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Published: Friday, 1/5/2001

Toledoan gets 7 years in prison for fight that led to man's death

Joe A. Wilkes was sentenced to seven years in prison yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for his involvement in a fight that led to the death of a South Toledo man.

Wilkes, 22, of 643 Curtis St., was sentenced by Judge Charles Doneghy for the involuntary manslaughter death of Carl Smith.

Smith, 44, died Sept. 7 after being in a coma at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

He had sustained severe head injuries after being beaten by Wilkes Aug. 31 on the front porch of his home at 751 Greene St.

Mark Herr, an assistant county prosecutor, said Mr. Smith was punched and kicked, and a wheel with a tire attached was thrown at his head.

Mr. Herr said Wilkes claimed Mr. Smith stole $700 from him, but some witnesses told police it actually was cocaine that was taken.

“Not only could it have been handled differently, but it was a direct result of what we deal with daily here: the evil effect drugs has on society,” Mr. Herr said.

Tonya Smith, the victim's daughter, said she couldn't believe that her father had died over something so trivial.

“I thought he was going to wake up, but he never did,” Ms. Smith said.

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