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Published: Wednesday, 8/20/2003

New information stalls man's 2nd murder trial

The second murder trial of Eugene Blakely was continued yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court after prosecutors received new information in the case.

Blakely, 38, was scheduled to go on trial again for the shooting death of Willie J. McMillan. However Judge Charles Wittenberg continued the case until Monday at the request of prosecutors.

Mr. McMillian, 35, of Oak Street, was shot Aug. 29, 2002, while in his station wagon in the parking lot of the Weiler Homes in East Toledo. The shooting occurred after the victim allegedly bought drugs from the defendant, police said.

Blakely was arrested in Chicago about a month after the shooting.

A jury heard the case in March, but Judge Wittenberg declared a hung jury after the panel was unable to reach a verdict after two days of deliberations.

Jeff Lingo, an assistant county prosecutor, said new information came into the hands of investigators just before the trial was to begin.

“The state has received new information including possible witnesses and potential new physical evidence. Therefore we requested the continuance,” Mr. Lingo said.

Blakely, of 524 Austin St., could be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison if convicted. He also faces an additional three years for a gun charge and 10 more years on a repeat violent offender specification.

Judge Wittenberg allowed prosecutors a one-day continuance on Monday to locate Camiel Crawford, who was a key prosecution witness at the first trial. She testified she went with the defendant on the night of the shooting but he was not with her when she heard gunfire.

She said Blakely later told her he shot the victim because “he owed him.”

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