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Toledoan on trial for murder acted in self-defense, lawyer says

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    Lavelle Allen sits at the defense table during his trial for murder in the shooting death of Larry Pendleton at Moody Manor in Lucas County Courthouse on Monday.

    THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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    Mark Herr, an assistant county prosecutor, gives his opening statement during the trial of Lavelle Allen for murder in the shooting death of Larry Pendleton at Moody Manor in Lucas County Courthouse on Monday.

    THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
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  • CTY-allen27p-3

    Lavelle Allen looks into the gallery during his trial for murder in the shooting death of Larry Pendleton at Moody Manor in Lucas County Courthouse on Monday.

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Lavelle Allen and Larry Pendleton were having “a petty argument,” the kind they often had, Myisha Neal said Monday, when Mr. Allen began striking Mr. Pendleton in the face with brass knuckles.

Another friend, Tyrone Jones, separated Mr. Allen and Mr. Pendleton, whom she knew as Rocky. Then Mr. Allen pulled out a gun, she testified.

“Pow. Pow. Pow. Pow,” Ms. Neal testified. “This time, Rocky's body slides down in the corner. Tyrone looks over at him, and he says, 'T. T. Help me,' and then his eyes roll back in his head.”

Mr. Allen, 23, of the 2200 block of Kent Street went on trial Monday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court on alternate counts of murder for the Jan. 18 shooting death of Mr. Pendleton, 31.

Defense attorney Kurt Bruderly told the jury in his opening statement that Mr. Allen admits he shot Mr. Pendleton, but he contended that Mr. Allen was defending himself against a violent Mr. Pendleton.

Even if the jury does not find that Mr. Allen's actions meet the legal definition of self-defense, Mr. Bruderly said, his actions certainly don't meet the legal elements of murder.

“There's always two sides to every story, and we often find the truth lies somewhere in the various shades of gray,” Mr. Bruderly said.

He said Mr. Pendleton, Mr. Jones, and Ms. Neal were at Mr. Allen's apartment in the Moody Manor complex partying when Mr. Allen and Mr. Pendleton began arguing over money that Mr. Allen owed him. Mr. Allen told him to leave.

“Rocky was relentless. He would not back down. He wouldn't leave,” Mr. Bruderly said. “He brandished brass knuckles and began to strike Lavelle. It didn't do much so he pulled a gun ... and pointed it at him.”

Mr. Allen wrestled the gun from Mr. Pendleton and began firing, Mr. Bruderly said.

Mark Herr, an assistant county prosecutor, told the jury it was Mr. Allen — driven by anger — who brandished the brass knuckles. It was Mr. Allen, he said, who pulled out a gun and fired four times, killing Mr. Pendleton.

“We believe the evidence will be that this defendant shot his friend, Larry Pendleton, out of anger, not out of a need to defend himself, and that this death was totally unnecessary,” Mr. Herr said.

The trial, which is expected to last much of the week, is to resume Tuesday in the courtroom of Judge Gene Zmuda.

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

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