Thomas Lehman, 23, was a 2012 Whitmer High graduate of West Toledo and working as a ceramic tile setter. He died Wednesday of his injuries following an assault over the weekend. The incident is being investigated as a homicide, police said.
It was senseless.
That’s how Cheryl Nissen described the death of her 23-year-old nephew Thomas Lehman, who died Wednesday from injuries Toledo police said he suffered from an assault this past weekend.
Ms. Nissen was out of town Aug. 5 when she said she received a call from her sister, telling her Mr. Lehman was in a fight and had been hospitalized. Her family drove back to Toledo early Sunday.
The Lucas County coroner’s office ruled Mr. Lehman’s death a homicide. He suffered blunt force trauma to the neck and injury to his vertebral artery, which led to brain swelling, said Dr. Jeffrey Hudson, a deputy coroner.
“It was murder for no reason. None,” Ms. Nissen, of Toledo, said through sobs. “I’m saddened my family has to go through this. I never thought I would have to say my nephew was murdered.
“We’re not violent people. These types of things don’t happen to us,” she added. “I just don’t know how to comprehend everything that we’re going through.”
Roberto Almaguer, 16, of Toledo, is charged with felonious assault stemming from the weekend incident, which was reported in the 5000 block of Douglas Road, near Laskey Road, in West Toledo, according to Toledo police.
On Friday, police said officials are reviewing the possibility for additional charges against the boy.
“Both parties were in their vehicles prior to the incident,” said Toledo police Lt. Jeff Thieman. “What led to the incident itself, I do not know. That will be part of the investigation.”
Officials said no weapons were involved.
When police arrived about 7:35 p.m. Saturday, they found Mr. Lehman unconscious on the ground, according to the police report. He was transported to ProMedica Toledo Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition earlier this week, officials said.
Ms. Nissen thanked the hospital staff and Toledo police, along with the number of people that showed their support.
“It was incredible to know that he was loved by so many,” she said.
Mr. Lehman was an organ donor, officials said. “He was able, through his violent death, to help a few others live to be saved,” his aunt said.
The 2012 Whitmer High School graduate was working as a ceramic tile setter. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends, his aunt said.
“He had the best smile,” she said. “He loved to laugh. He was so funny and he was smart. He was just fun to be around. I just can’t even imagine what my life, what my family’s life, is going to be like without having him around.”
No other suspects have been charged as of Friday, police said. The youth remains incarcerated at the Lucas County juvenile detention center. The Blade was unable to locate members of the teen’s family.
Anyone with information in the incident should call the Crime Stopper program at 419-255-1111. Callers may remain anonymous and could be eligible for a cash reward.
“I hope justice is served for my nephew,” she said. “I hope the people who did this to him know that they took a beautiful person away from us, away from his daughter that was the joy of his life. He loved her so much.”
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