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Published: Tuesday, 3/30/2004

Judge sentences man to life for woman's murder

Curtis Stone was sentenced yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court to life in prison for the murder during the summer of an 89-year-old central Toledo woman.

Judge William Skow imposed the mandatory sentence on Stone, 19, for the murder of Amelia Topolski. He received an additional three-year sentence for aggravated burglary.

Stone of 2407 Glenwood Ave., who will be eligible for parole in 18 years, was Mrs. Topolski's godson. The defendant's mother and father, a Toledo police officer, were close friends with the victim and her daughter.

A retired seamstress, Mrs. Topolski had been gagged with electrical tape, tied with string, dropped on her head, and tied to the leg of a table. Stone and his alleged accomplice, Andre Flanigan, 20, fled with $13 and the victim's Plymouth Neon.

Stone was indicted on specifications that called for a possible death-penalty sentence. However, prosecutors dismissed the specifications in return for his pleas of guilty to murder and aggravated burglary.

Mr. Flanigan's trial for murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, and aggravated burglary is scheduled for May 17 in Common Pleas Court before a three-judge panel.

Mrs. Topolski was found July 2 in an upstairs bedroom of her home at 1250 Nebraska Ave. Police were called to the house after relatives found the rear door open and items inside the home disturbed.

The victim's only daughter, June Chesher, wasn't present in the courtroom. She did not witness Stone's tearful apology for his role in the murder nor did she make a statement.

However, Mrs. Chesher's husband, Daniel, told Judge Skow that only his late mother-in-law could forgive Stone, but "since she is not here only God has the authority to give and take life. He is the one who Curtis must ask forgiveness," Mr. Chesher said.

After his statement, while Judge Skow was sentencing Stone, Mr. Chesher greeted and shook the hands of the defendant's family members.

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