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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2003

Defendant admitted slaying, detective testifies

A Toledo police detective told a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury yesterday that Gregory M. Hicks confessed to assaulting and robbing a 61-year-old woman last year in her South Toledo home.

Testifying at Hicks aggravated murder trial, Detective Tim Campbell said Hicks admitted he had gone to Mary Lou Reilly s home at 230 Walbridge Ave. after he saw her walking into the house.

Detective Campbell said the defendant, who faces the possibility of being sentenced to death if convicted of the crime, was interviewed four days after the March 30, 2002, murder.

Mrs. Reilly was found by her mother about 4:30 p.m. on the floor of the living room, several feet from the front door. The county coroner s officer determined that she had been strangled and suffered blunt injuries to her head.

Detective Campbell testified that Hicks, 36, of 2750 Monroe St. admitted grabbing Mrs. Reilly by her shoulder, throwing her to the floor, and taking her purse, which was in the living room.

Hicks also is charged with aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary in entering the home of Susan Rufenacht in the 900 block of South Avenue - about eight blocks from Mrs. Reilly s house - about 45 minutes before the killing.

Detective Campbell told the jury that Hicks said he heard Mrs. Reilly moaning as he stepped past her to get the purse, and that he might have struck her head with the door when he left.

The detective said Hicks said he took the purse to his car and dumped it near Emerald Avenue and Vinton Street in the central city after finding that it had no money. Police later found some of the contents of the purse in that area.

Police arrested Hicks about 9:30 p.m. March 30, 2002, in his car on Buckingham Street near Junction Avenue for the robbery and burglary earlier that day at Ms. Rufenacht s home.

Earlier yesterday, Ms. Rufenacht pointed out Hicks as the intruder who entered her home and demanded money.

Ms. Rufenacht told the jury that she was bringing groceries into her house from her car when Hicks threatened her in the living room and demanded her purse.

The purse was in the kitchen, but Ms. Rufenacht said she told Hicks she had left it in her car.

When the intruder went outside to retrieve it, Ms. Rufenacht said she activated the alarm on her home-security system and called 911.

Ms. Rufenacht said Hicks rummaged through the car, but returned to the house and pounded on the front door. She said he went to the back and threw a cinder block into a sliding glass door. She said Hicks then fled on foot.

A neighbor who heard the glass breaking testified that he saw a man get into a car parked in the alley and drive away. The neighbor said he wrote down the license plate number of the car and gave the information to police.

Judge Patrick Foley is presiding over the trial. Testimony is expected to resume today.



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