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Published: Saturday, 5/24/2008

Toledo man dies of stab wounds; suspect is arrested at nearby bar

BY MIKE SIGOV
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Joy Harrison, 32, daughter of fatal stabbing victim Gerald Owen Webb, says her father was helpful with her children and was an excellent cook. It is going to be very hard for me now, said Ms. Harrison, a single mother of three. Joy Harrison, 32, daughter of fatal stabbing victim Gerald Owen Webb, says her father was helpful with her children and was an excellent cook. It is going to be very hard for me now, said Ms. Harrison, a single mother of three.
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A Toledo man was fatally stabbed yesterday in his central Toledo home, and police later arrested a man described as an "unwanted visitor" at the residence and charged him with murder.

Gerald Owen Webb, 61, of 1061 Nebraska Ave., was pronounced dead about 3 a.m. at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a Lucas County deputy coroner, said Webb died of a single stab wound to his chest, which pierced his lung.

Jeffrey Townsend, 38, of 119 Belmont Ave., about three blocks from the victim's house, was apprehended shortly after the stabbing, as he was about to enter the Mirage bar, Buckingham and North Hawley streets.

He was being held in the Lucas County jail pending arraignment today in Toledo Municipal Court.

Webb, a retired factory worker, was a convicted arsonist who, in 2001, survived a gunshot wound to the face.

A family member described him as a caring grandfather who liked to cook.

"It is going to be very hard for me now," said his daughter, Joy Harrison, 32, of West Toledo.

"He was helpful with my kids, doing stuff around the house. He was an excellent cook," said Ms. Harrison, a single mother of three.

The stabbing occurred about 1:45 a.m. at Webb's house near North Hawley Street during a fight that ensued after Webb called 911 and told police he had an unwanted visitor who was refusing to leave. It was unclear why the visitor was in the house or why the victim let him in, police Sgt. Phil Toney said.

Officers arrived at the house shortly after the 911 call and found Webb with a stab wound to his left side, the sergeant said.

A person attending to Webb told police she and the victim were watching television when they heard someone knocking on the door.

Webb answered and told the man that he did not want company, at which time the man entered the house and the two men began to argue, she told police.

Webb then called 911 and told the man he'd better leave because the police were on their way, at which time the two men started to fight. The visitor then stabbed the victim and fled, witnesses told officers.

During the altercation, the suspect shoved and wrestled with Webb, stabbed him with a knife, and stomped on his head, according to an affidavit filed in Toledo Municipal Court.

Sergeant Toney said the knife was not found.

Webb, a Toledo native, was released from the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction's former Lima facility June 30, 2000, after serving 10 years on arson and vandalism convictions, according to state records.

On Aug. 31, 1990, a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury found him guilty of arson and vandalism. He was sentenced to nine to 25 years for arson and 18 months for vandalism to be served concurrently, court records show.

Specific details on the case were not available yesterday.

On Sept. 14, 2001, Webb was shot at least twice in the side of the face and the chest when he opened the front door at his former residence in the 4400 block of Hill Avenue to a man who he told police was asking for Webb's brother.

Townsend served four years in a state corrections facility after he was convicted Dec. 18, 2000, in the Lucas County Common Pleas Court on charges of failure to comply and receiving stolen property.

Details on that case also were not available.

Contact Mike Sigov at:

sigov@theblade.com

or 419-724-6074.



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