to bring back James Safadi they do understand and accept this proposed resolution,” Mr. Loisel said.

Judge Duhart set sentencing for the Allens for Wednesday.

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



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