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Published: Thursday, 2/9/2006

Victim of beating in North Toledo dies

BY TAD VEZNER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

A man beaten on the head with a pipe last week during a burglary in North Toledo died yesterday in Toledo Hospital.

Robert Smead, 55, of Toledo, was taken off life support and pronounced dead at 10:30 a.m.

Smead was found unconscious in front of a residence at 575 Austin St. about 3 a.m. Jan. 31. Witnesses at the scene said two men struck him and then fled in a white minivan.

Later that day, Andre D. Rice, 41, of Toledo and Charles R. Lowe, 36, of Jerusalem Township, were picked up by police while driving a similar van, in which a bank card belonging to Smead was found.

Toledo Municipal Court documents dated later that day said Rice confessed to striking Smead with a metal pole, and Mr. Lowe confessed to taking Smead's wallet after he was unconscious.

The next day, the two were charged with one count each of felonious assault and aggravated robbery. They are being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $500,000 bonds.

Police said they would await the results of an autopsy on Smead today before amending the charges against the men.

Lt. William Moton said he hoped to get an indictment against the two within a week.

Rice spent 21 months in prison for a prior robbery conviction, starting in June, 2002. He was released in March, 2004, and was on parole until June of last year.

Smead had several prior convictions for passing bad checks, for which he spent about four years in jail during the 1990s, though police believe the robbery was not related to Smead's history.

"This was just a robbery that went bad. We have no knowledge of him being acquainted with the men. He was helping someone at the time," Lieutenant Moton said.

Don Durban, Sr., a brother of Smead, said Smead was helping an old girlfriend move furniture when he was attacked.

A self-employed mechanic, Smead was described by Mr. Durban as "a loner type-of-guy" who had fallen out of touch and kept to himself.



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