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Toledoan on trial for murder takes the witness stand

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On the fourth day of his trial on murder charges, Lavelle Allen took the witness stand Thursday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, telling the jury he shot his friend to save his own life.

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Lavelle Allen, with attorney Jon Richardson, left, is arraigned in January, 2018 in Toledo Municipal Court. He is accused of shooting and killing Larry Pendleton at the Moody Manor apartments.

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Mr. Allen, 23, of the 2200 block of Kent Street is charged with alternate counts of murder for the Jan. 18 shooting death of Larry “Rocky” Pendleton, 31, inside Mr. Allen's Moody Manor apartment.

While prosecutors contend Mr. Allen punched and then shot Mr. Pendleton in a fit of rage, Mr. Allen told the jury it was Mr. Pendleton who picked a fight with him. He said Mr. Pendleton was angry because he saw Mr. Allen buying marijuana when Mr. Allen owed him money.

The verbal argument turned violent, Mr. Allen said, when Mr. Pendleton started punching him, and he fought back. At one point, Mr. Allen said, Mr. Pendleton pulled out a gun.

“I was scared. I never had a gun pointed at me in my life. ... I thought I was literally about to die,” Mr. Allen said

He claimed that as he reached out to grab the gun, Mr. Pendleton fired and he quickly grabbed the gun and fired.

“I just reacted because he was lunging back for it,” Mr. Allen said.

Defense attorney Kurt Bruderly asked him how many times he fired. Mr. Allen said he had no idea. He dropped the gun and froze.

His account did not jibe with the testimony of Myisha Neal, who was in the apartment that night and said it was Mr. Allen who pulled out a gun and began firing at Mr. Pendleton.

Mr. Allen conceded he did not immediately call 911, instead hiding a bag of marijuana another friend had left at his apartment. He said he called his father and smoked, though he “had every intention of calling 911.”

The trial, in the courtroom of Judge Gene Zmuda, is to resume Friday.

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

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