Two men charged with last year’s murder of Jonathan Morris at the Ravine Park Village housing complex pointed fingers Tuesday at a third man they were with that night as the shooter.
A jury hearing the aggravated murder trial of Jonathon Johnson will have to decide whether Andrew Goetz and Chaz Jackson are telling the truth, or just trying to save themselves from possible murder convictions and life sentences.
Mr. Johnson, 23, of 1657 Vance St., is charged with aggravated murder, murder, aggravated robbery, felonious assault, and carrying a concealed weapon relating to the Oct. 5, 2012, shooting death of Mr. Morris, 22.
Both Mr. Jackson, 28, of 1158 Clark St. and Goetz, 29, of 614 Earl St. are charged with aggravated murder, murder, and aggravated robbery in the case, but are expected to plead guilty to robbery in exchange for their testimony against Mr. Johnson.
During the second day of testimony in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, both Goetz and Mr. Jackson said Mr. Johnson had gone with them to Ravine Park Village, where Goetz intended to confront Mr. Morris, who he believed had taken some cocaine and cash from his pocket earlier that night at the Bottom Line bar.
Goetz said Mr. Johnson handed him a revolver, and when Mr. Morris denied taking his property, Goetz hit him in the head with the gun, which flew into the air. He said a scuffle ensued, and he ultimately got Mr. Morris on the ground where Mr. Jackson pulled off the victim’s pants to retrieve the stolen drugs.
Both Goetz and Mr. Jackson testified that they were walking away from Mr. Johnson when they heard gunshots.
“I seen him shoot the gun,” Goetz said, referring to Mr. Johnson.
When he and Mr. Jackson got back to his sister’s car — she had driven them to Ravine Park Village and was waiting for them — Mr. Johnson came running up, but Goetz said Mr. Johnson told him he would not get in her car “because he just shot someone.”
Goetz said he didn’t know why Mr. Johnson would shoot Mr. Morris.
“I got my stuff back,” he said. “He shot the dude for nothing.”
Mr. Jackson told the jury he put the gun in his back pocket after Goetz struck Mr. Morris with it. He said it had flown into the air and landed near him.
Asked by Andy Lastra, an assistant Lucas County prosecutor, if the gun was taken out of his pocket at some point, he replied, “It had to have been.”
Defense attorney Dave Klucas questioned both men about the deal they worked out with prosecutors several months after their arrest in the case. While aggravated murder carries a potential penalty of life without parole, their pleas to robbery could result in as little as 2 to 8 years in prison or even probation, he said.
Under Mr. Klucas’s questioning, Goetz admitted he previously lied to police and lied to prosecutors when he told them he never had a gun that night, but he insisted he was telling the jury the truth.
Mr. Jackson is to return to the stand for further cross examination at 9 a.m. today.
Contact Jennifer Feehan at: email@example.com or 419-213-2134.