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Published: Wednesday, 10/29/2003

$500,000 bond ordered in man's beating death

A South Toledo man charged in the beating death of a central city man last month was being held in the Lucas County jail last night in lieu of $500,000 bond after his arraignment in Toledo Municipal Court.

Eric L. Johnson, who also is known as Gene Webb, is charged with murder in the death of Manuel Zapata, whose body was found slumped behind the wheel of his pickup truck Sept. 27.

Eric L. Johnson, 26, of 1121 City Park Ave., was arrested Monday, the same day Toledo police charged another suspect — Takoda Johnson, 21, of 615 Belmont Ave. — in the death. Takoda Johnson was not in custody last night.

The body of Mr. Zapata, 32, of 240 21st St., was found in a lot at 1934 Washington St. near downtown Toledo. He died between 10:30 p.m. Sept. 26, when a neighbor last saw him, and 6 a.m. Sept. 27, when a passer-by saw him in the truck.

Preliminary autopsy results indicate he died from multiple blunt-force injuries to the head consistent with a beating. Court records state his neck was broken during the assault.

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