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Published: Wednesday, 6/26/2002

Defense assails witness in slaying of Jaquillard

A defense attorney told a jury yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court that the prosecution's key witness acted alone in the shooting death of Aaron Jaquillard.

Attorney Thomas Frye said his client, Christina Robinson didn't have the motive to kill Mr. Jaquillard. Instead, Mr. Frye, in his opening statement, said Ms. Robinson's former boyfriend, Christopher Johnson, shot and killed Mr. Jaquillard in a drug deal gone bad.

Ms. Robinson, 32, is charged with murder and aggravated robbery in the April 13, 2001, shooting death. Police in Erie Township, Michigan, found the body of Mr. Jaquillard, 29, of East Central Avenue, in a sport-utility vehicle parked on Lotus Drive near Hagman Road, in Monroe County.

Bruce Sorg, a Lucas County assistant prosecutor, told the panel Ms. Robinson shot Mr. Jaquillard in the back and stomach when he went to Johnson's home at 5404 Benore Rd. about 2:30 a.m. to collect on a drug debt.

Mr. Sorg said Johnson paid the victim $700 of about $1,000 owed for cocaine. He said Ms. Robinson shot Mr. Jaquillard, then gave the 20-gauge shotgun to Johnson, who fired the fatal shot into his face.

Johnson was arrested a day after the slaying and later indicted on murder and aggravated robbery charges. However, he made a deal with prosecutors, pleading to reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter and robbery in return for testifying at Ms. Robinson's trial. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Mr. Sorg said after the shooting Johnson and Ms. Robinson took the victim's money and loaded the body into the backseat of the SUV. Johnson drove the vehicle to Michigan and walked home. Police found the vehicle and body later the same day. Mr. Sorg said Ms. Robinson scrubbed the victim's blood from the house with bleach and water and tore up the bloodstained carpeting.

However, Mr. Frye said the drug transactions were between the victim and Johnson and that his client was not involved. He said Johnson bought the shotgun several weeks prior to the shooting.

“All the animosities and threats ran between Aaron Jaquillard and Chris Johnson,” said Mr. Frye. “This was done exclusively by Mr. Johnson.”

Mr. Frye said Johnson threatened to harm his client and her family if she told police he shot the victim. “You will learn of the fear she had: the fear of Chris Johnson,” he said.

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