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Published: Friday, 8/9/2013

Toledoan beaten over pocket change dies

Meyers Meyers

Four days after a brutal assault stemming from a dispute over 75 cents, a resident and volunteer worker at a downtown Toledo rescue mission died on Wednesday.

Joseph Meyers, 53, was pronounced dead in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center at 5:58 p.m., Toledo police announced Thursday.

Sgt. Joe Heffernan said police plan to present a murder charge against his alleged attacker, Houston Hart, 49, when the case goes before the Lucas County grand jury.

Mr. Hart faced a felonious assault charge, for which he was being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $1 million bond.

Police said Mr. Meyers, 53, was beaten and stomped Saturday at the Toledo Gospel Rescue Mission, 1917 Jefferson Ave., after refusing to give Mr. Hart 75 cents.

Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a Lucas County deputy coroner, said she needed to review police reports and medical records before ruling on the cause of Mr. Meyers' death or releasing information from an autopsy that was performed Thursday.

Mr. Meyers had stayed at the mission for 19 months, said the Rev. Thomas Clapsaddle, the mission's executive director.

Mr. Hart stayed there on-and-off for about six months, and the two were acquaintances who both volunteered at the mission.

For more than a month in 2011, Mr. Meyers, who struggled with alcohol and drug addiction for most of his life, wrote blog posts for examiner.com, explaining in detail how to tinker with gadgets, change watch batteries, and replace old circuit breakers. In one post he wrote about his long love affair with electronics.

“A lot of kids had heroes back then, like baseball and football stars. My hero was Thomas [Alva] Edison,” he wrote.

As kids, he and a friend would take a bike and a wagon around their West Toledo neighborhood and carry off electronics others had tossed into the trash.

“I spent many hours in that garage … playing with all of that stuff I would find,” he wrote.

Mr. Meyers said he hoped to write a book about all that he , a self-taught technician, knew and learned.

“Someday, I would like to sit down and write a text book for other technicians to read and, perhaps, they might catch a few secrets and tips that I learned along the way in this drama we call life.”

Contact Taylor Dungjen at tdungjen@theblade.com, or 419-724-6054, or on Twitter @taylordungjen.

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