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Published: Friday, 7/16/2004

Man gets life sentence in beating death

Takoda Johnson was convicted and sentenced yesterday in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for the beating death of a Toledo man.

After deliberating about six hours, a jury determined Johnson, 22, was guilty of murder in the Sept. 27 death of Manuel Zapata, 32, of 240 21st St. The jury heard closing arguments Wednesday.

Judge Ronald Bowman sentenced Johnson to life in prison, which is the mandatory penalty for the crime. He will be eligible for parole in 15 years.

Eric Johnson, a co-defendant in the crime, testified that he and the defendant fought with the victim after an argument at 1722 Washington St. However, Takoda Johnson inflicted the most serious injuries when he stomped on Mr. Zapata's head with both feet.

The Johnsons are not related.

The two men then loaded the badly injured Mr. Zapata into his pickup and left him to die. He was found later in the day slumped behind the wheel at 1934 Washington.

Eric Johnson was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for his role in the beating. He was sentenced by Judge Bowman to four years in prison.

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