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Published: Thursday, 4/15/2004

Plea bargain struck during slaying trial

A Toledo man who went on trial this week in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for his role in a drug-related slaying in 1999 entered into a plea bargain agreement yesterday and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Scott McDonald, 26, pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing justice. He went on trial Tuesday on charges of complicity to commit aggravated murder and conspiracy to commit aggravated murder.

McDonald was arrested in January, 2000, and indicted on an aggravated murder charge for the slaying of Joshua Buck, 24, of Walbridge Avenue. His body was found Dec. 25, 1999, in the bottom of a sewer in a wooded area at Southwood Road and Calvert Place near Bowsher High School. He was shot once in the head.

However, the charge was dismissed because of problems in having potential witnesses available to testify and a delay in getting DNA evidence ready for trial.

McDonald was re-arrested March 9, four days after he was indicted for the second time in the Buck case - this time on the complicity and conspiracy charges.

A jury listened to opening statements and heard the testimony of two witnesses on Tuesday. They returned to the courtroom of Judge Robert Christiansen yesterday to be told of a plea agreement.

Judge Christiansen found McDonald of 1725 Winston Blvd. guilty and sentenced him to five years in prison, the maximum penalty for obstruction and the recommended sentence agreed upon in the plea agreement.

Authorities said Mr. Buck's death was the result of a bogus drug transaction designed to rob him of more than $30,000. Mr. Buck apparently thought he was going to buy 100 pounds of marijuana when he was killed late Christmas Eve.

Chad Beach of Toronto Avenue was convicted in March, 2002, of aggravated murder and sentenced to life in prison.

In entering his plea, McDonald provided a statement to the court that outlined his involvement in the murder. He said he met Beach in the early hours of Dec. 25, 1999, in the parking lot of an apartment complex.

He said Beach was driving the victim's SUV, and he saw blood on the back seat. He said he took a bag of clothing from Beach and burned the items.

He also said he lighted gasoline in the sewer about five days before the killing in an attempt to hide the impending scent of a body.



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