Terrence Singer has admitted he stabbed his friend Thomas Cauley with a butcher knife last March, but it will be up to a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury to decide if that constituted murder.
The jury seated Monday will also hear allegations that Singer, 54, of the 2000 block of Robinwood Avenue sent a letter to a witness in the case July 28 warning her not to show up for court to testify.
Khaled Elwardany, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, told the jury in opening statements that they will see amply physical evidence, including blood, DNA, and the alleged murder weapon itself. They also will hear Singer confess during a videotaped interview with Toledo police.
“He tells [the detective] how he was telling Tommy about how he was hearing voices, and all Tommy did was he grabbed him by the shirt and said, 'Shake it off, man. Shake it off,'” Mr. Elwardany said. “Misguided, but that was Thomas's way of trying to help his friend.”
Singer retrieved a large butcher knife from his bedroom and stabbed Mr. Cauley, 56, twice, with one thrust passing through his rib cage to his heart. Mr. Elwardany said Singer then left his Old West End apartment to smoke crack cocaine with a friend.
Mr. Cauley's body was not found until the next day, wrapped in a sheet at the foot of Singer's bed.
Defense attorney Jack Viren told the jury the case has many undisputed facts, but there are also some complicating factors. Singer, he said, suffers from mental illnesses.
“On the day prior to March 7, Terrence Singer was suffering from a major depressive episode and attempted to commit suicide,” Mr. Viren said. “He told one of the psychologists that he had taken six different kinds of pills, and on the 7th when he started to come to is when Thomas Cauley came over to visit.”
Mr. Cauley, he said, was highly intoxicated when he grabbed Singer, and Singer grabbed a knife and stabbed him.
“You as jurors are going to have to rely on instructions from the judge regarding the law [to determine] if this rises to the level of murder or if it's some other offense,“ Mr. Viren said. “It's a technical decision that you're going to have to make in applying the law to the facts of the case.”
Mr. Elawardany told the jury that while Singer has mental-health issues, he was evaluated by two professionals after his arrest, and they concluded that he knew what he was doing when he stabbed Mr. Cauley.
“He knew exactly what he was doing,” Mr. Elawardany said. “He understood what he was doing was wrong. He was sane at the time he did it.”
The trial before Judge Michael Goulding is expected to last three days.
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