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Published: Thursday, 2/7/2002

Toledoan dies after domestic argument


The embattled relationship of a Toledo couple with a history of domestic violence ended yesterday with the stabbing death of the boyfriend.

Garland Hicks, 35, of 2450 West Central Ave., Apt. 24, died after police said he was stabbed in the heart with a kitchen knife during a domestic disturbance Tuesday in his apartment. It is the city's fifth homicide within a month.

His girlfriend, Paula R. Mason, 36, of the West Central address, is charged with involuntary manslaughter. She was being held last night in the Lucas County jail and is to be arraigned today in Toledo Municipal Court.

The couple have been together off and on for about four years, according to court records. Mr. Hicks, 35, has been charged with four domestic violence offenses against Ms. Mason since 1999 in Toledo Municipal Court.

All of the charges were dismissed. In at least one case, the victim twice failed to appear in court, records state.

In 1993, Ms. Mason was sentenced on a negligent assault charge - a misdemeanor offense - against another man, according to court records.

“We would like justice to be served,” said Lateasa Hicks-Allen, the victim's sister. “We don't want another woman to manipulate the system by using domestic violence.”

Toledo police were sent to the apartment building on a report of a man with a stab wound in a hallway about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday. Officers found Mr. Hicks in apartment 17, where he sought help from a resident.

He was taken to Toledo Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 12:15 a.m. yesterday. Preliminary autopsy results show he died from a single stab wound to the chest.

He also had a defense wound on his finger, said Dr. Diane Barnett, a Lucas County deputy coroner. A final ruling is pending toxicology results.

Ms. Mason fled the building after the stabbing, police said. She returned about three hours later. She told police she had a knife when Mr. Hicks lunged at her in the apartment. A short time later, she saw him bleeding, court records state.

Police Capt. Wes Bombrys said investigators aren't sure of the motive for the alleged stabbing.

Bobbie Mason, the nearest relative listed on the suspect's booking sheet, declined comment.

Mr. Hicks - whose family said he was a poet who liked music, basketball, football, and spending time with his niece and nephew - moved into the apartment a year ago. His lease was up at the end of the month, but he had not renewed it, said his landlord, Ted Behnken, who owns the apartment building.

Despite the problems between the two, Mr. Hicks said he loved his girlfriend, his sister said.

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